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Quick Tip: 5 Tips About Modulation


Today I'll give away some of my best modulation tips. In my opinion, the best way to make a track sound good and flow nicely is to use lots of modulation. What kind of modulation can you apply nowadays? There are number of options at your disposal.

Tip 1. Melodic Modulation

First is the melodic modulation. Melodic modulation is when a song changes key during the progression, and it gives you a nice new vibe.

The easiest way to do this is to change a major key into a relative minor key, for example C major to A minor. Another popular technique is to change the rhythmic pattern of a drum track or even a melody line.

One of my favorite ways to make your drum track sound up to date is to use a frequency shifter on the drum pattern. It changes a simple boring drum track into an interesting progressive drum line.

Here an example for drums modulation:

Tip 2. Pitch Modulation

Pitch modulation is when you modulate the pitch with an ADSR envelope or an LFO.

Try to modulate a pitch with an ADSR envelope. Set the decay relatively short to make the transient a bit stronger and give some punch to your synth.

Another tip is to use an LFO. But be careful because if you use too much it won’t harmonize with the other synths.

Try a different waveform inside the LFO. In my opinion the sine wave and random noise are the best for pitch modulation. They give a weird progressive modulation to the melody.

Here an example of that:

Tip 3. Multi Modulations

Here you automate different parameters at the same time. The most used modulation is filter modulation. Try automating the filter cut off and the resonance at the same time.

Nowadays there are numerous parameters you can modulate. For example, the auto-pan rate and amount control. Try it out - it gives a nice trance gate effect.

Another usually automated parameter is the pitch. Every EDM tracks has a pitch riser these days. You can do that with ADSR envelopes or some pitch automation.

Automation is the best way to make your track interesting. Try using beat repeat and flanger modulation.

Here is my example:

Tip 4. Modulation Plugins

You can also use dedicated modulation plugins. Try some new plugins. Modulation is very important in EDM. Nothing demonstrates this more than dedicated modulation plugins like Glitch and Effectrix.

Multi modulation plugins provide the most modulation-based feelings for your tracks. I previously posted an article about Effectrix. Check it out if you would like to familiar with this great plugin.

Here is my example:

Tip 5. Effect Modulation

Effect modulation is more precisely automation rather than modulation. For example, if you want to your melody sounds further in the stereo field, you should automate the delay dry/wet parameter to change the sound on every beat. It may also be worth modulating the feedback with an automation envelope.

You can listen the example here:

Another good example of effect modulation is to automate the reverb effect on a clap. Try this: Modulate the reverb to sound different on every second clap. It will give a nice sense of movement on your track.

You can listen the example here:

I hope I could help with this little tip bouquet. Modulation is a source of endless creativity. Happy music making!

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