It would be unlikely to find an adequate comparison to modulation effects in nature. For example, flanging effect could be described as a “jet plane” passing by and that would be the closest comparison. Effects such as flanger, phaser, chorus or ring modulation fall into the category of special effects. This is because the mentioned effects are really noticeable and in most cases they are radically changing the audio signal processed by them. Their influence can be more or less obvious, but this depends on your taste. In any case, these effects provide a totally new dimension of sound and in the next 7 tips I will show you how to use them in a creative way.
1. Tempo Sync
If you find yourself using phaser or a flanger effect be sure to enable tempo sync ( most of these effects offer that option ). This will enable you to create awesome cyclic pattern that could span over 8 bars or more and even introduce a gradual uplifting feeling to the track.
2. Ring Modulation
It could be interesting to add a bit of ring modulation to your bass-line, but since ring modulation can be a rather extreme effect try to keep its wet balance closer to minimum. Therefore you will create nice backing layer with some additional harmonics.
3. Add Compression
Many of the modulation effects, especially ring modulators or phasers, can cause peaking on some parts of the sequenced or single sound on which they are applied to. This is happening because they mostly don’t operate in the static regime, but rather a cyclic one, controlled by the LFO. You could avoid those peaks by placing a compressor effect right after the modulation effect in the effect chain.
4. Cautious Placement
Modulation effects are usually changing the sense of presence. In addition to this, they are known for altering the space and size. You should take caution on what you are placing them. If you place them on lead elements in your tracks, most likely they will decrease the energy of it.
5. Softening with Phasing
Phaser effect can be aimed on taming the harsh frequencies. This is a great application for this effect. A subtle touch of phasing on the guitar or on the lead synths can soften them up so they fit more nicely in the mix.
6. Crank the Feedback
If you feel your flanging effect sounds too subtle, try cranking up the feedback parameter. This will result in intensifying of that awesome whooshing effect which sounds so nice and unworldly.
7. Stereo Chorus
Chorus effect can be used as a great stereo widening tool. You could try placing affected signal on the left and unaffected signal on the right. This will create a wide stereo image that will work great in your mix.