One thing unites all atmospheric and ambient music – they all use sound design, panning, reverb, and more to give the listener a feeling of space. Some people refer to the rich, sonic landscapes produced by musicians like Brian Eno and Jon Hopkins when discussing atmospheric sounds in music. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to get creative with your atmospheric sounds.
Firstly, I prepared a short sequence in SoundBridge that includes traditional full-mix elements and an atmospheric sound. Let us hear the full mix first, followed by the atmospheric sound alone.
~Full Mix – Atmospheric Sound (Unprocessed)
~Atmospheric Sound Solo (Unprocessed)
Stretching Your Atmospheric Sounds
The example above shows that the atmospheric sound is a bit overwhelming compared to the other elements in the mix. One of the first things we can do to tame it is to stretch it to change its timbre. This can be accomplished in SoundBridge: DAW by double-clicking the audio block. This will take us to the audio edit window, where we can find the “Stretch” slider and other parameters on the left side. It would be best if you generally experimented at this point. In this case, I used the extreme stretch setting, which stretched the original tempo of the sound from 122 bpm to around 335 bpm. Let us hear how it sounds now.
~Atmospheric Sound – Stretched
Looping Your Atmospheric Sounds
The next step in this process would be to limit the sound’s movement. This can be accomplished by selecting a portion of it and looping it, as shown in the image below.
~Atmospheric Sound – Looped
I’ll use the crossfade technique because we want a continuous loop and to avoid the annoying click at the end of the sequence. This can be generally accomplished by dragging the block’s endpoint to the beginning of the next block. Then I’ll select all four blocks and click the “Merge” button on the bottom left of the SoundBridge: DAW interface. This will take me to another editor, where I can work on the crossfade shape shown below. When I’m happy with the transition from one block to the next, I’ll click the “Bounce” button on the left side of the interface.
~Atmospheric Sound – Crossfade
Using Low Pass Filter And Reverb
To push this atmospheric sound further, I’ll use a Low Pass Filter cutoff automation to create a different movement and add a reverb after the filter. Consequently, we will create something completely different from what we started with.
In conclusion, using these techniques, you can always get creative with your atmospheric sounds. Finally, let us hear our final atmospheric sound solo first and then in the context of the whole mix.
~Atmospheric Sound – Filter & Reverb
~Full Mix – Atmospheric Sound (Final Processed)
If you liked this article about sound design, here are some more on the same subject:
- Eight creative atmospheric sound design tips