Psychedelic Trance, or Psy-Trance, is a sub-genre of electronic music best known for its heavy synth sequences, basslines, and drum grooves. Aside from that, the production of Psy-Trance is heavily influenced by audio effects, ranging from pitch-bending, reverb and delay tricks, filter sweeps, buildups, and so on. These types of effect processing make Psy-Trance unique. Along those lines, vocals are just another audio source that you can alter in unusual ways. In the next tutorial, we will show you one such technique: a vocal buildup.

We will start with a previously made sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW, which contains all the elements required for a full mix of a decent Psy-Trance track. Let’s start by listening to it.

~Full Mix – Without Vocal

Now we will process the vocal in a special way, which will transform it into an uplifter. First, let’s listen to it without any effects.

~Vocal – Unprocessed

Now we will use an effect that is, in essence, a time stretcher. It also incorporates additional possibilities regarding pitch shifting, but we will get to that soon.

On the vocal channel, we will add a Guitar Rig 5 by Native Instruments. Under Components, in the Pitch section, we will select the Transpose Stretch effect and drag/drop it on the right side of the interface.

The parameters

As you can see, the Transpose Stretch effect contains just a few parameters to control, but they are really effective. The first parameter in the row is the Dry/Wet, which is controlling the amount of affected signal. Below is the On button, which engages the effect. 

Next to it, there is a Stretch knob. The more we move the knob to the right, the more the time is stretched, until the signal comes to a complete stop on a single Grain. When the stretch is in the full left position the audio passes through without being looped.

The Grain knob works only when the GRAIN button below is enabled, and it controls the size of the grains. Otherwise, the grain size is automatically linked internally for the best overall pitching. 

The Key knob controls the pitch of the grains. The center position is neutral and plays the grains at the original pitch. As you move the knob to the right, the grains are pitched up to 1 octave. To the left, the grains are pitched down to -5 octaves.

Lastly, the 2 BAR button makes 2 bars of input to be processed, as opposed to 1 bar.

Making the buildup

After a brief introduction of the parameters, let’s move to some practical examples. In order to process our vocal with Transpose Stretch, we will automate the ON button, the Grain size, and the Key, which controls the pitch of the grains, as mentioned above. The Stretch parameter we can set to maximum. 

The automation lanes in the picture below show the following:

We engage the On button just a little bit after the start of the vocal sequence. The Grain Size we gradually increase when the On button is engaged, in order to create the buildup effect. And the Key value we shift all the way to the negative end just to spice things up. Let’s listen to it.

~Vocal – Processed With Transpose Stretch 

The last touch on the processed vocal would be to add a bit of reverb towards the end. This will create a reverb tail which will blend nicely when the drop hits. 

~Vocal – Processed With Transpose Stretch + Reverb

Finally, let’s listen to the processed vocal, together with the other elements in the mix.

~Full Mix – With Processed Vocal