In audio production, a transient is the initial peak of a sound. In other words, it is the highest amplitude in the waveform. Some instruments have more or fewer transients than others, depending on how they are played. Sharp transients are generally found in samples such as snares, kick drums, mallets, or percussions. In the following tutorial, I will demonstrate an exciting way to control and shape your transients.

 With this in mind, I have prepared a short sequence in SoundBridge: DAW containing most of the elements of a full mix. Let us listen to it.

This is a screenshot of my mix in SoundBridge: DAW before I shape the transients on the return track

~Full Mix – Kalimba Sequence (Unprocessed)

~Kalimba Sequence Solo (Unprocessed)

As heard in the audio example above, the kalimba sound has some sharp transients that are pretty loud. This is something that I would like to change, and the first step would be to create a new return track (which I will name Transient Shaper + Delay)  in SoundBridge: DAW. I will then use this track to process the kalimba sequence.

Using a Delay on Sounds With Sharp Transients

This is a screenshot of my mix in SoundBridge: DAW with a close up of the return track

Regarding the delay and reverb effects, many producers send their audio to a return track, as we did. This works well with a wide range of sounds. However, when working with transient-heavy sounds such as a kalimba, you end up hearing a lot of transients that can easily clash with other elements in the overall mix. Consider increasing the pre-delay parameter in the reverb, which will offset the original sound.

Add A Clipper or Transient Shaper to Shape Your Transients

Using a transient shaper or a clipper effect before the delay on the same effect chain on your return track is an excellent way to control your transients. Let us try that and compare the results.

This is a screenshot of my mix in SoundBridge: DAW and the GUI of the effects used to shape the transients on the kalimba sequence

Let’s compare the kalimba sequence processed over the return track, first without and then with a transient shaper in the chain. As you can see in the image above, I placed a transient shaper effect before the delay in the return track’s effect rack. I reduced the attack almost to zero on the transient shaper because I wanted as few transients as possible. The second effect in the chain is the delay, in which the dry/wet mix is set to max.

~Kalimba Sequence Solo (Transient Shaper Bypassed)

~Kalimba Sequence Solo (Transient Shaper Engaged)

As we can hear, we ended up with a much less transient heavy delay, and the kalimba sequence now fits much better in the overall mix.

~Full Mix – Kalimba Sequence (Processed)


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