Fifth article in the series dedicated to explore all the tools included in the Sound Design Suite of Waves. (Remember that you still have enough time to design some great sounds and participate in the competition.)
Today I’m going to talk about a very special suite of tools; a little box of toys included in the suite called GTR. It was originally created for guitar/bass processing, since it has several emulations of amplifiers, cabinets, pedal effects, etc. If you have a guitar, you’ll love to use this tool to get some great sounds, crazy noises and different tones.
But wait! GTR is also an incredible tool for processing sound effects and creating new sounds. Let’s talk about it:
What you get in GTR is a total of 26 different stomp boxes covering all kind of effects (delays, reverbs, flanger, chorus, distortion, pitcher, EQ, compressor and more), and also 32 amplifiers and 29 cabinets, which are really cool for adding character and changing the color of your sound effects, dialogue, vocalizations, and all kind of musical elements as well. Those amps can be also used for creating a wide variety of noises, tones and signals that could be used as sources for making or reinforcing other sounds/sequences.
It allows to use amp only, effects only, or a full system with some advanced configurations. My favorite component is the virtual stomp box pedalboard, which can host up to 6 different effects in a single plugin instance (including AudioSuite). You can also load versions of 2 and 4 pedal slots, so it’s really cool. And there’s more: it also allows you to save presets for each effect and also for the complete chain, which is so useful.
GTR can be used on almost anything. I’m a huge fan of the 4-pedal component, which allows me to make what I want with it. From subtle and smooth effects to extreme and weird stuff. Also, ou can get (lots of) unexpected results, depending on your combinations and chains, which can be always very different. Why? Just take a look at this list:
Yes. Lots of different effects, simple but flexible parameters to control on each one and a really easy workflow that allows you to turn effects on and off, change positions in the chain, control overall levels, and more, all in real time. The possibilities are huge, letting you to explore and get some great effects by learning how they work individually and together.
I’m a big fan of several of those stomp boxes. Here are some cool things I have found on it:
- Movement. Lots of movement – Several of those stomp boxes are incredible toys for creating movement, rhythm, pulsing sounds, etc. That includes: gate, chorus, flanger, phaser, wah-wah, and one of my favorites, vibrolo, which is a simple effect that modulates both volume (tremolo) and frequency (vibrato).
- Full of modulation – Many of the stomp boxes mentioned have modulation features included. There’re also other fantastic tools such as a doubler, a very nice panner, and of course a delay, which is very standard but cool enough for combining it with the rest elements of the game.
- Crunch and destruction – Since GTR is a software created for guitarists, it includes several types if distortion, noisy effects and destruction tools. The list includes fuzz (retro crunch), buzz (resonant), distortion (general distortion, drive can go very extreme), overdrive (great for mid-high range) and metal (yeah, a heavy distortion). Many of those effects add a really nice flavor to your sounds. They all offer a lot of tonalities and different colors.
- Pitch manipulation – There’s are some cool toys for tweaking the pitch of your sound effects, including an octaver, and two fantastic pedals: pitcher and bass pitcher (optimized for low frequencies) which allow you to make some great modulated pitch changes. These pitchers are not an standard pitcher. They changes the sound over time and follow the range/amount values that you want. The Bass Pitcher is a favorite for making low layers, also combining the pitcher with flanger and vibrolo makes a nice “sci-fi tone maker”
- Space and resonance – I personally love the reverbs included on GTR. Both Spring Reverb and Reverb pedals offer a very unique type of spaces. Combining this with some crunchy effects will give you a lot of cool noises. The reverb module is a room emulator that can give you several usable effects, but there’s nothing like the Spring reverb. That device is fantastic for getting really cool echos, resonant elements, and add a very specific type of reverberation to anything. For example, using it with constant engines, motors and tones can be great for making mysterious atmospheres and elements that drives a deep mood in a sequence.
Many sound designers have used the analogy of sound design and cooking. GTR is a perfect example of that as well. It is just a table with lots of different condiments and sauces for your recipes. The cool thing is that you can add just the amount that you want and pick the flavors you think are great for each kind of food.
Also, you are free experiment a lot, search for new flavors, chains, configurations, etc. Then it’s up to you. You can load as many instances as you want, process as many times as you wan and your unique taste. And of course, remember that these effects can be used as subtle condiments (just a pinch!). The food you make can tastes good, but what could happen if you develop and add a special and secret ingredient? I think that’s something like sonic signature that we all need to develop.
“Unlimited amounts of multi-effects processing. Don’t think of these as guitar effects; think of them as modulators you can stack up in various ways.” – Charles Deenen
“GTR gives me a set of tools I might not have thought to use otherwise. There are tons of combinations of effects and even amps, that are Sound Design tools definitely off-the-beaten-path. The effects sound great and I can go from super subtle and tasteful, to downright mangled, all in GTR. I like to process a lot of new source material, and then build from those new pieces. Using GTR in Audiosuite, I don’t have to wait for a real-time recording to go through another processing chain. I can stack six effects and process all in one go, and get on with my work a lot faster.” – David Farmer
“It’s the secret sauce. Using guitar stomp boxes as part of your Sound Design adds another level to the possibilities.” – Scott Martin Gershin