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Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 | 9 comments

Design Toolbox #1 – Flangers

[This was originally posted a year ago and has been republished because it fits in with this month’s theme – Varun]

Inspired by Miguel’s ‘SFX Lab‘ series, I thought it would be nice to start a series on using conventional plugins to design sounds.

With many of us primarily working off DAWs with a mouse pointer and plugin windows, there isn’t much  room for ‘hands-on’ experimentation. Happy accidents are fun – accidentally turning a knob on a real (I mean hardware) piece of  equipment and finding that awesome sound (which usually also results in losing track of time!).

Today’s post is about using Logic’s test oscillator and flanger plugins. I usually open up a bunch of plugins, route their outputs to a track and record as I ‘perform’. I also make it a point to not think much and just turn knobs and sliders. It’s important to not monitor too loud as you could blow your ears if you hit (click) the wrong switch!

Here are a few sounds selected off a recording pass that lasted about 8 minutes (some of these sounds can be loud, so go easy on your volume control):

Design Toolbox #1 – Flangers on SoundCloud

And here’s how the sounds were created:

Here’s a screenshot of the mixer window. The gain and limiter plugins helped keep the output of the flanger plugin in check. The send (bus 1) was for the recording track.

You can do something similar with a chorus, phaser or any other modulation plugin and get very different results. A different flanger plugin might sound completely different too. Chop these sounds up, tag them and drop them in to your library. I used a whole library of similar sounds when I worked on a bunch of in-flight-entertainment games last year. The best part is your ‘performance’ is never going to be exactly the same, so you end up with a different set of sounds on a different day. It’s even more fun if you have a MIDI controller and you drop in multiple plugins in series (or parallel or side-chain or…?).

UPDATE: I’ve created a signal generator rewire app that does a bit more than generating signals and might be useful in this context. More info here.


  1. Outstanding post, Varun! It totally got the brain firing. I love that sine sweep button on the oscillator. Sadly, no Logic in my box. Anybody know of a plug-in with a similar capability for PT? Signal Generator tears as you go from freq to freq.

  2. Awesome, wow. Have to try this for myself with my modular synth. 

  3. This is an awesome post Varun!  Definitely going to practice these techniques.  Thanks!

  4. This is great!! Im going to do this with so many synth and non synth stuff…lets see (or hear) what comes out!

  5. Had good fun with this today. Awesome post!

  6. It’s really refreshing to see thinking “outside the box” and real creative input which is more about emotion and meaning, playing around and enjoyment than predictable solutions.
    Thank you man, really inspiring post :)


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