Sounding Great

If you took a look at Blair’s post about the upcoming Hideo CD release, you might have noticed a fourth “bonus” track on the tracklist: “A Note From Rebecca”. Guess what has two thumbs, is awesome, and produced that track? This guy. I wanted to share a little note about some tools that I used to help make this track sound great.

Ableton Live Session View for "A Note from Rebecca"

I’ve sung Ableton Live‘s praises in an earlier post, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve used it yet again for this track. What I didn’t touch on before is the great set of built-in plug-ins that have come in handy for a variety of tracks I’ve worked on, namely the Ableton Reverb.

Ableton's Reverb Plug-In (Ambience Preset)

Ableton’s Reverb has a variety of presets, and every audio track in the session used a different, custom Reverb to help give some depth to each featured voice and bring a level of realism to make it sound like the listener is in the bar with Rebecca. Specifically, I used a tweaked Reverb preset called “Ambience” for three of the tracks. This preset has the reverb environment of a small room, and varying the dry/wet essentially changes the distance of the voice in the room.

The other major plug-in I used was Izotope’s Ozone. I personally love this plug-in, and every single one of my tracks I’ve produced (since I discovered its capabilities) has utilized it in some way. It’s a great mastering tool with a wide variety of presets (everything from genre-based music to voiceover work) to find a simple solution, as well as deep customizability for fine tuning and precision.

Izotope Ozone Running in Ableton Live

I used the “Commercial” voiceover preset with some personal changes on Hannah’s monologue to bring her voice front and center; it helped to smooth some sibilance and suck out any “dead air” when not speaking while increasing the overall gain.

Finally, I found a fantastic crowd sample from Freesound, which is an amazing and free online directory of audio samples. All samples are covered by a Creative Commons Sampling license, so credit appropriately and you’re good to go.

It was fun playing sound designer on this track to make it sound like the listener is in the bar with Rebecca herself. Hopefully these explanations can give you some ideas for your own project, or give you some additional insight into the capabilities of Ableton Live and Izotope’s Ozone!

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