White Noise in Electronic MusicPosted on: April, 18, 2011, in
By James Hollow
It took a while for me to realize how much that hideous sound which comes out of an un-tuned TV is used in electro. It has many different uses, a few of which I shall list below.
- Giving synths a bit more character.
- Noise snares.
- Build ups and drops.
Adding white noise to synths
Doing this creates a bit of a retro vibe, or you can just use it to create a bit of “fizz”. Some artists (Chris Lake) use it for making a bass synth a bit more filthy. Don’t go overboard though, you just want to add a touch of grit, otherwise it’ll just sound odd.
Build Ups and Drops
This is probably the most common use for white noise. Don’t ask me why it works but it just does. For some reason the sound of a hiss just gets people going, I guess its sort of like the sound of pressure being released or something.
Anyway, it just helps make transitions a bit more exciting. You can often hear it straight at the beginning and many other times in many dance tracks.
There are thousands of other ways to make it your own too, like adding chorus, phasing, reverb and delay effects. One really great effect is to put a very fast LFO filter on it to give it a “fizzing” sound.
Adding noise to a snare will give it that real “pssht” sound (think Justice – Genesis). In fact, a lot of distinctive retro snares use a lot of white noise. These are generally used in drum and bass and hard electro, but can be used in most genres. It just helps to give it some real impact.