To make my synths and drums more interesting, I sometimes use a simple trick – adding a LFO.
I learned this whilst studying Boards of Canada’s music. It often has a wobbly frequency or envelope to it, and I can often replicate this without hardware, but within a DAW using LFOs.
Here’s a simple method that takes less than a minute to apply and gets great results.
All you will need is an LFO used as an effect. Most DAWs come with one, but I like to use Xfer Records LFO Tool for mine. It is simple and easy to use.
I set up a slow moving LFO exactly as in the image below:
What this does is to move the cutoff of the filter from low to high and back to low at a slow rate. The rate is set at “8 bar 1” in this photo, so it takes that long for it to fully sweep. I would recommend playing around with the rate to get something that sounds like you want.
This LFO works well with drums and synths. I used it on a synth in the example below, and in the video you can see the filter movement relative to the notes and can hear the effect.
A vintage AN1X synthesizer is used in this example, but the Xfer LFO Tool works well on almost everything.
If you are looking for a fancier version, try Filter Freak by Soundtoys. It takes a bit longer to use but has more powerful features.
Whichever you use, I hope you find some interesting sounds!