Adding Interest by Using LFOs

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.

I used the “8 bar 1” setting for rate, but it was only playing 4 bars so it would jump every time it repeated. This can be interesting or it could be more interesting to have it move faster or slower. Sometimes the song determines it. It needs to be played around with in order to get what works right, but this could be a starting point.

Xfer Records LFO Tool, AN1X synth, Microtonic drums.

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!

One thought on “Adding Interest by Using LFOs

  1. Pingback: How to Replicate Biosphere’s Shenzhou Track Using Loops and a Few Effects | Lars Lentz Audio™

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