All posts by Molly Webb

Molly has been a musician for over 20 years. She was trained in vocal technique by a number of voice teachers—most notably, Rachael Lawrence, the voice teacher to a number of "Glee" stars. She studied vocal performance techniques in New York City under vocal coach, Jay Bradley. She was also classically trained in piano by teachers Rizia Lin and Ron Anderson and has progressed up to level 10 in the Certificate of Merit program. In 1996 she passed a Guild audition at the international level. In 1999 and 2000, she apprenticed at Ann Reinking’s famous Broadway Theatre Project, hailed by Playbill as "the world’s most prestigious musical theatre arts education program for high school and college students." There, she trained with such notables as Julie Andrews, Gwen Verdon, and Ben Vereen. In the summer of 2008, Molly toured Italy singing with a choir that performed at the Duomo in Milan, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, and St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. The tour concluded when the choir performed for Pope Benedict XVI. At the age of 18, she began writing and recording her own music. After approximately a decade of teaching students all over Orange County, you can find her students on Broadway; in movies and television (including the Disney Channel); in pop, punk, alternative, country, folk, and metal bands; studying voice at the Berklee School of Music; in the All American Boys Chorus; and in art schools, such as Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA).
Music Scholarship

Music as a Passion and a College Path

The following was written by our Office Manager and voice and piano teacher, Lina, who was the recipient of a $13,000 music scholarship.

As a senior in high school, you always hear the dreaded question: “what are you going to do with your life?” When I was there over four years ago, I didn’t have a clue. I had always loved music, but I never saw that as anything more than a hobby. After all, people didn’t make money being musicians, right?

As I prepared to choose my university, I looked into possible scholarship opportunities. When my mom told me my college had a music scholarship, I was hesitant to believe her. A scholarship… for MUSIC? I thought. Why in the world would they have that? Is music a sport now? Despite my hesitation, I decided to give it a shot.

Arriving on campus to audition for the music scholarship, I felt a mixture of excitement, nerves, and disbelief. I prepared the required three songs, including an aria, a classical piece, and a contemporary song. The faculty warned me I would be doing a bit of sight reading during the audition, something I wasn’t too excited for. I walked into the brightly lit classroom and met a panel of four professors, who would later become my beloved mentors. I sang each song almost on autopilot, and fumbled my way through the sight reading portion of the audition. Afterwards, the faculty asked about my experience as a singer, and my goals for college and beyond.

I left the audition room completely dazed. I didn’t anticipate much would come out of that audition, so I congratulated myself for getting through it and resigned myself to focus my efforts on other possible paths in college. After all, you don’t hear very much about opportunities within the music field beyond the rare rise of a rock star or pop sensation.

A few weeks later, I received a call from the music department; they congratulated me, the recipient of a $13,000 music scholarship. I could barely contain my joy and, if I’m honest, my shock. Only months before, I had had no idea there was such a thing as “music scholarship.” Now I was the recipient of that scholarship! I never imagined that I would receive anything in return for my arts, but this experience changed my perspective.

As part of my scholarship, I studied music theory and learned the theory behind the music that had always been a part of my life. I became a member of a choir which granted me endless opportunities to travel to beautiful countries like Austria and Hungary. I got the chance to perform on countless stages, and even win money in a professional singing competition! The professors that had previously been panel members at my audition were now confidants, with whom I would share my college experiences and learn more about myself.

I always imagined music as a time-consuming hobby, not an actual career choice. I am forever grateful that I allowed myself the opportunity to grow as a musician, and as an individual, by pursuing something that seemed impossible.

There is a cultural narrative within the US that tells young artists their passions are not viable in the long-term. Many artists give up their passions because they’re not “practical” and they fear they’ll never make a living. For all you soon-to-be college students out there, pursue your passions! You never know what opportunities life will present you with, and you don’t want to miss out on them.

Tatum Brady

Student Spotlight: Tatum B.

7-year-old Tatum has been making TV appearances since she was 3-weeks old. She’s performed for Disney and in a wide variety of other gigs. Tatum is also a competitive dancer who just won the Performance Artist Award in her dance competition. Tatum’s been singing publicly since the age of 3 and began voice lessons at the age of 4. Not only is she talented, but she’s exceptionally bright and thoughtful and has an amazing ear for commercial music stylization for such a young girl. We can’t wait to see where her performance career takes her. Make sure to follow her on Instagram at @tatumbradyofficial.

MM: How did you get started with singing, and how long have you been at it

TB: I started singing for fun at my grandparents’ assisted living when I was 3 to entertain the residents. At 4 I wanted to give my dad a very special birthday present and learn a song to sing in front of an audience. That’s when I started with Molly!

MM: How have you been sharing your songs with others? What’s your favorite performance so far and why?

TB: When I was really little I sang in front of my grandparents and their friends mostly.  Now I sing at Molly’s recitals and special opportunities that come my way.  My favorite performance so far was singing at Pretend City this past year.  It was fun to sing for kids my own age and younger in a relaxed environment!

MM: Who are a few bands/artists that have inspired you, and why?

TB: I love Carrie Underwood for her power, Colbie Caillat for her style, Taylor Swift for her relatability , Ariana Grande for her range & Beyoncé for her overall dance & performance ability.  She is full out all the time!  Imagine Dragons would have to be my favorite band because I think they are really good and my brother and I know all the words to most of their songs!

MM: What are some of your favorite songs, and why?

TB: Some of my favorite songs are Colbie Caillat “Brighter than the Sun,” Friends “Marshmello & Anne-Marie,” “Cry Pretty” by Carrie Underwood, “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera.

MM: What makes you keep up your practice, and what are your goals?

TB: I keep up my practice because I am a dancer & want to be able to sing and dance.  I want to be like Beyoncé one day and put on amazing shows!  Sometimes at auditions they ask you to sing so I want to be able to bust out a song and do it well.

MM: What advice would you give to other students just starting out?

TB: My advice would be to pick songs to sing that you love so you feel comfortable with them. Sometimes it is really scary to get in front of an audience to sing so just remember to keep going if you forget your words and trust the music!

MM: Can you share about a technique, skill, or song you struggled with, and how you are overcoming or have overcome it?

TB: I struggle with confidence hitting the high notes.  I can hit them with my range but I get nervous that the day of I won’t so I tend to pick songs that are more comfortable and don’t push me too much.  This year I am going to push myself a bit more and pick the songs that I know I can belt!  

MM: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

TB: Most people don’t know that I love to cook and bake with my DAD! We really enjoy being in the kitchen together!

MM: What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of music? Favorite school subjects, books, movies, shows, sports?

TB: My favorite hobby & sport is definitely DANCE!  I want to be an entertainer when I grow up.  I also love soccer, volleyball & tennis.  My favorite school subjects are Music, Science & Art!  My favorite movie is The Greatest Showman!

 

MM: It looks like you have a pretty impressive resume outside of singing (dance competitions, acting, etc.) Do you have a favorite gig you’ve done?

TB: Yes I am a competitive dancer & did my first solo this year.  My favorite dance award I won this year was Performance Artist Winner because the judStudent Spotlightges picked their favorite overall performer/artist & they picked me.  It validated what I want to do!  My favorite gig would have to be working for Disney doing Disney commercials.  I have a commercial still airing on Disney Jr.  They are a great company & I had so much fun shooting commercials for them.  I was able to dance and act in the commercials & they had the best food on set… it was a blast!

MM: How did you get into acting? What are the auditions like? The shoots?

TB: My brother had an agent so weeks after I was born my brother’s agent asked my mom for my picture & I booked my first TV show at 3 weeks old!  When I was six I was watching TV & told my mom “I want to do that” so my mom started to let me go on auditions just over a year ago.  The drive to the auditions can be painful as they are all in LA but it is fun to meet new people and get to experience so many different things!  You can’t be shy…you have to walk into a room of strangers and deliver what they are asking of you so you have to want to do it or the casting directors and producers will sense you don’t really want to be there.  The shoots are long but usually a lot of fun.  They typically have lots of food and snacks and most of my jobs have been with other kids so it is fun to meet new friends.  I met a lot of new friends on my Burger King Commercial shoot!  My favorite is when I get to shoot for Cutie Stix, Pom Pom Wow & Orbeez!  They are like family to me!  I love the toys & getting to play with them and I love the people on set.  They are like HOME to me.  They get me my favorite things to eat, are so niTatum Bradyce and I get paid!  So fun!  Check out the HOW TO WOW SHOW on youtube and you can see my videos!

MM: How does singing compare to dancing for you? Does one feel easier or more natural than the other, or is it about equal?

TB: Dancing is way easier for me.  For some reason dancing by myself in a solo is a lot easier than singing by myself.  I think I am more self-conscious about singing.  I feel like if I forget the words or hit a wrong note it is so obvious where when you are moving it seems easier to cover up.  As I continue to train in singing though I am becoming more comfortable doing it in front of people.  It just takes practice so every opportunity I get to sing in front of others I try to take to gain experience!

MM: Anything else fun that you’d like to add?

TB: I have an instagram @tatumbradyofficial that you can ask to follow to watch my singing, dancing and acting journey~  I like being supportive to other kids & artists as I love surrounding myself with supportive, talented, positive people!

Get Over Stage Fright: Embrace Your Anxiety

Get Over Stage Fright: Embrace Your Anxiety

What are some of the things that happen to you as a result of stage fright? If you’re like most people, you experience an adrenaline rush, shaky legs, and a heightened heartbeat. Typically, these reactions are not conducive to a great performance. So let’s break it down and figure out how to embrace your anxiety.

First off, make a list of the things that scare you. It can be anything from forgetting the words, to not knowing what to do with your arms, to cracking on that one hard note, to the aforementioned shaky legs. Then one by one, figure out what you’re going to do about it and how you’re going to make that anxiety work for you.

Let’s just use shaky legs as an example. Realistically, you aren’t going to be able to reliably stop your legs from shaking, so let’s figure out how to work with the issue. Let’s start with where shaky legs come from. Back before humans’ main fear was singing in public, when the concern was still about being eaten by a wild animal, adrenaline rushes and shaky legs propelled a person’s flight away from said wild animal. It’s part of your sympathetic nervous system’s response. There’s no wild animal after you anymore, but the knowledge that your shaky legs are built for flight can give you some clues. Maybe standing with your legs fully together isn’t the best idea, for example, because you might start to teeter. Maybe for the first song, you should build some motion into your performance to get your legs moving until they stop shaking.

Next, let’s deal with the fear that you’ll forget the lyrics. First off, rehearse the lyrics so much that there’s very little shot you’ll forget them if you zone out and go on autopilot. Secondly, have some memory tricks in place for if anxiety interferes with your memory the day of the performance. If you tend to mix up the lyrics that start with “it’s all so simple” and “what’s hard is simple,” use some kind of device. Maybe that both the “i” in it’s and the “a” in all both come earlier in the alphabet than the “w” in what’s and the “h” in hard. Also take a second to remind yourself that if you do forget the lyrics, as long as you sing some other part of the song with confidence, it’s unlikely most of the audience will even notice.

What about cracking? Knowing that you’ll have a higher probability of experiencing voice cracks when you’re under pressure than when you’re relaxed in rehearsal, throw in a little extra of the ingredients that help keep your voice stable. If it’s giving yourself a better anchor so that your breath support can be better, do more than you normally would in practice.

And your floppy arms, that somehow seem to manifest for the first time when you perform? Figure your arms out ahead of time. Face it. Most of us aren’t going to get up there and get so into our performance that our bodies just know what to do. If yours does, congratulations! But for the rest of us out there, we need to plan ahead. Figure out a few simple motions you might want to do with your arms, and know exactly where they’re going to be when they aren’t gesticulating, whether that’s holding the microphone or staying down at your sides.

Since stage fright for many of us isn’t going anywhere, it’s important we learn to perform under the parameters that this anxiety causes. Most importantly, know that no matter what happens, you’re going to be okay. If you crack on that note, if you forget the words, if you have the worst performance of your life, you’re going to wake up the next day having done it and can start working on making the next one a little better.

How to Sound Gruff

Vocal Fringe Techniques: How to Sound Gruff

Singers spend years learning to perfect a crystal clarity that pleases the ear fluidly from low to high. But what happens if you just want to sound like Lady Gaga (in “Poker Face” or “Applause,” not in her Academy Award Sound of Music tribute)? Or if you want to sing folk music without taking it into the Broadway jukebox realm? The truth is, that “trained” vocal sound is something you can turn off and on if you have great control of your voice. Here are some vocal tips on how to sound gruff.

Isn’t Gruffness Something You Just Have or Don’t Have?

Well, if we’re talking about gruffness due to vocal injury, then yes. But I don’t think that’s what you’re after. Lady Gaga is a fantastic example of someone who can turn this sound on and off.

First, listen to this example of her gruff, untrained sound in “Applause.”

 

 

Next, listen to her in The Sound of Music tribute. Sounds like a legit singer, right?

 

 

Then here she is a year later with the gruffness back.

 

 

The reason Gaga’s Sound of Music tribute got so much hype wasn’t because she was the best singer of Golden-Age Broadway to ever hit the stage. It was because her audience was surprised and impressed with her adaptability–one moment she’s hoarsely speak-singing her pop songs, and the next she’s melodiously singing Rodgers and Hammerstein with the clarity of Julie Andrews.

But if she can sound so beautiful, why would she ever choose to sing another way? Well, simply put, her pop songs would sound ridiculous if you sang them like Julie Andrews. Observe:

 

 

Luckily, Lady Gaga can sing gruffly when she chooses to and can sing like a legit Broadway diva when she chooses to. And so can you.

What Are the Hallmarks of that “Trained” Sound

To ditch the trained sound, we first need to identify what makes someone sound like a trained singer.

Thyroid Tilt

A real biggie is the thyroid tilt. That little feeling of tilt (like a puppy-dog cry) onto the note that you experience is one of the hallmarks of the trained-singer sound. The thyroid tilt offers sweetness and helps facilitate that shimmering vibrato.

Even-Sounding Mixed Voice

Whether we’re talking about a beautiful trained belt sound like Sara Bareilles’s or a trained head-mix like Sierra Boggess’s, trained singers tend to instinctively thin out their vocal folds as they go higher and higher, lightening their chest voice more and more until it seamlessly becomes head voice.

No Vocal Fry

You know that lazy, rattly sound common with the So Cal surf culture?

 

 

(No judgment, by the way. I use it constantly). That’s called vocal fry, and it happens when your vocal folds are slack. You don’t really hear much of that at all in a trained, legit voice.

Sticking the Note

You don’t hear a lot of trained-sounding voices sliding up to notes or sliding off of them. They stick the note and hold it out (typically with at least some vibrato).

Now Remove All Those Elements

Un-Tilt Your Thyroid Cartilage!

You know how when everything is working well with your voice, it feels like you’re tipping onto the note instead of moving into the note head on? Let’s take that little tilt out and just move toward the note horizontally. Listen to these two examples, the first with a thyroid tilt, and the second without.

 

 

Singing without the thyroid tilt should feel more like the way you talk (depending on the way you talk!)

Just Go For Chest

Just go for a chesty speech tone instead of an even timbre from low to high. You won’t be able to go too high like this without adjusting some other elements (or injuring your voice), so when you’re doing this, make sure it’s low enough to be comfortable.

Throw in Vocal Fry

Throw some vocal fry into your tone wherever you want it to sound most world-weary.

Don’t Stick the Note

Feel free to slide off the longer notes instead of holding them. Scroll back up to Lady Gaga’s “A Million Reasons,” and listen to about a minute in: “I’ve got a hundred…” Listen to her slide off each note. It wouldn’t have the same effect if she stuck each note like this:

 

 

Without the sliding, it’s much cleaner and less gritty.

Mix and Match

You don’t have to use every one of these elements every time you sing. For a folksy feel, you might try to un-tilt your thyroid cartilage but add a little breathiness. For a higher-pitched song, you might want to scrap the chest voice altogether but keep the other elements. For something you want to sound fairly polished but still have a little bit of grit to it, you might just sing the way you normally do but add vocal fry. Play around and see what works for you on a given song. There’s no wrong answer here if you’re getting an aesthetic you want and your throat feels fine.

5 Tips for Learning to Belt

5 Tips For Learning to Belt

Belt technique is controversial in the voice world. I grew up with the belief that if I did anything other than sing in head voice that I *would* destroy my voice, and even in 2018, I meet students and voice teachers all the time who share that sentiment. The truth is, belting can be dangerous for your voice if you do it with bad technique or if you force yourself to do it when your voice isn’t in shape for it. But if you learn how to do it in a healthy way and listen to your body when your voice isn’t up for it, all will be well. For better or for worse, belting is an indispensable skill in most commercial styles of music, and there’s really no substitute. If you’re ready to take your singing to the next level, here are some important tips for learning to belt in a sustainable, healthy way.

1. Set the Foundation

Great support is absolutely crucial for healthy belting. Think of it this way. When you’re backpacking, you strap your pack on with a variety of straps to distribute the pressure around your body. That way the full force of the backpack isn’t crushing your shoulders. When you belt, you don’t want those tiny laryngeal muscles doing all the work.

Stand up straight. Your back should feel wide and long, and if someone were to try to push you over, you should be so stable that you could weather it. Your spine should be stacked vertically, and your sternocleidomastoids, that pair of muscles that extend from your chest to the base of your skull, should be at work keeping your neck in line with your torso.

When you have a stable base, everything from your breath control muscles (the diaphragm and external intercostals in particular) to the small muscles in your vocal tract can work more efficiently.

2. Use Very Little Air

One of the biggest mistakes newbie belters make is using more air than they need. When you hear a big voice, it may sound like the way to recreate it is to take a giant breath and shove all that air out at once. What this actually does though is force your vocal folds to work significantly harder. Part of the chesty sound belters achieve is created by a longer closed phase. This means that your vocal folds stay together longer during each cycle of vibration. If you use too much air, your vocal folds will have to work very hard to stay shut.

When you belt, don’t take in too much air. Use a relaxed inhalation, and then hold most of the air back when you create your sound. Keep your ribcage expanded so that your diaphragm stays in a low position instead of rising quickly and crowding your lungs. Your exhalation as you sing should be extremely slow and controlled, even more so than in classical singing.

3. Crush the Constriction

One of the biggest culprits in injuring your voice when you belt is the constriction of your false vocal folds, the muscular folds that sit above your vocal folds in your larynx. Your false vocal folds have a tendency to constrict when your body thinks it’s under duress. Constriction is triggered by a variety of things, from heavy labor to anxiety. When your false vocal folds are constricted, you’ll feel your throat get tight and close up.

To retract your false vocal folds, in other words, to open your throat, you can use a variety of visual cues. Visualize inhaling and smelling a rose; laugh silently and hold the position; or pull your ears apart. You can test whether your folds are retracted by covering your ears and breathing. When you can no longer hear your breath, your false vocal folds are retracted.

Keeping your throat open like this is by far the safest way to belt.

4. Learn to Twang

You know that hooty, woofy sound you hear when someone does a bad imitation of an opera singer? Well that ain’t gonna do it. You need a boat-load of forward resonance to make this happen. Try cackling like a witch, quacking like a duck, or saying “nya nya nya” like a bratty kid. You don’t have to be belting yet, but you should feel an extreme narrow, pointed quality to your sound. This is often called twang and is the result of your aryepiglottic sphincter (a tube above your true and false vocal folds) narrowing.

5. Don’t Be Afraid

It may seem contradictory, but the less afraid of belting you are when you do it, the healthier it’ll be. Fear causes tension and constriction, when what you want is freedom. Try fearlessly yelling, “yay!” With a lot of excitement in your voice. Not a trebly, tepid “yay!” A “yay” that someone could hear across a crowded room that’d cause them to smile. There shouldn’t be any real pushing, and it’ll quickly become clear how easy this can be if you let it.

Student Spotlight: Leah L.

Student Spotlight: Leah L.

Leah is, without a doubt, one of the strongest people I know. I’ve watched her in her battle with Lyme Disease dealing with migraines and constant convulsions while she controlled her voice absolutely perfectly. Despite how sick she’s been, she still comes to lessons and has an amazing attitude. I don’t think I’ve once heard her complain or feel sorry for herself. As a child, she had vocal nodules but has recovered and sings with a stunning voice reminiscent of Adele’s. Most recently, she’s been accepted into the Creative Worship team at Orange Lutheran, something she’s been working at for a while, and we couldn’t be happier for her!

MM: What are some of your favorite hobbies, outside of music? Favorite school subjects, books, movies, shows, sports?

LL: My favorite subjects at school are math and science. I am really interested in the medical field, so math and science are really fun for me. I’m not a big reader (much to my mom’s dismay), but I did really like the Wonder Series when I was younger. I don’t get to the movies often, but I’m OBSESSED with Grey’s Anatomy and Bones tv shows. I used to be a gymnast and a volleyball player but had to give them up because of medical issues, but I do enjoy watching those sports.

MM: How did you get started with music, and how long have you been singing?

LL: I got started with music when my mom encouraged me to do singing lessons as a little kid. I have been doing singing lessons off and on since elementary school. The difference now is that I have the time and more interest to take lessons more seriously.

MM: What have been some of your favorite performances, and why? How do you share your music with others, beyond recitals?

LL: I have only been in one recital, and I forgot all the words to my song, haha. But this year in school I am on the Creative Worship team at my high school (leading praise and prayer during Chapel once a week) so I will get the chance to sing in front of the school at Chapel! I’m really excited about that, it’s been a goal of mine for years.

MM: What makes you keep up your practice, and what are your goals?

LL: I keep practicing because I really enjoy singing, and I have been given the gift of a good singing voice. As a Christian, we are taught to pursue the gifts God gives us, and my voice is definitely one of my gifts. It’s also an outlet for me, especially when I’m not feeling well. My goal of making the Creative Worship team was achieved, so I guess it’s time to figure out my next vocal goals!

MM: Who are a few bands/artists that have inspired you, and why?

LL: An artist that really inspires me is Adele because I have a lower raspier voice, so I feel like her songs and her tone and style go well with my voice. I also really like Lauren Dagle and Ed Sheeran and anything country, especially by Luke Bryan.

MM: What are some of your favorite songs, and why?

LL: Some of my favorite songs are “O Lord,” “Amazing Grace,” “To Make You Feel My Love,” and “Chasing Pavements.” Those songs have a really good beat, and I just really like them. I also have a special place in my heart for the old Christian hymns. My dad would sing me to sleep with them as a young child, so there’s a lot of nostalgia there. I love them.

MM: Can you share about a technique, skill, or song you struggled with, and how you are overcoming or have overcome it?

LL: I have a lower voice, so trying to sing anything high is pretty hard for me, but if I do voice exercises it makes it easier to sing better.

MM: I know you dealt with vocal nodules as a kid. Can you talk a little bit about what that was like and what the recovery was like? Does it currently impact your singing at all, or is that all in the past?

LL: My vocal nodules made it hard to sing when I was younger because I would lose my voice easily. Now, I still lose my voice, but more like after I’ve been to a really good baseball or football game or pep rally at school and am screaming loud, but it doesn’t affect my singing anymore.

MM: I know you’re currently battling Lyme Disease and have had to deal with everything from migraines to convulsions. You’ve been able to perfectly control your voice during all that, which is amazing to watch. Is there anything you focus on to make that happen? What’s going through your head, and how are you able to do it?

LL: Yeah, I’ve had a rough number of years with health issues. I’ve had to give up all my sports because of it, but that also gave me the time to pursue singing, so I guess that’s a blessing that I didn’t expect when I was first getting sick all the time. When I’m not feeling good or when I had those involuntary muscle movements (praise Jesus those are in my past), I just focus on singing and let God take over. When I focus on the singing, I don’t think about anything else, and it is nice to take my mind off of medical stuff I’m dealing with.

MM: Congratulations on getting into Creative Worship! What was the audition process like? What are you most looking forward to? How did you decide that was the group you were most interested in?

LL: Thank you! I’m SO EXCITED about that! The audition process was to sing a song and then to sing the harmony to the song to the teachers/directors of the music program. I chose Creative Worship over Honors Choir because CW leads worship to the student body weekly. I take my relationship with Christ seriously, and it’s a way for me to engage with my peers using my gifts, plus I love contemporary Christian music.

What is a Transient Designer

What is a Transient Designer

The following was written by Sean, a music producer at Audio Assemble. This is a wonderful article for anyone interested in the audio production.

When it comes to most studio essentials, almost every tool we still use today was developed or perfected by the 80s. From convolutions to compressors, nothing really broke ground like Sound Performance Lab’s Transient Designer, which debuted in the late 90s. It was a tool so simple that at first glance its price point was once looked at as a cash grab, but soon an industry standard newcomer would become engineers’ not-so-secret weapon.

Table of Contents

What is a transient?
What exactly is Transient Designer?
What does a transient designer really do?
Why should I use a Transient Designer?

What is a Transient?

To understand what a transient designer is, you first need to understand transients. When a sound starts, particularly an acoustically percussive sound such as drums, a guitar pluck or even hammers striking on a piano, there is a brief moment where the sonic quality of the sound is created; this is a transient. Generally, on a waveform, it would look like a crescendo of amplitude and then quickly fading information.

ProTools users have been used to easily working transients for decades because of the Tab to Transient function as well as the ability to integrate with Midi-instruments.

Even Apple has understood the power of transients to create cleaner edits and mixes with Logic’s new Transient Editor mode.

Even Apple has understood the power of transients to create cleaner edits and mixes with Logic’s new Transient Editor mode.

What Exactly is a Transient Designer?

A transient designer is a dynamic processor that provides a wide scope of control over the Attack and the Sustain of a sound. Due to the nature of what a transient designer does, it has also been dubbed as a Transient Shaper because of its innate ability to carve a sound into a mix by physically shaping it.

Why Does a Transient Designer Really Do?

Transient Designers do the work most compressors can’t. If you are looking for both punch and clarity, a compressor isn’t going to get the job done because of its effects on the rest of the aspects of A.D.S.R. When initially created, SPL’s Transient Designer was based around the Ruben Tilgner’s signal processing concept called Differential Envelope Technology. Basically, the DET allows for additive or subtractive envelope handling in regards to attack and sustain. Because of this exacting control over only the attack and sustain, while leaving the other aspects of the envelope alone, transient shaping moves far beyond sound design and into mix cleanup by utilizing the DET to reform sounds without creating artifacts.

Why Should I Use a Transient Designer?

Though technically a dynamic processing tool, transient designers are a great way to really manipulate your sample library or recordings, and make them your own. Outside of the seemingly endless sound design applications of transient shaping, these straightforward plugins can hold their own when it comes to some of their dynamic relatives like gates and even audio cleanup tools in audio editing software like de-verbs.