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I'm making a short film where one of the actors accidentally turns the fader on the mixing board all the way up thus making an immense feedback. We don't want to do this in reality because of the damage to both our ears and the PA. system. So I've tried to make feedback in Ableton live, but I can't find any way except for going into settings and turning on the sinewave (LFO), but this is just a preview, not something you can use in your final clip..

How can I achieve this effect?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

To make feedback a good way is to use the sends. Put on your source, for example just the default Operator, on your track. Send 100 % to Send A. Right click on the Send A wheel on the Return A channel and choose "Enable". If you increase the Send A now you will of course get feedback, but it will come instantaneously and will not output any sound. I don't know if it is because of my computer is working too hard with the loop or if it is a safety precaution from Ableton's side.

We now have a loop. The "speaker" is the Send A. The "microphone" is the Return A. But the microphone recieves the signal instantaneously and outputs it through the speakers instantaneously, which isn't how it works in the real world. In the real world you have delay between the speaker and the microphone and in the whole PA. system. So I added a Simple Delay to the Return A. You could also try the Filter. Then I put on a limiter on all the channels. I set the Simple Delay to about 5 milliseconds. Then I added a EQ Eight before the limiter on the Return A to make the right feedback frequency.

I also added an Overdrive to the master channel. Just turn up the Send A on the Return A channel and play a note. Be really careful about the Send A, don't turn it too much up at a time.

This worked in my scenario, but if you need the feedback to come slowly like it does if the gain is just a little bit to high you could try adding Effects to turn down the volume a bit and maybe add a little bit of reverb and try to make it as real as possible. But in my scenario they turn the volume up with an accident which leads to an instant feedback.

Good luck!

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+1 Great answer. –  Friend Of George Jan 30 '12 at 15:53
    
Note that you can "tune" your feedback by adjusting the delay. Values between 0 and 100 ms should produce recognizable tones. –  ObscureRobot Jan 30 '12 at 19:47
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You need to do it in real life otherwise it will sound awful. The key part is you need to limit the volume. There are a number of ways or techniques you could try:

  • Use a guitar amp, gain up high, but not massive volume. It'll feed back easily and sound like typical feedback
  • Use a compressor to limit the maximum volume of the signal
  • Use something else very underpowered, like a portable CD/radio thing with attached microphone
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Thanks, but I actually made it sound great in Ableton Live at last. I used delay on the send A which then sent to itself again. –  Friend of Kim Jan 30 '12 at 14:32
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@50ndr33 Please share your solution by posting it as an answer. You can then accept that answer. –  Friend Of George Jan 30 '12 at 15:04
    
Yes, and of course it would maybe be best to choose a latency near what your PA. system have, to make it sound most like it would in your situation. –  Friend of Kim Jan 31 '12 at 16:30
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