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Welcome to the "how to make a thin sound" thread, and in general make sounds stand out from other sounds. It seems like a big trend now-days is to have a thick, low end rounded sound and on there are many internet sources that give techniques for "fattening" and "thickening" the sound so its about time to address techniques that make it more thin, crunchy, or pointed. Here we will be discussing how to make a sound thin on many topics like room tone, crunch, ambiance, high pitch, low pitch, frequency boosting, frequency attenuation. The ways I can think of already are automated filtering, narrow reverb, stereo imaging rotating techniques, feel free to share any tips and techniques you might have for getting that sound to stand out in a narrow sense.

  • @birdhousesound can you expound on the idea of a "narrow reverb"? Do you mean a narrow-panned reverb, or a narrow-frequency reverb? – Steve Urban Aug 8 '10 at 23:30
  • @Steve it's thewoosh who posted this question. Birdhouse only edited it... – Utopia Aug 8 '10 at 23:36
  • Oh shoot, you're right. Sorry birdhousesound! Hey @thewhoosh! Can you answer the same question above that I foolishly directed to birdhousesound? – Steve Urban Aug 8 '10 at 23:50
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One technique that hasn't been touched on yet is distortion. I find that taking the clean sound and running it through a distortion plug-in produces an effect that could be termed "thin", although you may need to shelf some of the lower frequencies either pre- or post-plugin (preferably pre). Playing around with parameters such as Drive and Crunch can help the sound to stand out even further.

Another idea is to use extreme futzing (think telephone filter) - this technique has been used in music production for decades. Example: The lead vocal is clear and round, while the backing / accompanying vocal is highly futzed. Great counterpoint.

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Similar to Ryan's thought on phase shifting, I like to automate short (1-6ms) delays that are just slighty wet (10-30%) to provide not just the thinness, but a little movement too.

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