I am new to StackExchange and I just have a few questions. The sounds I would like to replicate are in this song, being around :40 and 1:15 to hear it the clearest. It sounds like more of a bass sound that rises and reminds me personally of like an old ambient VHS sound:

(Please excuse the deer if you find that mildly offensive)

If you have any idea on how to replicate this synthesizer sound please let me know! Knowing effects and plugins that could help me obtain this sound would also help. I'm using Massive and Absynth as main VSTs but I could use another if you know how to program it there.

1 Answer 1


To me it sounds a lot like the so called shimmer effect credited to Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, and it is actually not a synthesizer sound (in this case). What I am hearing is the effect responding to the plucked guitar notes you can also hear in the soundscape. The effect is used (although more sparingly) by The Edge on a number of U2 songs. Most notably on the intro to "City of blinding lights". And it can also be heard on many Daniel Lanois records.

The effect itself is basically a combination of a delay chain that has a 1 octave pitch shift per delay slap as well as a long tailed reverb effect to smooth things out. Depending on the decay and feedback settings on these effects, you can achieve many different sounds.

Depending on your DAW environment there are different ways of achieving this. I am a Reaper user, and the free patching there makes it real easy, but I am sure it can be done in every DAW. The basic chain would be either:

  1. having a feedback loop between delay and pitchshift (be careful with feedback settings on the delay)       __________
                    ↓                  ↑
    input → delay → pitchshift → reverb

  2. just building a chain of multiple delays and shifters (usually 4-5 iterations is enough). If you can link the delay time and feedback controls on all delays, it makes it a lot easier, but you can also manually adjust them to be the same (or maybe try having them different if the original effects doesn't do it for you):

input → DL → PS → DL → PS →DL → PS ... → reverb

There is no rule that says you absolutely HAVE to input a guitar - you can use synths (or your voice) just as well. I'd imagine sound with shorter decay would work best, but there could be other routes to explore.

There is aa nice gathering of information at the link above. It is connected to a plug-in they have built to recreate it, but as described above, you can easily do it yourself as well. http://valhalladsp.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/enolanois-shimmer-sound-how-it-is-made/

  • I realize the sound you though I was trying to replicate, but could you possibly help me with this one? At 2:00 in the song SALEM - SUNRISE it's the synthesizer that almost sounds like the THX Deep Note and sounds like a landscape sound? What you provided is very useful, though. Dec 20, 2014 at 21:47
  • To my ears it is the shimmer answering to a more complex number of tones. It sounds like a C-F-D chord progression.
    – Hvitnov
    Dec 28, 2014 at 10:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.