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pre-echo beats

There’s something about mp3 what I like, and many others don’t like: transientsmear. When drums are compressed with (lofi) mp3, pre-echo’s are introduced. I like that. (I dont like the dynamics-loss of the transients, but I like pre-echo’s).

Why I like pre-echo’s

Pre-echo’s, especially on drums give smooth transients, instead of harsh transient. I call it ‘fluffy beats’. Ever listened to 60/70’s music? I love the sound of audiotransformers in old mixingdesks. Audiotransformers usually (depending on the type) introduce transientleakage/smear too. However, the dynamics of the transients are usually better preserved (compared to (lofi) mp3).

Compression is for kids

This is a quote I actually heard the technician of Quincy Jones saying which really made me think.

Compressors, my favourite gem of the past, are known to easily ‘massage’ transients into something else. Nowadays I prefer to use hardware tubes for limiting (JJ tubes on my electribe ESX) and try to stay away from too much pluginstuff, especially compression. Its just so easy to get carried away in nothing. The good news is that I learned to apply, make, and use compressors fairly well thruout the years. However for many other things, layering transient(samples) can phatten things up much easier.

My search for pre-echo’s

I tried many pre-echo plugins, phase vocoders and other fft plugins hunting for the ‘pre-echo’ on drums. I even wrote my own plugins, and fiddled with phasevocoder-sourcecode. All of them suffered the same problem: pre-echo loss of dynamics of the transient itself. I tried many things, mixing them with the origin signal etc. However this lead to many other problems I will not get into.

The solution: the shaker

Sometimes solutions can be found in places where you least expect it. The solution was quite simple (ofcoarse). Instead of processing everything and losing things in the process, I decided to things myself. The solution was a simple reversed shaker sound :D

The reversed shaker sound used as a pre-echo on my electribe does the job perfectly..it introduces the pre-echo, and the drumsounds maintain their punchy transient.

Example: without pre-echo


The beats above contain clean transients, which can be usefull for goa/psy stuff e.g. (which typically sounds direct, clean and sterile).

Example: The fluffy reversed shaker


Above are reversed shakers (somewhat modified). Basically this is a fadein of pinknoise, which sounds similar to the pre-echo / smooth transients you would hear on badquality mp3.

Example: mixed together


Here the two are mixed together. It might not be very visible for the naked eye, but using this technique I could come up with some really interesting results. Snappy transients and smooth pre-echo’s :)