If you asked me back in the day what Saturation meant I would give you a bro-science answer
"MAKES SHIT LOUD".
Saturation does make stuff loud but you have to understand why and when to use it or else you will be messing up your mix-downs.
Today I'm going to explain to you what Saturation is doing and how to use it efficiently on Leads, Bass, Vocals, and Drums.
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What Is Saturation?
Saturation is adding harmonic frequencies to the sound you are saturating.
It's that simple but do you really understand what this means?
Below I will show you a picture of a Sine Wave.
Now A Sine Wave after Saturation
Can you see the new peaks added to your sine wave? Those are Harmonic Frequencies.
So if I asked you what does Saturation DO?
I think you could explain it a bit better..
From the picture above I woulds say
Saturation is the act of boosting harmonic frequencies in a sound to get it to sound BRIGHTER, Fuller, and LOUDER!
How To Use Saturation?
Saturation can be used by using a Saturator and usually your DAW will have some stock ones that are decent.
In Ableton we have the Saturator
In FLSTUDIO we have the Waveshaper
A VERY POPULAR THIRD PARTY SATURATION IS FABFILTER SATURN
Applying these effects will saturate whatever sound we have it routed too.
It's that simple.
Use each respective plugin in their daws and apply it to a sound with drive to get the saturation effect.
FOR ALL THESE EXAMPLES A SIMPLE ABLETON DEFAULT SATURATOR WAS USED WITH A BIT OF DRIVE ADDED...
Saturating leads is a must and most of you guys are already doing it when you use the Camel Crusher.
In this example I'm gonna Saturate these leads with a simple Ableton Saturator
First thing you should notice is that the loudness increased, and the second thing is that the leads sound a lot fuller.
This example is done by using a Simmple Ableton Saturator and increasing the drive.
MAKE SURE TO NOT OVER DO IT OR YOU WILL DISTORT THE LEADS.
Bass is one of the best places to use saturation.
Because when you distort you are already saturating.
Distortion is just saturation over done...
For this bass we want the sound to remain non-distorted but we want a bit more body from it so we will simply saturate a bit and see the results
Notice how the Bass got fuller and also look at the waveform!
Small changes but subtly adding these things will help the overall mix on the long run.
Same thing as above we just added a bit of Saturation from Ableton
Ever wonder how trap artist or Bass house artist get the drums to sound super in your face?
Saturation is the key
Again remember not to over do it or else your drums will distort.
Notice the difference? They are both almost the same volume but the saturated Drums clearly are hitting harder and more in your face.
Finally we are gonna use saturation on vocals to get them sound more crisp and brighter.
Remember that saturation is a tool that will help with almost all types of sounds.
Treat it with respect and you will be on your way to achieving your dream MIXDOWN
Take note how these are very subtle changes. Leads can be driven harder with saturation but vocals sometimes you run the risk of distorting them and making them to rough so be careful with them.
You saw Saturation being applied in different scenarios and how it helps in achieving a crisper, louder and fuller sound.
Some things to keep in mind are that some plugins like Camel Crusher, Aphex Vintage Exciter , and many more are saturating inside... Even the DADA LIFE Sausage Fattener is doing it....
If you are using some of these plugins be cautious as adding more saturation with an Ableton Saturator or FLSTUDIO Waveshapper will cause distortion to occur.
With that said Ninjas I hope you guys learned something today.