PreSonus Blog

The De-Stresser FX Chain

Feeling a little bit stressed?

I’m not surprised. Or do you ever have one of those days? Of course you do! Wouldn’t it be great to go down to the beach, listen to the waves for a while, and chill to those soothing sounds? The only problem for me is that going to the beach would involve a 7-hour drive.

Hence the De-Stresser FX Chain, which doesn’t sound exactly like the ocean—but emulates its desirable sonic effects. If you’re already stressed out, then you probably don’t want to take the time to assemble this chain, so feel free to go to the download link. Load the FX Chain into a channel, but note that you must enable input monitoring, because the sound source is the plug-in Tone Generator’s white noise option.

About the FX Chain

Figure 1: Effects used to create the De-Stresser’s virtual ocean.

Fig. 1 shows the FX Chain’s “block diagram.” The Splitter adds variety to the overall sound by feeding dual asynchronous “waves,” as generated by the X-Trems (set for tremolo mode). The X-Trem LFO’s lowest rate is 0.10 Hz; this should be slow enough, but for even slower waves, you can sync to tempo with a long note value, and set a really slow tempo.

Waves also have a little filtering as they break on the beach, which the Autofilters provide. The Pro EQs tailor the low- and high-frequency content to alter the waves’ apparent size and distance.

And of course, there’s the ever-popular Binaural Pan at the end. This helps create a more realistic stereo image when listening on headphones.

Macro Controls

Figure 2: The Macro Controls panel.

Regarding the Macro Controls panel (Fig. 2), the two Timbre controls alter the filter type for the two Autofilters. This provides additional variety, so choose whichever filter type combination you prefer. Crest alters the X-Trem depth, so higher values increase the difference between the waves’ peaks and troughs.

The Sci-Fi Ocean control adds resonance to the filtering. This isn’t designed to enhance the realism, but it’s kinda fun. Another subtle sci-fi sound involves setting the two Timbre controls to the Comb response.

As you move further away from real waves, the sound has fewer high frequencies. So, Distance controls the Pro EQ HC (High Cut) filters. Similarly, Wave Size controls the LC filter, because bigger waves have more of a low-frequency component. The Calmer control varies the Autofilter mix; turning it up gives smaller, shallower waves.

When you want to relax, this makes a soothing background. Put on good headphones, and you can lose yourself in the sound. It also makes a relaxing environmental sound when played over speakers at a low level. If your computer has Bluetooth, and you have Bluetooth speakers, try playing this in the background at the end of a long day.

Son of the Beach

This is just one example of the kind of environmental sounds and effects you can make with Studio One, so let me know if this type of tip interests you. I’ve also done rain, rocket engines, howling gales, the engine room of an interstellar cargo ship, cosmic thuds, various soundscapes, and even backgrounds designed to encourage theta and delta brain waves. I made the last one originally for a friend of mine whose children had a hard time going to sleep, and burned it to CD. When I asked what he thought, he said “no one has ever heard how it ends.” So I guess it worked! Chalk up another unusual Studio One application.

 

Download the De-Stresser FX Chain here!

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  • Maria Bovin de Labbé

    Beautiful. Thanks again! Maria.

  • Mike

    Love this. I used this in combination with the Granular Whalesong from Spitfire LABS.

    Really cool to see sound design in Studio One.

  • Mike

    Some expreimental stuff can be found (for free) in the LABS section of Spitfire Audio: https://www.spitfireaudio.com/labs/

    Maybe not sounds of nature but some of those LABS instruments are pure gold.

  • Maria Bovin de Labbé

    Absolutely love it, Mike! Thank you.

  • Mike

    Perhaps Heavyocity’s Natural Forces could be it? It’s on discount right now as well.

    https://heavyocity.com/product/natural-forces/

  • Maria Bovin de Labbé

    I love it and would appreciate more on this topic. I find it hard to find nice sound of nature that are not destroyed by heavy synthesizers. Maybe you have any tips on resources? Thanks. Best, Maria.

  • jake hobbs

    Please! I would definitely like to see more on this subject.

  • Neversleep

    Thankyou. I check it out when I have time…

  • Glad to hear it! There are no known side effects, other than a general feeling of well-being 🙂

  • Studio One is very well suited to sound design, so I can definitely do some more tips in the future. It’s a fascinating field.

  • Albert D Hislop

    Very nice and realistic. Thank You Doctor Craig! I feel better. 🙂

  • Psychedelic Algorithm

    Wow, I wouldn’t have thought of that! Thank you so much.