Creating Ambient Sounds Using Spectral Audio's Spacer Plug-In Air
Tutorial | Nov 08, 2022
In this video, I demonstrate how to use the spacer plug in air, a modular reverb or delay effect by Spectral Audio. I show how to combine multiple delays and reverbs in the chain, as well as how to adjust the mix, output gain and EQ for each module. I explain the features of the convolution reverb, the crane reverb and delay, the normal delay, and the chorus and utilities, and explain how the dice button can be used to randomize parameters. I mention how one drawback of convolution is that it's static and doesn't modulate, and how an algorithmic reverb like Valhalla Reverb or Valhalla Supermassive can be used to add organic movement to a sound. I demonstrate how to solo and EQ each module, and also how to adjust the mod rate and mod depth of the reverb. Finally, I show how to use the grain reverb and delay to further enhance the sound.
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Questions & Answers #
Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:
What is the Spacer Plug-in Air by Spectral Audio? #
The Spacer Plug-in Air by Spectral Audio is a modular reverb or delay effect available as VST and VST3 and AU on Mac and costs 69 dollars.
What are the features of the convolution reverb? #
The convolution reverb features a lot of different types of convolution effects, and allows you to drag in your own impulse responses. It also has a mix knob, which is used to position yourself closer to the source of the audio signal.
What is the difference between convolution and algorithmic reverb? #
The main difference between convolution and algorithmic reverb is that convolution is static, while algorithmic reverb is organic and can move, change and modulate over time.
How does the grain delay work? #
The grain delay works by taking small snippets from the audio signal and looping them. The spray size changes the grain size over time, and you can also adjust the pitch with the pitch knob.
- What is the overall mix knob used for?
The overall mix knob
This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.
[00:00.000] Hey folks, welcome back to another video.
[00:03.080] Today it's about a spacer plug in air, which is a modular reverb or delay effect by Spectral
[00:10.160] It's available as VST and VST3 and I think AU on the Mac.
[00:16.320] And I think it costs 69 bucks, so it's not super expensive and exactly replicates how
[00:22.400] I use reverbs in Bidic Studio.
[00:24.680] I don't use just one reverb or one delay.
[00:27.480] I combine multiple delays, multiple reverbs in the chain of Bidic Studio.
[00:32.440] But here you have this basically in one plug in, you have multiple modules, you can see
[00:36.120] a convolution reverb, just an algorithmic reverb, a crane reverb, a crane delay, a normal delay.
[00:43.720] And here at the end you have a chorus and utilities to just boost some frequencies or increase
[00:50.840] here the harsh time, harsh effects, we have more like a stereo effect.
[00:54.600] I think harsh is just delaying one channel, the left or the right channel, you can delay
[00:59.200] it by some milliseconds and you get some kind of stereo effect with this.
[01:06.080] So yeah, you have multiple modules here, you can also take these modules and move them
[01:11.720] So exactly like in the chain of Bidic Studio where you can move certain plug-ins around
[01:17.680] and try out certain combinations of orders of plug-ins of delays and reverbs and so on.
[01:26.360] And you can do this here.
[01:27.360] There's also a dice button at the top here, so you can click that and every time you click
[01:34.080] it you have randomized parameters.
[01:37.240] It would be nice when this plug-in had some kind of lock feature where you can right-click
[01:43.240] on a parameter here and say lock this parameter and then when this is locked, for instance
[01:49.960] the stamping and I click randomize here, this parameter doesn't change.
[01:55.120] This would be nice to have for maybe for the mix knobs here or maybe for when you have
[02:01.360] your crane reverb that pitch-to-pitch section here, you don't want to change the pitch at
[02:05.640] all, so you can lock this.
[02:08.600] All these Audiority reverbs have this, so I'm used to it.
[02:12.000] So it would be nice to have some locking feature for the dice button or maybe the opposite
[02:17.640] way around where you can change here what's randomized and what not.
[02:22.200] So you can say please randomize only this or only this or maybe right-click and say dice
[02:27.520] this button right on this parameter.
[02:32.400] This could be also an option.
[02:34.960] You have also here some interface sizing options only three, so it's not resizable at all.
[02:42.440] You just change it to three different settings.
[02:47.200] I've always here the biggest setting because I'm half-blind, I'm pretty old, I'm pretty
[02:51.680] old guy, I need big as possible and it's also nice for making videos of course to show people
[02:58.960] this nice interface.
[03:02.600] And by the way, this video is not sponsored, they offered me a sponsored video but I declined
[03:09.040] more or less because I want to keep this channel sponsored free as possible.
[03:15.400] You saw me using this plugin before in streams and so on.
[03:18.920] So I'm really liking this plugin, I'm trying it out and it really goes down my workflow
[03:25.800] path I want to say.
[03:28.720] So yeah, I want to show you this how I use this and what's the fuss about it.
[03:38.080] So now we know that we can replace or reorder all of these modules here and we have also
[03:44.000] your input gain, mix and output gain and I found that also a borrower in my discord mentioned
[03:49.960] this already that when you combine multiple of these modules and mix in a lot of these
[03:55.960] modules, you will find out that the output gain is going down rapidly.
[04:02.240] So you have to compensate with this here with increasing the output gain a lot.
[04:08.480] But it's not a problem for me so much because it's usually how audio processing works, right?
[04:16.040] Just add one effect and maybe a stereo effect and then you decrease the loudness for some
[04:21.520] reason and you have to compensate for that.
[04:23.760] I don't think it needs here an auto compensate or auto gain feature would be nice to have,
[04:29.120] but I don't really need it.
[04:31.320] I'm happy with just having this output gain here.
[04:36.760] So that's that.
[04:37.920] So maybe we just disable here some of these modules because you can listen to them individually
[04:45.080] and there's also a solo button on these modules so you can just, you know, when you have a
[04:51.000] chain of effects here, multiple things happening at once, you can just solo out one module
[04:56.920] and just focus just on this module to tweak it to your liking and then go back and listen
[05:04.320] to it in the combination of all the other modules.
[05:08.240] And also the audio flow goes as follows.
[05:12.280] As you can see, there's a small arrow here at the top.
[05:15.720] This is where the audio goes in.
[05:18.360] So when you have here and piano stage, plug in playing in front, the audio goes straight
[05:32.720] in here.
[05:33.720] So this is the first module in the chain, then it goes to the convolution, then it goes
[05:37.400] to the crane reverb, and it goes down here to this second delay, which is switched off
[05:42.720] at the moment in the grain delay here and then the output utilities.
[05:47.040] And then finally you can hear it over your headphones, right?
[05:50.200] So this is the out here, so in, out, and this is the flow.
[05:57.360] So what I usually found the best is to probably start with the convolution first to give it
[06:02.280] some kind of texture before you go into the reverb and make it bigger.
[06:10.160] And the convolution reverb here features a lot of different types of convolution things.
[06:15.440] You can also drag in, of course, your own impulse responses to this plug in here.
[06:21.600] It features drag and drop, which is nice.
[06:24.600] But you have already here a lot of different things, for instance, hall here.
[06:29.080] And then you can go for jazz club, for instance, and then it crashes, which is really nice
[06:37.360] because this never happened before.
[06:39.680] And now when I press record on OBS, of course it crashes.
[06:45.360] So let's do that again.
[06:48.240] Let's go to Hall and Dark Hall, maybe switch this off and then bring the mix up, maybe
[07:00.560] bring the size down to the original size of the impulse response, also decay to 100%.
[07:05.960] So this is just a pure convolution effect.
[07:15.320] So the problem of convolution is that it's just a sample.
[07:18.360] And every time you play something, the audio goes through the same sample again and again.
[07:24.240] So it's super highly static.
[07:26.960] That's the drawback of convolution, that it gives you a really original, authentic sound,
[07:35.840] but it doesn't modulate.
[07:37.840] It's just the same sample over and over again.
[07:40.800] So it becomes static over a certain amount of time, or if you do ambient and you have
[07:45.920] a long drone sound going through this convolution reverb, it gets static or stale at a certain
[07:54.920] point and you can hear it.
[07:56.600] It's a sample and it doesn't move that well.
[07:59.160] And when you use then an algorithmic reverb like Valhalla reverb or Valhalla supermassive,
[08:05.560] it sounds completely different.
[08:07.280] It's organic.
[08:08.280] It moves.
[08:09.280] It changes over time and it's a completely different feel.
[08:14.040] But this convolution gives you a nice, authentic feel.
[08:17.600] So it really sounds like we have a piano sitting in a dark hall.
[08:26.120] And then you bring down the mix knob here.
[08:28.240] It sounds like you are a bit closer to the piano, so you get a more direct sound.
[08:36.760] But you can still hear the dark hall in the background.
[08:40.880] So the mix knob on a convolution is for me always like a positioning move parameter.
[08:48.840] You move yourself closer to the source of the audio signal.
[08:53.160] In this case here it's a piano.
[08:57.320] Like we are far away from the piano.
[09:00.120] Just only hear the reflections of the dark hall.
[09:11.120] And now we are pretty close to the piano until we are super close.
[09:24.080] So this convolution is nice to give your sound a bit of texture, a bit of realistic texture.
[09:32.600] And then you can say you want to go into let's say a crane delay here.
[09:40.560] So we switch this on.
[09:48.120] So now we have after this realistic texture we get this crane effect.
[09:57.880] Of course we can change delay times here, sync to the BPM of the project.
[10:12.840] You can change it to spray of the grains.
[10:16.960] So grains are basically just small little audio snippets from the audio signal we played.
[10:25.840] So it's a small looper if you want to call it that way.
[10:29.400] And you can change how big the grain size is or how big the looping size is.
[10:34.560] And the spray size I think it changes the size here between 296 milliseconds.
[10:46.480] So it changes the grain size over time.
[10:51.160] So you have smaller and bigger grains.
[10:58.720] And this already brings in a lot of movement to the static convolution reverb here.
[11:03.760] And by the way we have here some buttons on the left.
[11:06.560] So you can also just disable this visual here and you get the pitch and the randomized
[11:12.600] for the pitch.
[11:13.600] So you can pitch it up here by 12 semitones.
[11:21.280] So every repetition is pitched up 12 semitones which gets pretty high fast.
[11:28.440] You can also use something between but maybe 7 semitones which is a perfect fifth that
[11:37.200] could work.
[11:43.440] But everything here in between it gets dissonant fast so you have to play around with the feedback
[11:50.120] so it doesn't advance too fast or too much.
[11:57.280] So when the feedback is low you only have maybe one step so you have your original audio
[12:04.120] signal and then one audio signal pitched up 3 semitones and then it's done.
[12:09.640] But when you increase the feedback you have much, much longer feedback iterating over
[12:14.920] this transposition here or this audio pitch so you get this constant pitching up.
[12:29.160] So most of the times I'm just using perfect intervals like 12 or maybe 5 or 7 but everything
[12:38.400] in between gets pretty fast, pretty dissonant.
[12:50.120] Then we also have an EQ here you can say we only want to have a grain reverb in this
[12:55.440] upper frequency range and this is also true here for all the other modules so you have
[12:59.720] an EQ on all of these modules and also a second page here for some parameters.
[13:09.160] So you have on off, soloing, EQ and the second page of parameters and also a dice module here.
[13:17.680] How great is that?
[13:22.400] And like I said when you use the solo button this is completely switched off you're only
[13:27.440] hear the grain delay so you can completely focus on the grain delay itself and play around
[13:36.200] with it maybe use the dice here.
[13:42.720] And when you like it then go back to or switch solo off and then you can hear how it sounds
[13:48.280] with the convolution in the first stage.
[14:02.040] Maybe I switch here this pedal on.
[14:06.520] So now that we have here a grain delay you can use then after this a reverb maybe.
[14:12.640] Also switch this on maybe solo this out and this is just a normal algorithmic reverb.
[14:22.720] You change the gain setting here which is probably the feedback.
[14:29.440] The room size which changes probably the delay settings of the all pass devices inside of
[14:43.920] And pretty important the mod and the mod rate here which changes the delay times of each
[14:49.040] of these all pass patches inside of this device which gets you this kind of pitch modulation.
[15:00.000] So you can hear it when I blow this down.
[15:06.000] But you don't want to overdo this you want to stay in a key so I'm usually dialing down
[15:11.120] the mod depth here and also the mod rate I do pretty slowly because I do ambient and
[15:16.200] I want to have long drones and I want to have slow modulations over time.
[15:28.800] The damping probably removes some of the upper frequencies but you can also do this
[15:34.960] here with the EQ if you want to.
[15:43.640] So you only have reverb here in the mid part or it depends on what kind of input sound
[15:49.640] you have.
[15:50.640] If you have a low pad then you probably want to have reverb on top of this low pad and you
[15:57.640] want to add something on top.
[16:00.240] And when you have higher pitched sounds like this piano here probably want to have something
[16:06.480] here in the mid part so it amplifies a bit of the mid frequencies just to complement
[16:13.440] the frequency spectrum.
[16:20.360] The delay is up to you of course with for me it's always 100% because I like white sounds.
[16:35.280] I don't know how the diffusion is implemented in this plug-in.
[16:41.120] I guess it's also playing around with some additional arpast devices just to make the
[16:48.000] sound or the delay because reverb is just delays multiple delays to adjust delay times
[16:56.120] or maybe add additional arpast devices just to make the sound dense.
[17:01.640] I don't know how it's implemented but all it does basically is it makes the sound probably
[17:08.840] more dense and if you dial this down it probably sounds more like a delay and it sounds more
[17:15.000] like a reverb.
[17:19.200] So now that we have this reverb here running you can bring in all the other things here
[17:31.800] and bring the mix down because we want to hear also dry signal from the grain delay and the
[17:36.240] dry signal from the convolution.
[17:39.160] This is pretty powerful.
[17:40.440] Don't use it all the time at 100%.
[17:42.560] I really like to have certain bits or sounds of all of these modules at the end coming
[17:50.400] So I want to hear something from the grain delay on top of the reverb.
[17:54.200] So it makes the sound more dense in my opinion when you just mix this here in part in.
[18:00.000] So you can still hear something from the grain delay.
[18:09.160] And you have to set 100% you only hear this basically.
[18:18.320] Sure the grain delay goes into the reverb and then the reverb has different output sound
[18:22.680] of course but you don't hear all the nice little bits from the grain delay itself.
[18:28.080] So I really like to use your mix knob and only mix these modules in and part.
[18:47.000] And also when you are done with your patch you can also use the mix knob, the overall
[18:51.680] mix knob and I usually go around 80% around that with my ambient stuff because I want
[18:58.880] to hear a bit of the original try signal of the piano which sounds really nice.
[19:04.760] This is the try signal, it's pretty loud, it is pretty quiet.
[19:12.600] This is what I meant.
[19:13.600] You have to compensate your with the output gain a lot sometimes.
[19:29.120] So now we have already a long reverb happening here but we can still do more.
[19:34.800] We can activate here the grain reverb and there's also pitch here exactly like on the
[19:39.720] grain delay, I think the grain reverb works the same as the grain delay but here you have
[19:46.880] more moving parts and it brings in more diffusion and more like a reverb sound but in general
[19:55.440] reverbs and delays are more or less the same.
[20:01.040] The difference is basically just some timings, reverb timings or delay timings and how much
[20:07.000] delays you are using and how big the feedback is.
[20:13.160] So maybe let's just listen to that.
[20:15.440] So we have here also the case setting which is probably just the feedback, oh we have
[20:19.120] also separate feedback here.
[20:22.320] You can increase the size or you can see it increases the size of some delays, you can
[20:30.560] hear this with the crackling.
[20:31.760] So there are some all pass devices in there probably, we have also here a mod rate and
[20:48.320] the mod depth, let's use that, let's make it slow, it brings in the movement.
[21:00.880] EQ, maybe EQ out the low end and the top end a bit.
[21:11.680] And just this alone sounds really nice, Emo.
[21:18.560] So let's dial this down to 50%, around 50% and bring all the other modules beforehand.
[21:41.400] I like it, maybe pitch up here, so the pitch again, we probably want to have a lower feedback
[22:01.400] so it doesn't go too far with the pitch.
[22:12.400] So with the pitch here you get this shimmer effect, so you have to dial in your decay
[22:24.040] setting and feedback carefully because it can go, yeah it can build up over time.
[22:32.480] So let me bring this down here.
[22:42.160] So if you like this shimmer effect, these upper tones, these pitched up tones then we
[22:49.560] can leave this in here and combine it with the rest.
[22:53.200] Let's see all the sounds, nice.
[23:10.080] And because this is not enough, we can add another delay to just use the signal we just
[23:16.600] created and delay it even more, so just solo this out here and see how this sounds.
[23:32.520] It's just a delay, right?
[23:33.520] And you have delay times here.
[23:36.800] You can also switch this to milliseconds, but usually I just want to have BPM here,
[23:43.440] so I have divisions of my current BPM setting.
[23:52.840] And again the feedback decides how long this echoes out.
[24:22.800] And we use the EQ here, also cut off the low end, bit of the high end.
[24:39.760] So this also sounds nice on its own.
[24:43.200] So now we use this on top of all these other modules, maybe just bring the mix down here,
[24:49.000] the feedback a bit down so it's not too long to see all the sounds.
[25:44.480] It's almost like a synthesizer for me using these reverbs.
[25:56.360] For ambient, all you need is just reverbs.
[26:00.800] If you want to do ambient, just use reverbs.
[26:03.220] It doesn't matter what kind of synthesizer you use or what kind of input signal, you
[26:10.040] just can fart into your microphone and put a reverb on it and it's a drone sound.
[26:17.160] It doesn't matter what kind of input sound you have, all you need is a great reverb.
[26:23.040] If you see this basically as a synthesizer, then it is.
[26:30.000] Then we have on top of that, to make it even more fancy, we can put a chorus on that.
[26:37.560] This basically is just multiplying the audio signal into multiple iterations of the same
[26:46.160] sound and then applying delay times to it.
[26:50.400] We have six multiplying the signal by six times and then we do 76 milliseconds separation
[27:01.680] time between each of these voices, I think.
[27:05.040] Then you can spread it out here even more to the left and the right channel and you
[27:11.400] can do this with the rate here or synchronized to the BPM setting of your track.
[27:21.400] When we only listen to that, is this possible?
[27:24.360] No, that's not.
[27:25.360] We switch this off here.
[27:30.160] This is how the chorus sounds.
[27:32.400] It's probably too fast, so make it slower.
[27:50.320] The modulation depth here.
[27:56.080] I think the modulation depth and the modulation speed should be close to each other, I don't
[28:07.280] You can make the signal wide if you want to, so mix this in here with the tri-signal.
[28:28.120] Just a rate and a lower depth is also nice.
[28:38.720] Here it can be beneficial to just switch to rate, so it's not synchronized, so it doesn't
[28:45.840] sound too gritty or too on point, so we can use here some three hertz.
[28:57.600] So it warbles around freely over your track.
[29:07.640] Then we have utilities here.
[29:09.840] I don't know what all these parameters are, but I think presence is probably some upper
[29:15.360] Air is probably something around 10K or something, so just EQ boost.
[29:21.920] I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like this.
[29:29.760] Then there's saturation, it's probably some distortion, slight distortion.
[29:39.600] Dimension, dimension, mix and size, I think it's something similar to the chorus where
[29:47.240] you split the signal into multiple audio parts and then delay it differently.
[29:52.640] And then you have the harsh time here, which probably changes the delay timing of this
[29:58.680] H, I have no idea, it's probably an EQ.
[30:04.560] Also to remove certain frequencies, so it sounds like an old tape on old audio recording.
[30:11.120] So it's probably some random EQ setting, stereo spread and the harsh mix here.
[30:23.680] So it's all about boosting upper frequencies, adding a bit of harmonics, creating multiple
[30:30.560] signals, delaying these signals on the left and the right channel to make it stereo and
[30:35.440] spread out also your harsh time, it's all about that in the utilities box here.
[30:41.480] Also chorus itself, so you can make this reverb sounding so wide as possible with all the
[30:49.040] possible effects you have.
[30:52.640] And plus of course all these reverb and delay modules here.
[30:56.680] So we can now switch everything on and have probably a super nice, big, long ass stereo
[31:05.520] wide reverb.
[32:05.520] So I think that's it for this video, give this plug in a try, I think there's a trial
[32:35.040] version, try it out for yourself, it's really fun to use and like I said, it's exactly how
[32:40.040] I use reverbs inside of Bitwig Studio, combining delays, reverbs, reordering, using chorus effects
[32:48.800] and so on.
[32:50.520] It's really fun to play around with this.
[32:53.960] So link is in the description, if you have questions, please leave it in the comments.
[32:59.040] Leave a like, subscribe to the channel and see you in the next video.
[33:03.760] Thanks for watching and bye!