I’ve been spending more time than I really wanted to figuring out how to translate incidental sounds from loops and samples on my forthcoming record to a live setting this week. I haven’t played live in more years than I can shake a stick at, and the last time I did this with Folk Implosion we loaded a single part into a drum machine and played it continuously through the whole song, on tunes like Checking In and Insinuation. This time, the goal is to use multiple sounds and trigger them periodically throughout the song, for the most part. They are less exclusively or not even mainly drum parts so they pose different problems.
In this context I have found the Pultec HLF-3C plugin, from Universal Audio’s Pultec Passive EQ Collection, to be super useful. As you can see, the controls are very simple. The low and hi cut offs are notched, rather than continuous, in choosing where they will cut off the spectrum. In this case, the restriction of choice is most welcome. Clear contrasts come into focus quickly, presenting choices that become obvious as you audition them. As advertized, it can “remove unwanted hiss and rumble from your tracks” in a jiffy.
It can also focus on a particular part of the soundfield of a sample in a way that helps it jump out from the other instruments it will be playing with, which may of course be different from those heard on record. It also makes it easier to try reprinting the sounds with different effects because the HLF can be used to quickly get rid of unwanted aspects of those patches. When using effects, it’s always a hazard to go too far over the top in a way that distracts from rather than integrates with the song as a whole. This helps tighten up those loose stitches – quickly.