I want to share a tip on how you can create your own riser effects, which works with most synthesizers, and is quick and easy once you know how. If you have any more tips and tricks on Riser FX Sound Design, please share them!
Step 1 - Add the Synth Track
Make sure that the synthesizer supports “selection of pitch bend range”. Choose a good long sustained sound preset, or create your own from sound design. It has to be able to hold the note for an infinite time meaning sustain in the ADSR envelope at max.
Then you simply choose how much you want the riser to “rise” in notes. Usually you will got for full octaves, so 12 semi notes or 24 semi notes.
Step 2 - Create the Riser Automation
Now you need to create a region in your DAW, and add a sustained note for the length you want the riser (you can always time stretch the MIDI part later so I recommend simply going with 2 or 4 full bars to start out).
Then you open up the automation for that region, and make sure you select “pitch bend” in the automation lane. After which you draw in a perfect line from 0 (middle position of the pitch bend wheel) to maximum value (hitting the “roof” in the automation). This will make sure that the pitch bend is automated from zero pitch bend to the top of the pitch bend wheel, which will result in a glide of pitch up to the value you set earlier in your synth (for example 24 semi notes).
Step 3 - Adjust the Riser Automation to your preference
You can then time stretch the part to become longer or shorter (on MAC you hold Option (ALT) while left clicking with your mouse on the right side of the MIDI clip and drag out to the right or to the left.
Then you can also go into the pitch bend automation and experiment with adjusting the “curve” of the automation line. The default I use is one straight line from 0 to max. But you can bend this line with “automation curve”, or perhaps add a new points and change the slope of those extra lines which will make the gliding of pitch change speed over time.
Step 4 - Automate the Filter
Often with risers you want them to “thin out” when they get closer to the end of the riser sound. I recommend using a high-pass filter, and then automate it so that the cut-off value rises towards the end of the sound effect.
Bonus Tip for Omnisphere users
Finally, I have a bonus tip for all your Omnisphere users (I am an Omnisphere addict since 2009 haha): As far as I know Omnisphere is the only synth in the world that you can “lock” certain aspects of the sound, while browsing presets. Which is an awesome feature I tell you!
If you go up to the “lock icon” in the upper left part of Omnisphere, and open up that menu. You can then pick “Pitch Bend Range”, and lock that aspect. Now if you have it set on 24 semi notes on pitch bend up, even if you change presets in any category…that “pitch bend range” will still be locked. Which means you can try out different presets for the riser until you are happy.
Please share any tips you have regarding sound designing riser effects yourself!
Mikael “Mike” Baggström
Founder of professionalcomposers.com