Pitch Shifting

Vaporwave employs heavy use of different unconventional sources – both digital and analog. Always use a broad variety of techniques and sources to pitch your audio down. Running your source material into cassette players, DAW-stretching features and to hardware samplers will yield different results. Try running different sources through different mediums. For example, processing a drum loop through a VHS player and a bass loop through a cassette player can give each element a unique characteristic.

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Drum Design

For extra gritty/dirty drums run them through guitar pedals, guitar amp simulation plugins or a combination of the two. At first, you might not achieve the right sound with just this technique. Adjust your levels to avoid harshness or clipping levels and record the output into your DAW. Use surgical EQing to create space for the rest of the elements in your track. Experimentation is key!

Vaporwave In The Box

One way to create Vaporware-sounding tracks instantly is by experimenting with several different lofi ready plugins such as Izotope Trash or Vinyl. By applying subtle – or sometimes heavy processing over your tracks –one can achieve certain lo-fi features characteristics fairly quickly with a few clicks of the mouse. Another great sounding plugin for Vaporwave is the Universal Audio Ampex ATR-102 tape machine. Set the wow and flutter settings to about 75% for best results.

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Vinyl Distortion Noise

A simple way to add more character to your tracks when creating Vaporwave is by adding subtle amounts of distortion or overdrive to your tracks. D16’s Devastor has a myriad of ready-to-go presets that can take a dull, lifeless track and make it vintage and exciting. We suggest simply scrolling through their presets, adjusting the wet and dry mix and playing around with its many filter settings for different styles of grit.

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Downtempoing

Vaporwave music sources are not limited to a certain sound or genre. Therefore, using your own productions and slowing them down from say 120bpms to 70bpms (and down-pitching) an entire track will create an instant ready-to-work-with Vaporwave project. In a DAW such as Ableton Live, drop in your track and set the BPM to match the current tempo of your track. If your track is say at 110bpms, set the Ableton project BPM to 60.