Riser & Stinger Sound Design 101

Nick's Tutorials - Designing Risers & Stingers 101

Today I want to whet your appetite for making custom riser and stinger effects. This post is actually inspired by a reply I made to someone on the KVR forum, but I thought you guys could get something out of this as well.

Stingers are the sound design equivalents of the “secret sauce” which can accentuate different parts of your music, especially the transitions between the various sections such as breakdowns, mix-ins and -outs, etc. If you want an example of a riser, listen to this track starting at around 15 seconds in:

To my ears, that riser sounds like a noise oscillator running through a bandpass filter and some reverb with all the low frequencies cut out. Alternatively, you could find a sample of air escaping a pressure valve and do the same kind of filtering on it. Keep the reverb closer to the wet side of the signal so that very little of the dry sound is coming through and you should get pretty close to that sound.

Another idea for making these sounds is to find some kind of impact sample (maybe a trash can lid or something similar) with a liberal amount of reverb as I talked about above along with lots of heavy filtering. Try both notch and bandpass filtering with variable cutoff frequencies to dial in interesting variants of this sound.

Risers and stingers are very often a combination of these elements:

  1. increasing pitch over time
  2. varying cutoff frequency on filters over time
  3. reverb and/or delay

Take that basic template of effects, put it over an impact sound that you think is cool (record your own for maximum fun) and go to town.

I’ve had countless requests to do a whole series on these sorts of effects, so I can guarantee this will be one of the two upcoming premium tutorial series that I have in the works along with an upcoming drum design series. If you have any stinger or riser-related questions, leave it in the comments!
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