How to Automate Randomness in Your Audio to Create Rich and Interesting Textures

As music producers, our goal is to create music powerful and interesting enough to take the listener on a journey and keep them coming back for more. This means that it’s not only the overall picture of a track that’s important but also the attention we put into every little tweak and detail we make in the sound, even if they’re not immediately noticeable to the untrained ear.

Creating tiny imperfections and movement in an instrument’s sound through various methods— adding small pitch fluctuations, filters, or using volume automation—is an effective way to reach this high level of detail and quality that can transform a good track into a great one.

In this tutorial, we’ll focus on how to play with randomness to add rich and interesting textures to your audio. Specifically, we’ll talk about creating planned randomness using the automation feature of the LoFi Pitch Dropout plugin.

Creating controlled subtle imperfections using LoFi Pitch Dropout

One of the main reasons why many musicians and producers love using old analog devices is because they always sound slightly different. A synth might detune over time, an old tape player might have some unstable warble to it, and so on.

While this pure analog randomness is great, it can also be challenging to use in a production setting. By default, analog randomness will sound, well, random at any given time making it very difficult to control and reproduce.

The LoFi Pitch Dropout plugin has a feature that allows you to create and control these random artifacts as a planned effect in your track.

For example, have a listen to this dry mellotron loop:

Mellotron DRY

While the mellotron has a beautiful sound, listening to this loop over and over could easily become boring to the listener. An interesting way to change that and spice it up is by adding small pitch imperfections that vary at each loop iteration.

To achieve this, start by loading up an instance of LoFi Pitch Dropout into your project. If you leave the plugin on its default settings, the dropouts will happen randomly. What we want to do is add them at planned musical intervals instead of them triggering completely at random. To change this setting, set the Chance slider to 0%.

The Chance slider defines how high the probability is of a random event happening. Setting it at 0% means there’s no chance at all an event will be triggered. Now, we can automate the Dropout trigger, located on the left next to the Chance slider.

Toggling the automation view in your DAW allows you to draw trigger points where you’d like a dropout to happen.

In this case, we chose to add a dropout at the start of every bar creating a nice pitch imperfection with every new note onset of the mellotron. The great thing about this technique is that the LoFi Pitch Dropout plugin is modeled after an analog device. This means the dropout will sound slightly different each time it’s triggered.

Pushing this concept further

Mellotron LoFi

Have a listen to how this mellotron loop sounds now.

You can also use this technique for bigger effects and more noticeable dropouts while combining it with an additional instance of Pitch Dropout that adds very subtle flutter and randomness. That’s a great combination to add some ear candy in tracks of any genre!

Not familiar with LoFi Pitch Dropout yet? Take it for a spin by using it for free for 14 days.