Adding Tube Warmth in Logic Pro

It would be great if Logic Pro came bundled with a Tube Warmth effect plug-in... Well, it does. Darren Burgos demonstrates how subtle use of Logic's Clip Distortion effect can add warmth to any track.  

There are no Tube Warmth titled effects in Logic Pro specifically. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any… the built in Clip Distortion plug-in and the Overdrive can be used in a subtle way to add warmth and depth to your tracks. In this lesson, I’ll be adding a “tube” warmth sound to a bass, but any instrument or vocal can benefit from this. Since there is technically no volume ceiling in the digital world, it’s safe to say that any distortion type effect is actually a model of something from the physical world. Distortion happens when tubes and transistors are driven to their capacity; needless to say, those don’t exist inside software!


Step 1

Start with the Clip Distortion (we’ll use its default preset). Go straight for the LP Filter and push it all the way up to 20,000Hz. The Low Pass Filter is a “blanket” Filter affecting the dry and effected signal. By pushing it all the way up, your original sound will stay intact.

LP filter to 20,000Hz


Step 2

The Tone slider is actually a high pass filter (The Lows are cut off as you push the slider up). To add a subtle analog feel to bass, you’ll want to keep this slider mostly down. Higher values (although cool sounding, too) will focus the distortion on the highs.

Tone slider at low setting


Step 3

Now push the Mix setting all the up to 100%. This will allow you to hear purely what the Clip Distortion is doing to the sound. Bring the Mix slider WAY down to mix in the original sound. I have mine normally set very low. I’m just looking to add a slight fuzziness under the lows.

Mix slider down


Step 4

Clip Distortion is considered a “Nonlinear Distortion” (as are actual Tubes). The Drive and the Symmetry settings are strictly to taste. The Drive setting allows you to raise the volume of the incoming signal to drive the virtual tube/circuitry. The Symmetry slider selects how “twisted” the sound becomes passing through the circuitry. (This is shown graphically in the Clip Circuit display).

Symmetry slider


Step 5

The Clip Filter is a low pass filter so you can strip off some of the Grunge that’s created. This is also “to taste”; I have mine set to 1600Hz.

Adjust clip filter


Step 6

The “High Shelving” section has both Frequency and Gain knobs. It’s basically exactly like it sounds. Think of it as an EQ like Logic’s built in Channel EQ: you can create a flat surface that can be raised or lowered in both the lows and the highs. This is only the highs. The only reason I would use it—if adding tube warmth to a bass—would be if the bass needed a bit of shimmer. Even very deep sounds will have higher frequencies/harmonics in them that might need to be brought out some way.

Here’s a sample of my original bass without the Clip Distortion:


Here’s a sample of of my bass part running through the Clip Distortion:



Step 7

Next, let’s put on the Overdrive effect underneath the Clip Distortion. I bet you're thinking at this point, “OK, he’s gonna distort the heck out of this thing.” If it sounded like the name of the plug-in, you’d definitely expect just that. Choose “Creamy Tube” from the preset menu and adjust the Output.This is a great preset and really brings out the sound.

Creamy Tube


Here’s a sample of of my bass part running through the Clip Distortion and the Overdrive with the Creamy Tube preset: 



The Overdrive actually put some highs in there?! The bass sound went from hiding out in the background, to being much more confident and warmer. Enjoy!


Darren started making music on computers when he was a teenager in 1987. His first computer was an Amiga, and when he realized the power of computer-based production, his addiction for making electronic music began. Darren switched to Mac in 1994 and started using Logic Pro. He's been involved in many music projects over the years incl... Read More

Discussion

Gary Hiebner
Great explanation on the Clip Distortion for Tube Warmth. I have rarely used this plugin. Now its time to use it for some warmth in my mixes. Thanks!
DarrenB
Cool! Yeah, I love Clip Distortion when used sparingly :) ! Try it mixed down even lighter than in my example (9 or 10%). I set the mix a bit higher so it could be clearly heard in the examples.
lostinthesound
Great article! Overdrive is an essential tool in my arsenal. Admittedly, I never though of combining both the overdrive and clip distortion...I really like the results in your audio example.

Time for some experimenting.

Cheers.

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