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Cubase: Creating Risers & Impacts

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques By John Walden
Published February 2021

Whether you draw on sounds from Cubase’s virtual instruments or record your own, almost anything can provide the raw material from which you build your riser and impact sound effects.Whether you draw on sounds from Cubase’s virtual instruments or record your own, almost anything can provide the raw material from which you build your riser and impact sound effects.

Cubase offers everything that you need to design engaging effects risers and impacts.

Whether they take the form of snare‑roll risers and synth pitch drops in EDM, tension‑buliding or jolting sounds in horror films, or something else entirely, risers and impacts are now essential sound‑design ingredients in many musical contexts. The key to making them work is to use fresh and interesting sounds — so, although there are plenty of excellent off‑the‑shelf riser and impact sample libraries, designing new sounds yourself is a great option. It can also be a lot of fun!

Cubase Pro, Artist and Elements all have plenty of tools for this task, so let’s explore some possibilities with a worked example: a cinematic‑style riser and impact. You’ll find illustrative audio clips on the SOS website at: https://sosm.ag/feb2021-cubase-risers-impacts

A Simple Start

Cubase’s tools make it possible to establish some very sophisticated workflows, but creating ear‑catching risers or impacts needn’t be complex; simply layering and then processing multiple sound sources will often suffice. I suggest you start by selecting a handful of raw sounds which, when played together, occupy a broad frequency spectrum. For example, for an impact, I might start with a large drum sample with lots of low end, perhaps a synth or guitar sample with plenty of mids, and a cymbal or percussion sound with more high‑end.

Longer raw samples give you flexibility, especially if you want to create an extended riser that spans several bars. So unless you’re aiming for a very short...

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Published February 2021