Although the first thing you're likely to reach for when producing a riser effect is a synthesiser, impressive variations on the concept can be conjured up by working 'live' instrumentation in alongside electronic.
In this walkthrough, we'll layer up a huge cinematic riser using a variety of foundation sounds.
To discover more transitional techniques, check out the September edition of Future Music (FM308).
Step 1: We're starting with the bones of a trailer style arrangement, with strings doubled by synths, alongside toms and taikos. The synths and strings are grouped so that they can be treated to reverb effects collectively. Towards the end of this track, we're going to build our own riser.
Step 2: The first riser layer is a screaming synth note from Massive. The pitchbend range is two octaves in both directions. We draw a D note for eight bars. The pitchbend starts at the bottom and rises to the top - a 4-octave change.
Step 3: It's always fun to use live instruments in risers, even if you can't play them proficiently. Here, we've recorded four violin parts, scrubbing the bow across the string while dragging the pitch slowly upwards. Each file features a staggered start, so that the overall perceived pitch is deliberately obscured.
Step 4: We add reverb and delay to the strings but we want higher pitches, too. We use SoundToys Crystallizer to create pitched overtones of the original string parts, but any Pitch Shifting plugin will let you create something similar.
Strings Upper Pitches
Step 5: We mimic the violin process by recording acoustic guitar, scrubbing across the strings with climbing pitch. We record two passes and pan them hard left and right. To both sounds we add granular delay, separate delay with climbing pitch taps, plus reverb.
Step 6: We add a sine wave-heavy sub bass with an inverted pitchbend curve that drops in pitch as everything else rises. Finally, we import a white noise sweep.