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How can I randomize the automation of a 10s audio loop over the course of 30 minutes?

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Hey all,


I'm creating some ambiences, and I need them to be 30 minutes long. To do this I'm layering lots of recordings, looping them, and offsetting them. To add realism I'd really like to add some automation to each track, but this automation would need to occur very frequently. So taking the time to put in individual volume edits would take hours.


The big issue here is that I don't think I can use Region Automation because it's a 10 second loop. I want the automation to be randomized over the course of 30 minutes, and I think Region Automation would only allow me to randomize something over the course of those 10 seconds and loop that.


Of course I could theoretically bounce out each track, but when I have 30+ tracks and it's a 30 minute long audio file, that would also take hours. I really need a way to do this rapidly because I plan on creating ambiences every day for the foreseeable future.


Anyone know of a potential solution?


Thanks a bunch!

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Route each audio track to an instrument track and let MIDI plugins handle the randomization of volume automation on the instrument track, which it can happily do forever:


  1. Create an instrument track, insert ES1 (any plugin will do, doesn't matter, won't be used, just pick something light on CPU)
  2. Insert a compressor as first plugin, turn off all compressing
  3. Sidechain from your audio source, and turn on LISTEN (effectively turning this instrument track into the audio track)
  4. Remember to turn off original audio track output (set output to None), now its being played through the instrument
  5. Insert a Modulator as first MIDI plugin, random LFO + smooth it so it doesn't jump, assigned to Mod Wheel
  6. Insert a Modifier as second MIDI plugin, route Mod Wheel to plugin-paramater Volume
  7. Thats it, adjust speed/amount/smooth as desired


Now just repeat for each of your original tracks. This way you now have endless, indidivudal randomized volume automation. And you could of course hook up the Modulator to any further processing on the instrument track (EQ, filters, sends etc) so for sound design purposes you can do pretty much absolutely everything. Or I mean, the Modulator will do it FOR you ;)


You can batch-setup this a bit optimized if you have quite a lot of tracks as audio source material (I'd do all steps 1-6 for ONE instrument track first, and after all is set up and ready, then duplicate it as many times as i have audio sources, so the only step you have to do multiple times is connecting the right side chain, everything else is a one-time operation)

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Wow I didn't even know about MIDI Plugins until just now. This is a brilliant solution! I still need to set everything up, but I'm almost certain that this is exactly what I need. I will probably wind up saving this as a Channel Strip setting so I can recall it in future projects as well.


Thanks so much! This will undoubtedly save me hours of effort!

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Oh wait, having one issue:

6. Insert a Modifier as second MIDI plugin, route Mod Wheel to plugin-paramater Volume


I don't see Volume as an option other than through MIDI (and selecting that doesn't seem to work). Did I do something wrong or is there something specific I'm supposed to assign it to via the Learn Plug-In Parameter choice? The gain in the compressor also doesn't work because we've essentially bypassed it, right?

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Oh I bet this issue has something to do with the 127 possible midi values and the far greater than 127 possible gain values. So maybe it's dividing all of the possible gain values into 127 and then jumping between those values. So I will need to find a way to constrain the possible gain values or something.


But the fact that the Modifier Midi Plug-In doesn't seem to be doing anything (Why not just set the LFO of the Modulator Plug-In to the gain knob?) makes me wonder if I'm not doing what kiotozane intended.

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Hmm.. I thought it would still use the same values either way since it's a MIDI Plug-In? But I guess not because that solved the issue. Thanks a ton! I honestly might have given up if your gif hadn't proved that it was possible, lol. Still though, the way Offset and Output Level works is really unintuitive for this application. I wish it could be a minimum and maximum value instead of percentages. Oh well..


There isn't a way I can tell it to start playback at full volume is there?

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Thanks Eric for optimizing and clarifying!


I see two options for "starting at full volume":


Quickest: I would just bounce all tracks with their totally random automation, reimport them and just manually drag the audio into good starting positions.


Elegantest: Automate the LFO plugin itelf: For the start of the project, set it at Output Level 0 and Offset 100% (or whatever Offset puts you in a comfortable position, for the Gain it would be 80% for 0 db). That way it starts at no automation in max value. Then automate Output Level and Offset to reach your preferred values at your preferred amount of time (for the gain 15% and 60% gives a pleasurable -24db range). That way you ease into the random automation.


You'd probably have to curve or shape the automation a bit cleverly to avoid any freak early sudden high values.

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  • 5 years later...

Wanted to revive this thread to say, this is awesome! Such a useful technique. I used this to add a little bit of the Crystallizer plugin, and set the LFO to modulate it's output, so it just comes in every once in a while.

I had an issue following the original instructions, however. I can't find the "Listen" setting on Logic's built in compressor. Did this get updated since the original post? I was able to make it work using Fab Filter's Pro C, but would like to be able to do it with the built in one...

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