What is Sound Envelope? ADSR Explained – With Example

What is Sound Envelope?

Sound envelope represents the amplitude of a sound wave over time, it can be divided into 4 different sections, Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release.


The time of a wave going from zero to its maximum amplitude.

Drum, percussion and picking guitar and bass will have shorter attack time. Other sounds generated by bow, like violin and cello will have longer attack time.


The time of a wave drop from its maximum amplitude to sustain level.


The level of a wave when its amplitude is stabilized.

The “sustained sound” is the sound with longer sustain.


The time of a wave drops from sustain level to zero.

Change The Envelope of a Sound

We can shape the envelope of a sound to make the sound more pleasant.

In this example, I’m going to fix the ringing sound of a snare recording, and also give it more attack using “Enveloper” in Logic Pro.

First, let’s hear the raw snare solo.


Now adding more attack gain, pulling release gain down, and also change the release time a bit. Let’s hear what it sounds like.

The ringing sound is gone, and the snare sounds tighter.


How’s the snare sounds like in the drum mix? Here’s the mix with enveloper bypassed.


And here’s the mix with the exact same enveloper setting. Note, there are no other effects, like EQ or compressor, only enveloper, and I only added it on the snare track.


You can see how powerful is changing the envelope of a sound. There’re other plugins similar to enveloper. Like I found it’s useful for fixing the snare, you can come up with your own use as long as you truly understand what is sound envelope.





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