Sound Design

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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101 Force
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Sound Design

Post by 101 Force » Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:31 am

People often ask how Aphex Twin or Boards of Canada achieved certain sounds, or how acts like Squarepusher can quickly and efficiently compose complex drum and bass. The idea here is not to ask questions such as these, but rather to share interesting sound design techniques within this thread in the interest of simply sharing information. Hopefully we'll learn new techniques from one another for which we had never even thought to ask questions about in the first place.

I'll get started with a technique regarding vocoders. You can create interesting stereo images by creating two (or more) mono recordings of the same sound being processed with a vocoder, but with each recording utilizing different bands. For example, record a piano key with bands 1, 2 and 3 at 50% and band 4 at 25%. Then record the same piano key again with band 4 at 25%, and bands 5, 6 and 7 at 50%. Hard pan the second recording to the left, and set the original recording to dead-center, and you've got yourself a pretty interesting spread of the audio signal, with an audio impression of having originated from 50% left in the stereo field. Of course, the figures I provided for the individual bands are just an example, and you'll want to play around with the levels to get a sound that works for you. It can be equally interesting to apply delays to some bands but not to others. This whole multitracking process, while immensely satisfying, can be discarded if a vocoder with separate outputs for each band and a mixer is used to the same effect -- but not too many vocoders offer that function!
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Re: Sound Design

Post by Shreddie » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:43 pm

There's some interesting sound design stuff in this thread.

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Re: Sound Design

Post by THEODICY » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:18 pm

I'm going to try that vocoder trick! Thanks for the tip. Might make for some interesting drum breaks.

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101 Force
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Re: Sound Design

Post by 101 Force » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:32 am

@ Shreddie : Thanks for the link regarding sampling techniques.

There's a guide here regarding techniques for creating sound effects. While a lot of the techniques have very little musical use, if any at all, there are a few techniques that could be adapted for musical purposes with interesting results.
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Re: Sound Design

Post by tekkentool » Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:54 am

100% the best thing i can recommend getting on top of using buses and send/returns to get the most out of mastering. I'll often send distorted bass sounds out to 3-5 different bands which are all effected/mastered differently. This can make seriously huge distorted sounds that aren't muddy in the low ranges.

The other Thing i do is i have a drum mastering hierachy, I layer two (or more) kicks on top of each other. (low, high). And send that out to a Kick drum bus which is compressed and lightly Eq'd. I send all the hats out to a hat bus which is lightly bitcrushed and i send the snare/clap bus out to a specific bus. (Slight(note) delay on the snare or clap makes a bigger sound). These are all sent to one master drum Bus which is ran through a pretty strong compressor (almost a limiter) to Squash it a bit. It takes a lot of bussing but i quite like the results. Ghost notes are more important than you think too.

Also layering, making a sound out of two different sounds can get a very cool sound, (like wolfgang gartners illmerica bass )

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