Monthly Archives: January 2015

Vorpal Sounds 2

You probably haven’t noticed but I’ve decided to give a common name to the tutorial kind of posts, so that I avoid titles like “Yet another sound design walkthrough using CDP vol 15” as that not only looks bad but is also unnecessarily hard to come up with. This one is just simpler. And more catchy. Obviously. I’ll probably change it dozen more times.

Edit: I’ve indeed decided to change it again and simply go for Vorpal Sounds. Read about it here.

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten it out of the way, here’s the sound we’re working on today, another snippet taken from an old record:

The first process we’ll take a look at is “shift1” under the “strange” category. It was my first favorite CDP effect and I still use it pretty often. It’s obviously some sort of frequency shifting but it’s apparently linear and you can usually get strange inharmonic sounds out of it. It also has more advanced modes (shift2, 3, etc.) that you can pick specific frequency ranges and tune them up/down individually. It’s a lot of fun.

For simplicity though, what I did here was just shifting the whole sound up 200 cycles. Here are my settings. Please note the overlap parameter is activated and set to 1.120. I’ll embarass myself a little by saying I’m not entirely sure what the “points” and “overlap” settings do but they appear on a lot of processes (think spectral ones?) and can influence the end results quite a bit. I’ve set it up here randomly just by listening so not much to comment here but I’ll probably talk about them more at some point.

Right, so the shifting effect sounds like this:

Even keeping it basic (and maybe adding some FX), this could work nicely as an abstract loop in an experimental setting but I wanted to take it a bit further. So I convolved it with the original sample using fastconv. More about fastconv on my previous post. And here’s how it’s set up in Renoise. I also maximized both samples before using fastconv.

Until this point I wanted to make an abstract loop but this sounded pretty cool when I transposed it down 11 semitones so I changed my mind and go for a drone/soundscape kind of feel:

So I added some effects in Renoise. No big deals, just a reverb and delay and also an EQ notch to prevent a peaking frequency to overpower the sound. The final result:

Not too bad. A little chaotic but it could work as a drone and I like the incidental sounding metallic clangs and shimmering sounds. And you can keep going using slicing, reversing, transposing, effects, cdp etc. So as you can see, it’s possible to go to a million different places and get more interesting sounds and indeed, I find that usually to be the hardest part in sound design: Pick the best possibilities between almost endless variations. But eventually, depending on your mood and the context, you have to make some decisions, so that you actually get things done.

And that concludes the 2nd tutorial. All sounds are downloadable and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading/listening. Would love to hear some comments and feedback if you have something on your mind. See you around.

Vorpal Sounds: Sound design tutorial using CDP

Part 1 of this post is here. And my introduction to CDP.

Ok, let’s jump right into it. First of all we need 2 sounds. The tricky part about this process is trying out different sound combinations and seeing what works. The most important variable seems to be the pitch of the samples as transposing them up & down influences the end result quite a bit. I’m gonna use 2 different samples here but a sample can also be convolved with itself and that often gives useful results too. Somewhat like a more mellow version of the sound. Anyhow, the first sample I’m using is just some random snippet from an old record:

Again in a random manner, I’ve decided to transpose it down 6 semitones. I’m using CDP’s “modify speed” process. Please note that in order this to work you have to use CDP or re-render your transposed sample as CDP won’t care if you repitch it “live” inside Renoise.

The result isn’t surprising:

For the second sound, I’ve picked something from my own library. It’s just an ambient sample also done with CDP probably.

I did a couple tries and it sounded a little better in the final process if I transposed this one up 1 semitone. Here is what I did.

And it sounds like it’s… pitched up a semitone:

At this point using fastconv is pretty simple. You just select the samples to combine and click process. A rather important note: I’ve maximized the ambient sample before I started processing, as fastconv sometimes returns silent results on quieter samples. You also need to have both files at the same bit depth. My samples are arranged like this in Renoise, and they are both 44.1k & 16 bit.

And finally CDP window. I haven’t got many useful timbres using the “X” and “-f” parameters generally but anything can happen in the right moment in CDP, so don’t rule them out:

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The resulting sound:

It’s quite organic and abstract, a blend of both sounds in the beginning phase but has a nice unexpected twist near the end. While this surely isn’t the most exciting or advanced sound you can accomplish using CDP, it does the job for this very first tutorial and I’d say it could work in a tune with a little bit of editing/sequencing and maybe a couple of FX. Besides, there’s so much more to try (repitching, reversing, trimming different parts of the samples, adding other processes or effects) before you combine sounds, it’s almost impossible to get something that you wouldn’t like, even keeping it basic.

So that’s all. Being my first attempt, preparing this post took way too much time and effort (mainly Soundcloud driving me insane), and I’m not sure if I’ve presented it in the best way possible so please let me know what you think in comments or by email.

Thank you for reading, bye!

Renoise CDP tool updated (And a tutorial to follow)

Updated a while ago, that is. And it brings more goodies to table. Get the update here:

http://forum.renoise.com/index.php/topic/41882-new-tool-30-cdp-lua-tool/?p=324648

Biggest change is, pretty much all processes are supported now. Even though I haven’t had time to dig into it throughly yet, I definitely had some instant new favorites (fastconv, psow etc.) There is also a new sample management system which makes combining different inputs and trying out variations a bit easier.

Another change is, you can now use Renoise envelopes for breakpoints. Sure, sounds great but I haven’t used it that much yet. I generally should look into using breakpoints more often anyway. CDP is so huge it’s easy to get overloaded even before you start doing basic modulations.

So if you don’t have it yet, get it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this introductory post (Which is also pretty geeky in itself but should give you an overview, hopefully.)

As a bonus, I’m gonna follow up this post with a little bit of a sample mangling walkthrough using the new fastconv tool. Fastconv is basically convolution using CDP. It can sound very interesting when you find the right sounds to combine. I usually use it to get abstract, ambient-ish sounds. You should probably get similar results using convolution plugins but for me there’s something special about working offline in the CDP tool. I’ll try to demonstrate how that works in the 2nd part of the post.

Here’s part 2

My Blumarten remix

So a while ago I’ve entered a Blumarten remix contest run by K-mag. While I haven’t been able to top Conduct‘s fantastic entry, I still managed to get my remix appreciated by Blumarten. Being a super-awesome guy, Chris of BMT even asked for a wav version of the track so that they could play it out later. After a month or two they’ve also included it in a set which went quite viral. It’s a great mix so check it out here:

 

My remix is free to download as well so if you like it, grab it here:

 

CDP (and Renoise)

I’m obsessed with CDP (Composer’s Desktop Project). Check it out here. It’s a quite geeky sound design tool. I’ll admit I don’t really understand much of the technology behind it. There are spectral processes, some granular ones and others that I’m not very familiar with. Some of them are more straightforward like your usual filters etc. But even those have interesting twists. After years of development the owners generously decided to make it free. And trust me, it’s like acquiring a super secret hi tech lab for free. Kudos to the developers.

I suppose I’ve just scratched the surface of it yet but I can’t imagine making any sound design without it any more. There are tons of different processes and sometimes even the smallest parameter tweak will make a huge difference. And when you combine everything with everything… It’s endless.

So if you checked their website out you were probably put off by the 90’s atmosphere… Fear not! The good people at the Renoise forum made it possible for all of us to use this goodness just by a click or two. It could take a while to set up and you will probably need to get your hands dirty doing some troubleshooting but it will be worth every second.

Here’s the key to unlocking a new world of sounds:

http://forum.renoise.com/index.php?/topic/41882-new-tool-30-cdp-lua-tool/

If you don’t have Renoise yet, grab the demo here. Not sure about the demo restrictions but a license is dead cheap anyway. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the tracker layout. It isn’t as bad as it looks. Feel free to ask me or the Renoise forum for help. Just do whatever it takes to get that CDP tool going!

I’ll probably be talking about it a lot in the future and I’ll share some sounds I’ve made with it. So I thought an introductory post could be helpful.

Have a good one.

Hello.

Hello. This is my first post. I am an electronic music producer. I mostly produce drum & bass. I use Renoise mainly but I’m proficient with almost every DAW on the planet.

And I like talking about music production. Since I had to move to a shitty city regarding some real life issues, the only person I can talk about it right now, is my wife. And she isn’t really into it you know. The delicacies of EQ plugins or refining my arrangement workflow just doesn’t resonate with her as much. Don’t get me wrong, she tries to keep up and I’m grateful for that but it usually isn’t cutting it.

So yeah. I simply want to talk about music production every now and then. So I figured I should blog about it.

I pretty much have zero ideas on how I’m gonna be running this. It might be tutorials about any cool tricks I’ve discovered or I could ask for help on overcoming some musical problem or just share a sudden revelation I have. Anything goes I guess.

That’s all for the first post. See you around!