Tag Archives: convolution

VS 23: Combining Two Approaches

Hello everyone. Today, I’ll try to demonstrate how combining two simple approaches can easily create a more refined or sophisticated output. This is something I’ve noticed over time: Trying too hard inside a certain workflow can be counter-productive after some point and sometimes it’s much easier and effective to mix things up a little. The two elements I’m talking about here are the standard sampler options in Renoise and a couple simple CDP processes. So, let’s get started.

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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!