VS 8: Pre-Enveloping

Hello. Pre-enveloping. Silly term right? You’ll hopefully see (and hear) what I’m talking about soon. I didn’t have a specific goal in mind this week but as I was messing around, I got lucky and came up with a concept. And a sound of course.

And here’s how it started. A random sample taken from a field recording I’ve made a while ago. It’s a short metallic hit. No big deals here.

So, one thing I sometimes forget how important is the volume envelope of a sound. Sure you can always slap an envelope on things once you are done but what can be really interesting is when you shape the envelope before starting a processing chain. That causes the volume envelope to influence the consecutive effects and perhaps more importantly, your decisions. Therefore it can be helpful for taking your sounds to new and unexpected places. I really should remind myself to try it more often.

Anyways, Renoise has fades you can use but in this case I’m going with CDP’s cool envelope shaping process “envel-dovetail”. Dovetail is just a fade in/fade out thing where you set the timing and the exponential-ity of the volume envelope. CDP has a lot more to offer in terms of shaping envelopes but for this sample killing the attack a bit will do. And here’s what happens:

As I said it doesn’t sound like a big deal at the moment but the end result will be quite different because of this envelope.

Next up I’m using one of my all time favourite processes: “stretch-spectrum”. This is a spectrum stretching algorithm that I’m not really sure how it works but it sounds amazing on so many different things in so many different ways that it’s not even funny. I love it.

It has two modes where in one you stretch the upper part of the spectrum and the other you stretch the lower. “Frq_divide” is the frequency cutoff point where the stretch begins. “Exponent” also seems to be important as setting it too high (2-3+) seems to nullify the effect. I often use the “above” process to add some high frequency details and the “below” process to inharmonize sounds. Your mileage may vary, of course. Here I’m using the above stretch. “Depth” parameter is generally quite subtle but I enabled & maxed it just in case.

A sweet sound that can be pulled to many different directions but I went for the usual huge pitching down thing. 52 semitones to be precise.

After this point I did 3 things. First I came up with a random chord using the computer keyboard. Secondly I ping-pong looped the beginning part of the sample. Forgot to make an image but I guess it was the first 5-10 percent of the sound. And lastly I added a simple reverb using the freebie Mverb.

The random movement happens because of the different loop lengths caused by the different keys in the chord. Thought it was pretty cool. And as you can hear if I hadn’t faded in the attack before I’ve started mangling the sound it would end up in a very different spot. So that was this week’s idea. Pre-enveloping.

All right, that’s all for this tutorial, hope it’s been helpful. As always all sounds are free to download, comments & feedback most welcome.

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