Vorpal Sounds 3

Hi. I’ve been a little busy with some construction work in the studio lately but being almost done with it, I figured I could make a new post.

I have been abusing “fastconv” in the last 2 posts so I wanted to change things up using “vocode” under the category “formants” this time. Now I’m not very well acquainted with the technical details of the CDP process as usual but vocoding is traditionally used for talking synth-like effects (Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, etc.) Nowadays they seem to make a comeback to process and mangle all sorts of different sounds and get unexpected timbres.

So I was hoping to go for that kind of effect. My 1st sound was a random field recording I’ve done with my Zoom H4n. I don’t exactly remember what the object was but it’s basically a random metallic hit. I believe I’ve transposed it down 6 semitones beforehand.

For the 2nd one I wanted something rich so I’ve used a sample cut from a rather well-known TV series.

Normally there’s a difference between which signal modulates the other but I’m not sure if that’s the case in CDP. In any case, this was my settings for the vocoding process. I can now hear the result not actually being in the direction I originally planned but I haven’t noticed it while I was tweaking so I kept going and it eventually worked out. As it is, it sounds like a roughening effect with a bit of added harmonics.

Next up, I wanted to introduce more atonality using “strange-shift2” but CDP acted a bit unpredictable and ended up blurring the sound in a quite natural way. My settings for the “shift2” process splits the frequency spectrum around 6 khz and linearly transposes the upper part down 900-ish hz. Here is how that looks. Both “points” and “overlap” settings activated and adjusted by listening and in this scenario they help preserve the natural quality of the sound. The output of this process turned out like this:

At this point the sound was quite reminiscent of a crash cymbal or something so I decided to try to make it more unnatural using “hilite – trace”. As I understand it ,”hilite – trace” is a spectral filtering effect that works by isolating certain number of partials which results in a smoother result. You can read more about it in the manual. Mine is setup like this, again finetuned with “points” and “overlap” parameters.

At this point the sample was screaming to be pitched down so I went ahead and transposed it down 20 semitones and did some coloring with an EQ. A great thing about working with natural samples is that they are quite full spectrum-wise and that means you can transpose and EQ them in very diffferent ways. Synthetic samples don’t necessarily go down well for that in my experience.

I forgot to make an image for it but at this point the sound lacked direction a little so I added 2 randomly pitched chorused sine waves to inject some extra harmonics and set 2 different volume envelopes for them. They are quite subtle and just fade in and out in accordance to the dynamics of the original sample.

For added ambience I’ve used the Renoise delay and the great freeware Mverb. Here’s my final effect chain. And the final sound:

It didn’t really turn out to be as I planned (again :-D) but it does the job for me for this tutorial and it can still take quite a bit of tweaking, so yeah. I hope you find it useful.

As always, all samples are free to download. Any comments, questions or ideas appreciated. See you around.