Vorpal Sounds 7

Hi. Last week I’ve barely touched the greatness that’s quite uninspiringly called “spec-magnify” so this week I’d like to revisit this awesome function.

“Spec-magnify” uses some clever spectral tricks (just guessing) to sustain any kind of sound for as long as you want. It seems to evolve slightly over time so the results can be very convincing. A great thing to have in your arsenal as there’s so much you can do with these kind of sounds when you add some volume, filter and pitch movement. And we’ll just do that in a most basic way for this tutorial.

The sample we’ll be processing is a little field recording from my Zoom H4n again. It’s just a basic rustling sound coming from pebbles or something. It’s short but duration is irrelevant for this process.

Here are my settings for “spec-magnify”. It’s pretty straightforward. With the “time” parameter you set the timing in the sample that which sustain is sourced from and “dur” is simply the length of the output file. “Points” setting is crucial here to get the kind of texture you want. Low values generally sound more artificial (which can also be very good) and high values more natural. Experimentation is key here.

And here’s the result. Not much in itself but it’s a very versatile sound as you can hear.

I actually wanted to do a polyrhythmic sound out of this one by combining a few LFO’s running on different rates but that didn’t work out for that moment. (I’ll have to get back on that later.) So I manually draw an automation envelope for a basic lowpass filter.

Getting an envelope like that to work could usually be a tedious task but I find that using the envelope offset command “0Exx” can sometimes help. What I usually do here is to set up a basic envelope that sort of works, and then using the 0Exx command to chop up and retrigger the envelope as necessary. That way you can use the good bits of your automation and hide the shit parts. I did a little bit of that here too.

There isn’t much else but I also inserted a quite short delay effect in Renoise to add some metallic character to the sound. There’s also a bit of an extra delay for spatial effect and some slight compression to tame the dynamics.

And that’s it. While I wouldn’t probably use that sample as it is, it could be a fun sound to chop up and resequence as necessary.

That’s all for this week. As always all sounds are free to download, comments, questions & feedback welcome.

See you around.