Smart Tricks in the Programs


100 ways to change a sound
DSP02 provides many opportunities to create or change sounds. For listeners it often feels good to hear a relationship between sounds, and often, the work of the composer is to change, create variety and new sounds from the sound material she has. One can certainly build a whole piece on one sound.

Different sounds work best for different tricks. First, you need to think about the sound you have - does it start suddenly or slowly, does it contain clear tones, or is it more undefined and noisy? Is it "lumpy", or more continuous as a hot dog, rhythmical or not? Here are some hints that work for different sounds:

Echo - make cascades of sound
This program has more options than ordinary echo. You can change the speed of the echo during the sound just lik eon old tape-echo machinnes. If you think of an echo in front of a cliff it will be as if you, after having shouted "hello", can make the cliff move closer or further away - and in addition, the pitch of the echo goes up and down. Try to move the curve for feedback high up in the window - you will get lots of repetitions that will work well with your short, strong sound. Try to let the speed of the echo go up and down, and you will get melodic repetitions. But don't stop there! Save the sound, and choose echo one more time, and again, and again - and you migt end up with cascades of echoes from a single sound.

How about making a slick, continuous sound into a choppy, stuttering thing? The granulation window contains lots of possibilities. In short, it plays a little piece of the sound (a so-called "grain"), jumps backwards a little bit, plays another piece, jumps a little bit backwards again, and so on. In the end it has played the whole sound. You can control how large pieces of the sound it plays for each step, how long it should jump backwards for each step, the pitch and if time and pitch shall be influenced by randomness.

Straight grain-curve gives rhythmical patterns.
If you first drag the curve for random time all the way down, and then set the curve for grain length flat and straight, you will get rhythmical variation tha sound a little bit "techno". Try to have the grain-curve almost at the bottom of the window. That can be a good place to fish for cool rhythms. These rhythms you can process later, and even loop in the edit-window.

Make a second voice that you control freely with a curve. When you have made a two-voiced sound, you can repeat the process and mae a four-voiced, eight-voiced, sixteen-voiced and so on. If you set the balance to 100%, you will only hear the new voice and not the original. This method for changing the pitch does not influence the duration or rhythm in the sound.

Changing pitch
If you have a sound that is a little off key, meaning a little bit over or under where it should be, you can open the sound in the spectrumshift-program, and move it up or down in the register by moving the red line.

Noise reduction
If you have a sound that is a bit noisy, you can use spectral sieve to clean it up. Make a copy of your sound first.

Open the sound in the program, and experiment wih how much of the sound you want to keep. This is a little bit scary, because you can also lose parts of the sound that you want to keep. You need to listen to the result and do things over and over again until you have found the best compromise.

Scary, ominous sound – backwards reverb
An efficient trick is to put a backwards reverb on your sound. This is how: First you make a copy of the sound you are working with (in case something goes wrong). Doubleclick on the sound you're working with, and choose meny "Sound" or "Edit" to get the editing window up. Select the entire sound with your mouse, and then click on the reverse-butten on the top left. Save and exit the editor.

Select the sound in the mixer window, and choose meny "Effects/Reverb". Find a reverb type that you like. And listen by hitting the play-button. It is smart to make the duration of the sound a little longer than the sound itself, so that the reverb has time to die out. Click save when you are happy with the sound.

After that, doubleclick on the sound that you just turned backwards, select the whole sound again in the editor, and push the reverse-button one more time. Voila, you have now made a bacwards, scary reverb that tells the listener that something is about to happen.

Spectrum shift
Here , the harmonics of the sound are changed. Use this program carefully – if the curve comes too far down, you won't hear anything – the sound gets so deep that it "disappears". If you move the curve too far up, the sound becomes twittering. But if you make a curve that goes up and down a little in the middle of the window, you should still be able to recognize the sound, although it has been radically changed. Zig-zag-lines here will make strong "wish-wosh"-sounds that won't be very similar to the original sound.

Stereo from a mono sound?
Make an extra copy of the sound so that you have two identical sounds. Then place them next to each other in the mixer so they start almost at the same time, but on two separate tracks.

Then, click on "Pan" at the bottom of the window, so that you see the curves that place the sounds to the left or right in the mix. On one of the sounds, place the curve all the way to the top, on the other, all the way at the bottom of the track. The sounds will come from separate speakers, with a little time difference.

Make sure that the sounds do not start exactly at the same time, but close. Listen to the result.

Strong puls that dies out quickly
If you have a sound of a bang, thud, drum or a string – something that starts suddenly - you can try the following:

COMP – this is an automatic tool for composition that makes your computer play the sound over and over again with different pitch, based on mathematical randomness. Using the curves on the screen, you can control how fast this should happen, how big the intervals should be between the sounds, how bright or dark the sound should be, and how much randomness there should be. The machine will jump back to the start of the original sound and start it over every time it plays it, so if the tempo is high and the intervals large, the machine will only repeat the first milliseconds of the sound. A sound that starts with a short pause won't work well either– the machine will repeat the litte pause over and over.

How do you use the COMP-window?

Fishing for fun - put the curves completely at random, and see what you get. If the result contains something that you like, save the soundfile, and edit out what you don't like. Try and continue to make more sounds with roughly the same curves.

Straight rhythms - When one sets the tempo-curve completely flat as a straight line across the window, the speed of the repetitions will be even. This will make the variations sound somewhat like rhythmic music. If an exciting melodic phrase pops up, of course you should save it, open the sound in the editing window, and cut and paste so that the most interesting portion of the sound "loops" a few times.

Steps in a stair - Try to set the tempo-curve to several flat sections as in a stair, or going up and down between the same steps. This can give interesting rhythmic figures. As before, when you get something good – save and edit, maybe loop.

What about making a long sound even longer? The sound does not change pitch. If you stretch it very much you will hear that it becomes grainy og wiggly in character – and that might be a fun effect in itself.