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Xenobioz
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366 posts since 4 Jul, 2006, from Sweden

Postby Xenobioz; Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:13 am Synthesis type for mechanical sounds

I'm developing a generator for machine like sci-fi sounds. I have some ideas for most parts of the generator, but for more mechanic percussive sounds I don't know what to do. So what do you think is most useful for that. I guess FM is quite easy, but maybe there is something better and more realistic. Are there any simple physical models that could be usable.

I don't want to use any sample based synthesis, even if it's not using samples for playback. So no resynthesis or modal synthesis.
Last edited by Xenobioz on Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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whyterabbyt
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25241 posts since 3 Sep, 2001, from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Postby whyterabbyt; Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:36 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

I dont think it needs a specific synthesis type; I use Vaz Modular for this sort of stuff all the time, and I find myself primarily modulating noise or using noise as modulators, then adding semblances of physical resonances with bandpass filtering, flangers or short reverbs etc.

Andy Farnell's book 'Designing Sound' would be worth a read though; its on procedural audio and uses PD, but the principles are applicable to anything modular.

http://aspress.co.uk/sd/
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GaryG
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5542 posts since 13 Jan, 2003, from Kent, UK

Postby GaryG; Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:41 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

I like physical modelled synths for this, something like NIs Prism with it's exciter/modal bank model. Easy to abuse for this kind of sound. :)
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DJ Warmonger
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Postby DJ Warmonger; Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:48 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

FM or additive sythesis. FM has been successfully used for percussive sounds for sure. On the other hand, additive synthesis always sounds somewhat mechanical and unnatural, even on simple pads.
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Xenobioz
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366 posts since 4 Jul, 2006, from Sweden

Postby Xenobioz; Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:47 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

Thanks for the replies. I'll borrow that book from the library next time I get there, it seems very interesting.
kamalmanzukie
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83 posts since 12 May, 2012

Postby kamalmanzukie; Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:28 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

theres a whole truckload of stuff thats great for this sort of thing on xoxos's site.
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Guillaume Piolat
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126 posts since 21 Sep, 2015, from Grenoble

Postby Guillaume Piolat; Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:33 pm Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

Some video games use modal synthesis.
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Xenobioz
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366 posts since 4 Jul, 2006, from Sweden

Postby Xenobioz; Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:36 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

Guillaume Piolat wrote:Some video games use modal synthesis.


Yes modal synthesis is good for percussive sounds and to add variation to sounds like footsteps, it also saves a lot of storage space.
soundmodel
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536 posts since 28 May, 2010, from Finland

Postby soundmodel; Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:57 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

I don't understand why you don't want to use samples. Using samples in combination with other techniques gives the best results. Pure synthesis is preferable only if one needs wide range of interactivity/dynamism or wants a lower computational foot print (since using synthesis one can create sounds during runtime and doesn't have to store samples and stuff).

Pure synthesis will be limited in believability. There are some exceptions to this, which means that some sounds can sound better with pure synthesis compared to real-world recordings.

The "Designing Sound" book contains a lot of examples on pure synthesis of real-world sounds. It will also display you what kind of limits there are, because that book is quite "cutting edge" on sound synthesis.
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Xenobioz
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366 posts since 4 Jul, 2006, from Sweden

Postby Xenobioz; Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:59 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

I don't want to use samples because my intent is/was making a plugin. Still I always prefer purely synthetic sounds. It is just a preference that maybe originates from when I started to make music. The first software I used for music used a softsynth. After I went over to sampled based software it felt like I always was dependent on somebody else's sounds and could not tweak the sounds. Although in the end I ended up modifying the sounds. I love sound design so pure synthesis is just more fun for that, even if it's possible with sampled sounds too.

I use samples though for some sounds like drums, vocals and strings because for those sounds the sound quality is important for me. But my dream is that all sounds could be synthesized with good quality. Maybe when SSDs with super huge storage sizes become cheap, I wont care if I use samples for real instruments.
kamalmanzukie
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83 posts since 12 May, 2012

Postby kamalmanzukie; Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:29 pm Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

soundmodel wrote:I don't understand why you don't want to use samples. Using samples in combination with other techniques gives the best results. Pure synthesis is preferable only if one needs wide range of interactivity/dynamism or wants a lower computational foot print (since using synthesis one can create sounds during runtime and doesn't have to store samples and stuff).

Pure synthesis will be limited in believability. There are some exceptions to this, which means that some sounds can sound better with pure synthesis compared to real-world recordings.

The "Designing Sound" book contains a lot of examples on pure synthesis of real-world sounds. It will also display you what kind of limits there are, because that book is quite "cutting edge" on sound synthesis.



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soundmodel
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536 posts since 28 May, 2010, from Finland

Postby soundmodel; Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:54 pm Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

Xenobioz wrote:I don't want to use samples because my intent is/was making a plugin. Still I always prefer purely synthetic sounds. It is just a preference that maybe originates from when I started to make music. The first software I used for music used a softsynth. After I went over to sampled based software it felt like I always was dependent on somebody else's sounds and could not tweak the sounds. Although in the end I ended up modifying the sounds. I love sound design so pure synthesis is just more fun for that, even if it's possible with sampled sounds too.

I use samples though for some sounds like drums, vocals and strings because for those sounds the sound quality is important for me. But my dream is that all sounds could be synthesized with good quality. Maybe when SSDs with super huge storage sizes become cheap, I wont care if I use samples for real instruments.


I used to go through this philosophical hypothesis briefly and it was one of the contributing factors that made me go study math in a university.

As said above, the "Designing Sound" book is state-of-the-art literature on this subject matter. However, by viewing just that book, one can also come to understand the limitations of sound synthesis. In theory one could synthesize any sound if one knew how to construct its Fourier series. Another method is so called numerical simulation in which the idea is to synthesize the wanted sound by modelling its physics. In theory also one could synthesize any sound if one knew how to combine other sounds to form the final sound.

However, in practice Fourier series is often used for resynthesis. I.e. when one starts with a sample and wants to give it a "synthetic" representation. And in practice no-one ever synthesizes any sound by combining existing audio. So there are limitations to this "any sound can be synthesized" thinking.

In real world audio one ought to understand what methods are best suited for what tasks.
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whyterabbyt
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25241 posts since 3 Sep, 2001, from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Postby whyterabbyt; Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:19 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

soundmodel wrote:As said above, the "Designing Sound" book is state-of-the-art literature on this subject matter. However, by viewing just that book, one can also come to understand the limitations of sound synthesis.


Its seven years old now, so its not reflective of current state-of-the-art procedural audio. Things have actually progressed in that time; when the book was written, procedural audio middleware for games (its main application) was still in its infancy. Now its becoming standardised. Racing games used to rely on samples of engines, for example, which despite your assertion to the contrary is intrinsically problematic and less flexible than models with regard to dynamic behaviour. Now, though, more and more of such games rely on synthetic models.
Procedural audio, just like procedural texture generation and procedural systems for terrain generation, are areas which are being advanced constantly, that's just a fact.


In real world audio one ought to understand what methods are best suited for what tasks.


In the real world, if that advice had prevailed, we'd still be banging logs with rocks.
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kamalmanzukie
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83 posts since 12 May, 2012

Postby kamalmanzukie; Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:43 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

whyterabbyt wrote:
soundmodel wrote:As said above, the "Designing Sound" book is state-of-the-art literature on this subject matter. However, by viewing just that book, one can also come to understand the limitations of sound synthesis.


Its seven years old now, so its not reflective of current state-of-the-art procedural audio. Things have actually progressed in that time; when the book was written, procedural audio middleware for games (its main application) was still in its infancy. Now its becoming standardised. Racing games used to rely on samples of engines, for example, which despite your assertion to the contrary is intrinsically problematic and less flexible than models with regard to dynamic behaviour. Now, though, more and more of such games rely on synthetic models.
Procedural audio, just like procedural texture generation and procedural systems for terrain generation, are areas which are being advanced constantly, that's just a fact.


In real world audio one ought to understand what methods are best suited for what tasks.


In the real world, if that advice had prevailed, we'd still be banging logs with rocks.


disagree. most of the theory for this stuff has been around forever. what new technique showed up in the last seven years? the bottleneck is getting it from journals into the real world. wavelets have been heralded as the thing to replace fft for like 25 years. maybe its new in gaming, and i'm sure production budgets see reasonable innovations in audio applications, but not too much an audio dsp nerd would consider mind blowing
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whyterabbyt
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25241 posts since 3 Sep, 2001, from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Postby whyterabbyt; Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:05 am Re: Synthesis type for mechanic sounds

kamalmanzukie wrote:disagree.


you disagree with what, exactly? that the book reflects the state of the art? that the state of procedural audio has moved on in 7 years? that there are more game middleware products using procedural audio?

most of the theory for this stuff has been around forever. what new technique showed up in the last seven years?


Most of the theory of any audio dsp has been around for exactly the same forever. Funny that we've seen significant advances in eg analog filter modelling in the same seven year period we're talking about, though.
'New techniques' is a strawman, I made no such reference. Advancing procedural synthesis isnt predicated on 'new techniques' any more than advancing analog filter modelling was.

Feel free to provide evidence that consumer-targetted procedural audio isnt getting better and isnt becoming more and more utilised, though.
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