Making my own sounds/samples, help needed

Official support for: samplesquad.com
Soarer
KVRian
651 posts since 19 Mar, 2004 from Copenhagen

Post Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:47 pm

Hi Shane

I have just listened to the demo sounds on your site samplesquad.com. Your samples sounds incredible!

Are you willing to give me some advice in making my own sounds in such a high quality (I mean cool/great sounding) as your samples?
I'd really like to learn making my own unique sounds. My music style is a little slower than the IDM demos on your site :hihi:
I am not asking for your trade secrets, but just some help in getting started as a sound designer/musician myself.

Actually I have been experimenting with drum/glitch sounds for several years now but I can't get anywhere near the quality of your sounds.

I do make field recordings myself but they always sound too harsh and too "real" (boring) actually, so I don't record so much anymore.

I use Reaktor 5; Soundforge 8, Cubase SX 2 and Live 5 and a lot of freeware plugins from the internet -like destroy fx, smartelectronix, tweakbench, xoxos, etc.
So I'm sure I have the right gear, well maybe exept an analog synth!

Maybe you could answer my questions:

Synthesis:

I don't own a hardware synth. I have planned to buy the great Andromeda A6 one day when I can afford it. Therefore I know there's a huge range of sounds that I cannot make yet.

1. I believe I need a good hardware synth in order to make base material like Clicks, Tics, Bd's, Snares, Noises etc. Am i right?
I have used software for drum synthesis but I don't get anything nice out of it. But maybe with some further processing...

Field recordings:

I use my minidisc and a pair of miniature binaural stereo mics from SOUND PROFESSIONALS. I believe that's fine.

2. My field recordings sound too harsh and too "real". They don't sound very well when I make kits of them, and I don't know much about production so they also don't blend in very well in the mix.
Your samples sound soft, crispy and electronic . How do I do that? Compression or what? Anything else? I want to make them softer sounding and less harsh.

3. I should be able to make my own cool sounds using Reaktor and other plugins without having to make my own programming in Max/Msp and Reaktor, right?

4. Anywhere I can gain more knoledge and skills? Any sites -other than kvr and the likes? I guess I should also read about experimental production techniques :wink:...

I am looking forward to hear from you.

Thanks

User avatar
DuX
KVRAF
3737 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from Underworld

Post Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:44 am

Your question is actually pretty broad and I don't have the time to write whole books here [gotta make some tunes..] but I'll try to cover a few points.

It's commendable that you want to use your own raw samples, I do, too. However, to do that, you have to be able [knowledgeable?] to do some or even heavy processing afterwards to make them blend in with the mix. I personally, simply adore compressing, EQing, slicing... and when you know your stuff and have good ears, there's nothing hard or unattenable in doing that.

For starters, maybe you should try comparing some similar sounds and just EQing them until thay sound the same and also use some compression in the process? Also, I'm not so confident Sound Professionals mic is very good, or any binaural mic for that matter. I'd rather use a pair, or just one [mono], of some good old Neumann or AKG stick cardioid or hypercardioid condensers and record in mono or stereo - depending upon what you want or what your sound source is.

And remember to rely on your ears when comparing, they're the best plugin you'll ever get.

my 2p...

Cheers!
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. - Jiddu Krishnamurti

User avatar
Shane Sanders
KVRAF
4065 posts since 10 Oct, 2002 from Nashville, TN USA

Post Thu Jun 08, 2006 9:44 am

Soarer wrote:Hi Shane

Actually I have been experimenting with drum/glitch sounds for several years now but I can't get anywhere near the quality of your sounds.
Thanks. Part of what makes our little collections cool, imo, is that they are assembled with the whole in mind. Some thought has gone into deciding what would work well together, so in a way, the collections can be thought of as a single instrument.

Chase did the more aggressive demos on our site. If you compare his approach and mine, you'll hear how the exact same set can be tweaked in the hands of different people. It all comes down to how one chooses to effect them and layer them.

In the same way, making a set of musical samples touches on the same concerns. If you hammer an oildrum, you'll get a certain type of sound. Your hit will be affected by the density of the thing, whether it has liquid in it, etc. So while there are oildrums all across the world, they're gonna sound unique on some level in comparison to someone else's recording of a similar thing. Then when you factor in all the things you can do to a sample, the possibilities multiply. Even a crappy mic is useful because it has its own character. Glitchy things don't know or care that they were collected with a $10 mic. But having more mics is like having more flavors.

The key thing is to have a full-featured audio editor and to keep track of techniques that tend to yield good results. Make macros that do certain things and keep them handy. Make sure to pitch a sample up and down to hear what kinds of things emerge from that process. Then mentally categorize the results and put it in a smartly named folder (where you can find it again).

...more later... :)
Image

Soarer
KVRian
651 posts since 19 Mar, 2004 from Copenhagen

Post Thu Jun 08, 2006 1:48 pm

Thanks for your responses. I have been working with a field recording for hours today in Sound Forge (should be a "full-featured audio editor"). I have been experimenting with compression, something I have hardly ever used before. When using compression I am lowering all the sharp and loud sounds right(Limiter)? I guess this could take care of some of the harshness of my sounds.

I am going through the recordings bit by bit and listening and picking out the interesting sounds. I apply some eq to most of them and I always do try to pitch each sound op and down. I have probably made a few interesting sounds but still they don't sound great...

I will continue to experiment with recordings of different sounds and try to learn more. I am looking forward to hear more... later... :D

User avatar
DuX
KVRAF
3737 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from Underworld

Post Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:34 am

By compression, you're actually not lowering peaks but rather boosting "valleys" most of the time and its most useful with high treshold settings - limiter is for lowering/cutting peaks... [low treshold, 1:inf]

However, experimenting is so fun, isn't it? :D it doesn't matter what it does, just use your ears and try to get what you want. The EQ is the most important thing followed by a compressor.

Cheers!
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. - Jiddu Krishnamurti

Soarer
KVRian
651 posts since 19 Mar, 2004 from Copenhagen

Post Sat Jun 10, 2006 3:34 am

Thanks Dux. So you're eqing and compressing the whole field recording before cutting it up? I would normally just eq the sounds I have cut out.

I often just record whatever I have at hand at home like clicking with some stones or glass, crumble some paperbag, playing with water etc. Is it not possible to get good results with almost any material as long as one is processing it all afterwards and picking out the good sounds or do you think I should put more time into finding more interesting sounds to record? I will do this anyway but I am just wondering if it really helps if I go outside and record all kinds of things if I don't know how to make them sound cool anyway.

User avatar
Shane Sanders
KVRAF
4065 posts since 10 Oct, 2002 from Nashville, TN USA

Post Sat Jun 10, 2006 5:37 am

@Soarer

I used to sell a texture collection for 3D artists. A lot of it was really wild rust patterns, etc. I love rust and crackling paint that has rust underneath it. And I noticed that when I went out into the field with my camera that I became attuned to finding "rust" and the like.

The same thing happens when collecting field samples. I have a penchant for metallic sounding things and my ears become attuned to it. So maybe you can think of some general type of sound that appeals to you (thuds, cracking wood, scrapes) and then set out to just collect those things during one day. Of course, you'll end up bringing home more than that, but you'll tune your mind to be inventive toward coaxing the target sound out of things. Also, carrying around a small toolkit is handy. The metallic end of a screwdriver is a totally different striking tool than the plastic end, etc. Same for small hammers. So having some things with you to bring out certain qualities can be fun and creative.
Image

User avatar
DuX
KVRAF
3737 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from Underworld

Post Sat Jun 10, 2006 8:36 pm

Shane said it all :D, btw. don't compress anything unless you use it, it's just better if you leave it like it is and process it in a song.

Sorry, I'm short on words on weekends, guess why? :hihi:
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. - Jiddu Krishnamurti

Soarer
KVRian
651 posts since 19 Mar, 2004 from Copenhagen

Post Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:07 am

I have a penchant for delicious electronic clicks and they are pretty hard to find outthere! I think some of them are made on synthesizers like this beautiful song by Benge, listen to "Elan":

http://www.boomkat.com/item.cfm?id=17561

Are these clicks and percussion sounds not made on a synth? Tell me what you think.

I also love the glitchy clicks and sounds of Telefon Tel Aviv. These do sound more like eq'ed field recordings but I can't really hear what it is and I wouldn't know how to make such sounds. What do you guys think it is? Combined and layered sounds?

I think I do hear some hits on a bottle and other objects. These sounds so damn soft, just like some of the Psyops & Mech field rec hits. What do you do to make hits so soft sounding?

Go to their site if you wish to hear a fantastic tune with the sounds I'm talking about(or if you want to do yourself a favor :wink:)

http://telefontelaviv.com Allow the popup windows and press "LISTEN" > TTA Listening Station > Skip 3 tracks forward to the track "Sound in a dark room"
One of my all time favorite electronica tunes!

larm
KVRian
834 posts since 28 Oct, 2004

Post Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:57 am

@Soarer

If I would do something similar to Elan I would:

1. In your audio editor, create a 2-3 second silence
2. Draw some spikes (impulses) with the mouse, so you
hear definitive clicks
3. Apply low pass filter with high resonances to entire sample (smooths out the impulses and will create decaying half-sines which will have a tonal character of the resonance freq)
4. Pitch, cut and try to loop parts that sound interesting
5. Alternatively: run the impulses through a convolver with some natural sound you like (a short "boing", bottle hit, lighter switch or sth similar)
6. Or: Get some bad drum samples, cut out the initial attacks since they are the only thing worth keeping (the elan drums are VERY short) make sure to cut samples at zero-crossings, or download some old "chip" .mod music and rip their 8bit bad-bad samples :)

As for the other tune, dark room something I think I hear:

1. tiny click noises pitched down and looped on the decaying part using a bidirectional loop (forward-backward) the bi-di loop is what makes loops sound unhars, esp. if they fade out at the loop end/start points
2. regular drumbox 606/808-derivative hihats (can be made with most drumsynths)
3. more short noises/burst looped forward (i.e. 1000-3000 samples at 44100) can be cut from anything. prob. played back in a sampler with a pitch controller (or some other modulator->pitch)
4. typical fm-sine-drop kick with inital click
5. finger-snap sample: prob. layered and time-shifted so that the attack is smeared in time, maybe some tap echo, i.e. you hear the same sample many times, makes a "roomy" feel but not echoed.
6. female "fx": yeah, go get your GF ..
7. reversed sounds: can also be anything, reverse a bad sound and it will sound cool
8. "clanks" with trad. panning delay / ping pong delay + added reverb

There's many sounds going on there, haven't really bothered to hear if they loop.

I guess though that they are somewhat lazy and have some sampler tracks with just a single sound/per track that they've dotted all around the note scale.

Good luck experimenting.

Soarer
KVRian
651 posts since 19 Mar, 2004 from Copenhagen

Post Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:00 am

Soarer wrote:I think I do hear some hits on a bottle and other objects. These sounds so damn soft, just like some of the Psyops & Mech field rec hits. What do you do to make hits so soft sounding?
Well, how do I make everything more soft sounding and less harsh? Come on Shane, tell me please!

How many of your Psyops and Mech samples were made with synthesis including drummachines?

User avatar
Shane Sanders
KVRAF
4065 posts since 10 Oct, 2002 from Nashville, TN USA

Post Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:00 pm

Soarer wrote:
Soarer wrote:I think I do hear some hits on a bottle and other objects. These sounds so damn soft, just like some of the Psyops & Mech field rec hits. What do you do to make hits so soft sounding?
Well, how do I make everything more soft sounding and less harsh? Come on Shane, tell me please!

How many of your Psyops and Mech samples were made with synthesis including drummachines?
What do you mean by soft? I do use some compression as a sound-shaping force, so maybe that's what you're hearing.

As for drummachines, there were no drum machines used in making my samples. Everything is either an edited field recording of something weird or a synthetic sound that has been poured through various processes.
Image

Soarer
KVRian
651 posts since 19 Mar, 2004 from Copenhagen

Post Sun Sep 03, 2006 2:03 am

Hi Shane It's getting a lot better now. The big important thing that I've been missing was more precise eqing. I can now hear that my old stuff sounds so sharp and harsh because it contains sharp and harsh frequencies! That's what I mean by soft sounding. Now I find those nasty frequencies and lower them with the free envelope Eq in Soundforge and they become more soft sounding, except those that are too nasty which I remove.

Well, I have a lot of sounds to shape now so -Later!

Return to “Sample Squad”