snap, crackle and pop!

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
ijiwaru
KVRist
44 posts since 25 Oct, 2019

Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:10 am

Ages ago there was an Airwindows plugin called Nikola that purportedly modelled a Tesla coil. It turned the audio source into a texture of beautiful high-frequency crackles and pops but alas it is seemingly lost to time. Depending on the implementation, similar sounds can be achieved with granular synthesis but I'm looking for something that can be used as a real-time process. I'm probably not describing this very well so here's an example of the kind of sound I mean:

https://youtu.be/VvLlUx98hZI?t=165

Hear that high-frequency crackle? What plugins can make that sound in 2020?

EDIT: YouTube embed didn't preserve the time stamp so please skip ahead to 2:46 or click the link above, thanks

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Forgotten
KVRAF
7583 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:19 am

If you have Reaktor, check out some of Dieter Zobel’s work from the user library.

El°HYM
KVRist
39 posts since 21 Nov, 2015

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:39 am

...its still there (just AU though) https://www.airwindows.com/nikola/

Chris often listens if people find an old Gem which could be useful for them. Needs his Time & Decision, but why not just ask; as he pretty often ports AUs to VST, if needed. :tu:

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vurt
addled muppet weed
57273 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:48 am

fennesz :love:

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Forgotten
KVRAF
7583 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:59 am

You spelled it wrong...

Image

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vurt
addled muppet weed
57273 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:12 am

rees mogg as a teen?

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cthonophonic
KVRist
355 posts since 1 Jan, 2018

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:13 am

Any distortion that lets you manually draw the curves should let you turn tonal material into crackles. Just draw a map that produces sharp transitions over a narrow range of input volumes, then pass that through a resonant filter and you should get something nice and crackly. This technique works best if you've pre-filtered your input signal to remove high frequencies, like the Fennesz guitar drone presumably was. I did a quick test passing a Raum drone through an old Buzz distortion plugin just now, and it came out pretty convincingly crackly.

[Edit: to be clear, the distortion curves in the image are mapping output levels (on the vertical) to input levels (on the horizontal), not frequencies, in case that's confusing. I used a Buzz native effect here, but I'm sure there are plenty of VSTs with comparable functionality.]
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ijiwaru
KVRist
44 posts since 25 Oct, 2019

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:53 am

El°HYM wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:39 am
...its still there (just AU though) https://www.airwindows.com/nikola/

Chris often listens if people find an old Gem which could be useful for them. Needs his Time & Decision, but why not just ask; as he pretty often ports AUs to VST, if needed. :tu:
You're right, it does still work! I was an idiot and forgot that you sometimes have to reboot in order to get certain AUs to validate. I just assumed it hadn't been updated.
cthonophonic wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:13 am
Any distortion that lets you manually draw the curves should let you turn tonal material into crackles. Just draw a map that produces sharp transitions over a narrow range of input volumes, then pass that through a resonant filter and you should get something nice and crackly.
This is genius, thank you! Thanks also to all the other contributors.

ijiwaru
KVRist
44 posts since 25 Oct, 2019

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:40 am

On the subject of Fennesz, I've always wondered how the weird, almost vocoder type effect in the following tracks was made (click the time stamped links, if possible; otherwise skip forward to 1:12 and 2:00 respectively):

https://youtu.be/pI9UIAtv3NQ?t=72

https://youtu.be/E5dsvdC0I9E?t=120

It has the movement of a granular texture but with the timbral profile of an FFT based vocoder or similar. I remember Fennesz mentioned using Native Instruments Vokator in an interview; I wonder could that be it? I've never used it personally and it's obviously been discontinued now. Anyone recognise it?

Sorry if this seems obsessive, I've just always had an interest in analysing the compositional techniques used in my favourite music.

ijiwaru
KVRist
44 posts since 25 Oct, 2019

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:17 pm

Here's a first attempt at making something similar to the crackle texture in the op. It lacks the weight and dynamic movement of the Fennesz example though. Not sure how to achieve that; envelope follower? More compression?

https://clyp.it/m4u3wqct

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cthonophonic
KVRist
355 posts since 1 Jan, 2018

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:57 am

If you're looking for a way to get the crackles to swell more with the volume, something like an envelope follower or other modulation could help. It doesn't seem like more compression would be necessary to get the effect. Are you using the Nikola plugin or a distortion?

ijiwaru
KVRist
44 posts since 25 Oct, 2019

Re: snap, crackle and pop!

Post Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:13 pm

cthonophonic wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:57 am
If you're looking for a way to get the crackles to swell more with the volume, something like an envelope follower or other modulation could help. It doesn't seem like more compression would be necessary to get the effect. Are you using the Nikola plugin or a distortion?
In the end I used a granular delay (Soundhack +Bubbler) with reasonably small grain size and grain density values, filtered via bandpass and resonant high pass filters. Compression was used to sharpened the attack points.

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