Electronic Sound Creation
with Saul Stokes
I'm getting married and I'm trying to convince my fiancˇe that
Manny's music shop in New York is the place to register for our
bridal gifts. Get those aunts and uncles to hook me up with some new
equipment. Anyway this years starting out sort of funky with tons of
new equipment coming out that I can't even come close to touching.
I go into the only music store close by and all the employees are
wearing fake back stage passes and silk-screened sweat outfits with
American Music scribbled all over them, I guess to try and make
them look like roadies. I have to deal with this to check out the new
stuff and then they don't even have any thing worth looking at. So I
come home to try and spend a peaceful night with my lady and
about midnight this whole rotting town goes up in gunfire for about a
half an hour. Yes I live by Hilltop in the stinking, stinking, literally
stinking city of Tacoma.
Anyway from one source or another I've heard about some
pretty cool and pretty stupid pieces of equipment I'll briefly tell you
about. Sony has just released an effects processor (DPS-S7 dynamic
filter) with a hip little drum synthesizer that's supposed to make
some pretty good electronic drum sounds (probably TX-81Zish).
Digidisign is supposedly putting out some modular synths that
connect together to make some monster machine but I haven't came
across any factual data on this.
Keyboard's February issue talks about a new form of synthesis
that can recreate acoustical instruments better than samplers but we
won't go into such trashy reasons for a company to create a new
form of synthesis.
Alas for you ADAT owners. If you want a basic workstation
with all the regular crap included, with a most commendable 64 note
polyphony, check out the ALESIS Quadra synth with a special digital
link to your ADAT. Built in everything except good tweakable
On the stupid side, we have KORG putting out the i3
workstation which supposedly creates entire songs from a few lousy
notes you enter in (sort of like those home jobbies they sell at The
BON or Radioshack where you just touch a key and a rock or reggae
sequence jingles out). I think the i stands for the idiot who coughs up
two thousand dollars for this piece of plastic to try and make them
think they've created a piece of music. Come to my house and give
me two grand and I'll make a bunch of cheesy sequences for you.
Sorry for being so negative.
Last months article was part 1 on some cheap keyboard tricks
that might have helped you get a little more out of your equipment.
It was sort of hidden in last months issue so it might of slipped by
your keen little eyes. This months article is part 2 with truncation
techniques, sample rate conversion, and stereo outs. Lets go!!!
For those of you who have just recently
entered the electronic world of music with a sampler, it's time to
truncate. Truncating is just cutting off the extra amount of recorded
data that exist before or after the sound you have sampled. To
conserve space this data needs to be chopped off your sound and
disposed of. The problem is that lots of people don't truncate very
well. The main reason for this is that they're probably not wearing
headphones. This is a bad idea if you want to make sure you're
making clean samples, but that's another article. What I want to
stress is that truncating without headphones will probably still leave
you with extra data hanging on your sound. I've brought home
factory made drum samples that take up mass K on my board and
after a good headphone scan have retrieved a good 30% of sample
space due to poor truncating by the maker. This could mean
everything to you if running out of memory on a song or can't do
some function because you don't have enough memory. If you want
to chop a sound down grouped with a bunch of other wavesamples
(like a drum set) and your sound doesn't seem to be truncating, you
might want to look through the set of samples and see if there's a
copy of the sample your truncating. If this is the case you're going to
have to set the start and end of the sample's copy to exactly that of
the original, then both should truncate smoothly just like sippin'
Sample Rate Conversion
Most samplers are set to
sample at around 40 Khz which is loosely around a CD's audio clarity.
one cool feature in most current samplers is in their ability to change
the rate of the sample or the signal to a much lower Khz thus
allowing more sample time and lower K sounds. If your not so
worried about super perfect audio clarity you can pick out certain
sounds which don't necessarily need high sample rates. Take a good
look at the sample your trying to make. Is it a clear bass sound or a
rough grindy sort of sound? If it's distorted and rough you might
want to try cutting the sample rate to around 20khz to hear what it
sounds like. It might even sound better and save you a nice amount
of memory. Sometimes pulling the sample rate down to a really low
level creates some good "radio" speaker effects on voice samples and
drum sounds too. DIG DEEP !!!
A true cheap trick for all you Cheap Trick fans
who don't have built in effects but want to tinker with certain
sounds through different effects your answer lies in monophying
your stereo outs. Just route your sampler or synthesizers left output
through your effects processor and into a unpanned mixer channel
and your right output straight (or through another effects box) into a
second unpanned channel. Now the sounds you pan left will be
effected by the processor and the sounds you pan right will go
directly into the mixer uneffected. This is great for low budget music
making when you're tired of either having totally dry sounds or all
your sounds running through the same effect.
Well I'm out of tricks and definitely leaving this months article
a little thin, but I promise next months issue will overwhelm you as I
unleash the powers of Fender's Chroma Polaris, a totally butt kickin'
acid, techno, bass in your back, music machine you're going to want
to own. By the way, if you're out and about this month and you come
across SECT's CD entitled Telekinetic and you've got an extra fifteen
bucks, pick it up because it's really got a sleek and original sound to
it and it's electronic as hell. ADIOS!
Return to Index
Matthew Corwine, Online Editor