Sound design - how did they do that?

category: music [glöplog]
There's tons of threads on how to do distance-field calculations and all sorts of coding, so I thought it would be great with a thread on how specific sounds are created. Most of the softsynths we use share more or less the same features, so it should be possible to share knowledge on sound design across synths.

I'll go first ;-)

Easter Guardians / Excess has one of the greatest soundtracks in 2010 in my opinion, and there's one sound in particular, I'd like to dig into.

It's the filter-sweep sound most distinct heard at 0.31. I've cut it out and put it here

The question is: How's that sound made? How many oscillators? What filters, LFOs and effects are applied?
added on the 2011-01-30 12:19:36 by Punqtured Punqtured
I've only listened via laptop speakers, so I could be completely off.

To my ears it sounds much more like a sync sound

In short:

Use two oscillators. The first one is audible and plays the note. The second one is inaudible. Each time the second oscillator passes through zero it resets the phase of the first oscillator which in turn will restart its waveform cycle.

Now all you have to do is to find a nice frequency ratio between the two oscillators and add a bit of detune for the sweep like character.

added on the 2011-01-30 13:39:29 by torus torus
There's got to be som highpass filter involved too. The resetting of phase could very well be responsible for the retrig-like sound to it, but I doubt there's no filtering involved even with heavy detuning.
added on the 2011-01-30 13:47:09 by Punqtured Punqtured
Sounds like some heavy pulsewidth and FM modulation to me. I've created a rather similar sound in Synth1 once, where an LFO controls the pulsewidth and the FM modulation is set to a high level; then I finally enabled unison mode for a more spacious sound.
punqtured: you're probably puzzled by the "background" bobble-y sound?

It's most probably a fast LFO controlling either the pitch or filter of a synth/wave, on top of that you have a standard filter for the slow filter "sweep"

and on top of that again there's just a saw of some sort.

The bubble-y sound might even be a sample, but I think not, since it's used several times in the track with variations
added on the 2011-01-30 14:11:28 by Puryx Puryx
Punqtured: first of all Easter Guardians / Excess is not a 64k nor 4k, hence gloom would probably have the possibility to do whatever fuck he want with the sounds by using effects and all kinds of things and tweaks and then render to mp3 for final.. you'll have to ask him what kind of parameters he has on his filter-sweep-triangle/square-vsts. or whatever.
added on the 2011-01-30 14:28:33 by rudi rudi
rudi: Obviously, but I think we all pretty much agree, that the "source" of the sound is probably not an analog instrument like violin or classic guitar ;-) Hence - it's a synthesizer. And apart from FM/Additive/Subtractive synthtype differences, a commercially hardware FM-synth has pretty much the same features as a scene FM-softsynth. Quality may vary a bit, but feature-wise, there's no reason a scene-synth should not be able to produce pretty much the same sounds.

I've done a little testing back and forth on our group's softsynth, and I'm sure I'll be able to make it pretty close. My main issue right now, is the metallic sound of the low-frequency part and the high-frequent noies-part of the sound. First attempt of reproducing the sound in a 64k intro synth.
added on the 2011-01-30 14:56:11 by Punqtured Punqtured
And obviously, I'm fighting a bit with the envelope that controls the lowfrequency filter-cutoff...
added on the 2011-01-30 14:58:44 by Punqtured Punqtured
Could you dump a sample of that, Maeli?
added on the 2011-01-30 16:08:45 by Punqtured Punqtured
@punqtured : your sample remind me the beginning of this :(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uo1MAIqAFI)
(altough its a flanger used here)
added on the 2011-01-30 16:12:47 by Tigrou Tigrou
Thats your typical doomgore/whateverstep synth sound.
You probably have a bunch of presets everywhere for it but my thought is that it would be sync additive + filter env + lfo on filter + some mod env here and there. Actually, you don't even need a flanger to do it if you work with pulse width modulation and you modulate the pulse width... that would be how I would make this kind of sound, it probably wouldn't sound the same but that would be close. Actually, this is always the same technic than creating the usual wobble sound except lfos are going faster and there are some modulations here and there.

Try out with a synth like Surge, it's pretty cool because LFOs can go almost everywhere (actually, it works like a "learn" method, double click, click any param, move it to define the range of the lfo) but you could also obtain it with a free pc synth like oatmeal.
knl: Our synth has the LFO-assign feature as well, so there's no need for another synth.

I guess we all agree, that there's more than one oscillator or at least theres two "paths" for the sound. One path for the lowfrequent part and one for the highfrequent part. The filter is different for high/low frequence so either there's two paths or there's two oscillators.

My approach so far has been a simple saw oscillator and a pitched noise oscillator. Saw is run through lowpass filter and noise is run through bandpass-filter, removing lowest and highest frequencies. An LFO is assigned to cutoff of bandpass filter and an ADSR-envelope is assigned to cutoff of both bandpass and lowpass filter, however the lowpass is set to be more affected than bandpass.

Distortion is applied to the low-frequency part before passed on to the voice-out mix and on to the effect path. Here, I've split the voice-source into two, adding a bandpass filter to one path while running the other part directly to the final mix. The highfrequency part is then distorted a bit and another LFO is assigned to the bandpass filter of the highfrequency part.

An LFO is assigned to the gain of the lowfrequency part to give the slight wobbling of the sound.

My main issue is getting the filter-envelope right. Mine says wow whereas Gloom's say wouaaaiiiieeeh which must be some combination of filter-envelopes.
added on the 2011-01-30 17:48:37 by Punqtured Punqtured
why don't you all wait for gloom's description?
Because it's pouet?
Exactly ;)
added on the 2011-01-30 18:17:41 by Punqtured Punqtured
gloom only sells his dirty secrets for oil!
IT MUST HAVE BEEN ALREADY SOLD... because I've heard that a lot :)
Having spent some two hours trying to get it "closer", I have to agree that the best would be to wait for Gloom to unveil the secrets of that sound :-(

Surely, there must be others wondering how some sound was done in some production. Let's hear it from you and have a nice and friendly challenge on disassembling sounds :-)
added on the 2011-01-30 21:54:06 by Punqtured Punqtured
Import a VST into buzz, select a line, then press CTRL-R till it sounds about right.
added on the 2011-01-30 22:08:35 by xernobyl xernobyl
LOL - that's a pretty good idea. And on that notion - a team of monkeys would eventually be able to compose the tune for Easter Guardians :-D
added on the 2011-01-30 22:33:21 by Punqtured Punqtured
punqtured: nice sample, but.. try lowering the note from C4 to E3. or whatever your scale is. i think.
added on the 2011-01-30 23:25:41 by rudi rudi
It's an F, but it's not the tone as much as the sound itself.

I've played around abit more, but even though parts of it are getting close, it's still nowhere near it. I now lack amplitude in the low frequency part and there's too much "space" between low and high frequencies.

Latest attempt at Gloom's awesome sweep
added on the 2011-01-31 00:26:58 by Punqtured Punqtured
And since it's been a while since the first post with Gloom's sweep:

Gloom's sweep

My latest sweep
added on the 2011-01-31 00:28:58 by Punqtured Punqtured
Punqt: try adding some overdrive / clipping.
added on the 2011-01-31 02:49:42 by bdk bdk