ChefNews

How I Chop and Transform IronChefOfMusic Ingredients

by protman | 20210726

I've been doing ICOM remixes for a long time, just ask ipaghost. Over the years, as well as recently, I've come up with some methods for editing and generating great samples out of the source ingredients. In the methods listed below, they can help you quickly get some usable and great sounding tones and beats so you drop them into your DAW or tracker and get sequencing while the other chefs are still scratching their heads through their chef hats. There isn't really a specific order or list of steps, so the list below is just a review of what I did to chop up the recent ROBOTRON: 2084 ingredients.

Use Image-Line SliceX, Edisdon, or similar, like Wavesurgeon, to chop up the raw ingredients into more digestible bits.

These applications slice up your sample based on changes in the dynamic rage of the audio. They detect the difference between loud and soft pars, like between the kick drum, hats, and share drum in a drum loop, or separate syllables in a phrase of speech.

I'll typically use Edison. Renoise has this feature built-in as well. Back in the days of Maz Sound Tools, I would use Wavesurgeon, which had a unique feature of a slider for the sensitivity setting, rather than Edison or SliceX's limited dull, medium, sharp, and Renoise requiring a number be typed in before seeing the slice levels. If I find a copy of the old free version of Wavesurgeon floating around, I'll be sure to share it.

Unzip your ingredients to a handy folder.

get your ingredients

Load into your slicer app of choice, and choose the appropriate slice sensitivity.

Slice your ingredients

In Edison and SliceX, you then batch export the regions as "For common use..." to export all the regions at once. 

save for common use

If you sliced too aggressively, you might wind up with thousands of sample slices rather than a few dozen or hundred, but that's fine if that's what you want.

slice results

 

Technically, using a wavetable synthesizer isn't cheating, so...

Recently, I started using Ableton's wavetable instrument and a Maxforlive Max4Live M4L MaxMSP Max8 Cycling'74 (whatever is googleable) randomizer to create additional tones and percussion. After some initial chopping of the ingredients, I'll drop two different sounding samples into the wavetable sampler, and record the randomized output for about a minute. This recording also then gets dropped into Edison for slicing, which usually creates about a hundred new samples, then I cherry-pick the best sounding ones for sequencing new beats, or turning into a bass, key, or pad instrument with loops and envelopes in Renoise.

wavetable randomizer

The output of the wavetable randomizer are then sliced up just like the source ingredients.

wavetable output getting sliced

After all that slicing, you probably won't want to perform much manual editing on them to make them sound better, like applying envelopes, removing clicks at the ends from odd slice points, or removing sub-sonic bass that can muddy up your mix. 

Set up some batch processes to filter out muddy bass, normalize/maximize the volume of each sample, and apply click-removing envelopes.

smoothie movie

I just made this batch process yesterday in Cooledit. It does what I mentioned above:

- Filters out low frequencies (more about bass tones and kick drums later)
- Normalizes all the samples to 88% so they're all usable. It's easier to lower volume of source ingredients in the DAW than raise them.
- Apply an amplitude envelope to the very ends of the samples to remove any noticeable clicks from odd slice points.

smoothie batch

Don't forget kick drums and bass tones.

Kick drums and bass tones are very important, depending on the type of remix you are going for, and it can be difficult to get usable kick drum and bass samples out of most ingredients.

Using the wavetable method produces good bass tones, tuned to C, but doesn't always produce good kick drum samples. 

Before I ever started using a wavetable synth, I used Cooledit's Pitch Bender to create kick drums from a tone. Basically, all most electronic kick drums are just pitch sweeps. If you can manage to get a clean tone, like somewhat of a constant since out of the ingredients, you can generate a bunch of kick drums. If you are having a tough time getting a clean tone out of the ingredients, try some extreme bandpass filtering.

pitch bender

Also be sure to filter out subsonic tones from these generated kick drums. Since they're generated entirely in the digital domain, you'll likely wind up with frequencies that will be inaudible and mess up your DAW's DC offset.

subsonic filter again

Try some variations with the pitch bender, and crop out a bunch of kicks. Your previous slicing may have resulted in some kick drums as well, but these pitch-bent kicks will have more power to cut through the mix.

some kicks

More tips

  • Export your various slice batches into new and separate folders to save yourself the headache of batch exporting a thousand .wav files onto your desktop.
  • Find a fast way to preview and cherry-pick your slices. I have some keyboard shortcuts set up in Foobar2000. Another trick is to apply a normalize edit to any sample you like when previewing in Cooledit or Adobe Audition, then sort them all by Last Edited, and copy those to a new folder.
  • Sometimes there might be subliminal sample gold you'll only hear by listening very closely or amplifying the ingredients. The sample below is just a click, but it is very sharp, dynamic, and was only noticed by amplifying the slice. Other chefs have found samples of peoples' voices from field recordings that were very quite compared to what was being more directly recorded.
  • DON'T FORGET TO SIMPLY CHOP AND EDIT THE SOURCE INGREDIENTS MANUALLY TO GET THE MOST MEANINGFUL SAMPLES. Little bits and kicks are great, but if the source ingredients were a mourning dove song and you don't use a sample of the mourning dove's song in your remix, YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT OF IRONCHEFOFMUSIC

 

a click

 

If you join the Discord chat, or check our the Twitter account you can get a .zip file of all the slices, wavetable slices, kicks, and other samples I created for this.

 

now you can sample anything

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directly Record Any Sound Your Computer is Making

by protman | 20210720

I'll elaborate more later on. 

Here are a few tools that I use to directly record any/all sound coming from any app on my computer. This pertains mostly to PC, but I know these plugins and apps are also available for Apple Macintosh computer systems.

It can be a bit to wrap your head around, as it involves selecting the correct set of input and output devices in your DAW or audio app, as well as the main system devices.

Voicemeeter Banana (FREE/Donate)

Voicemeeter Banana

With Voicemeeter, you can aggregate and route any audio devices, as well as virtual audio devices, and feed them into your DAW as separate inputs. Voicemeeter also installs its own "virtual audio cable" similar to ASIO4All, or Virtual Audio Cable. 

Once you have the preferred routing set up, you can record with Voicemeeter directly, using its tape recorder feature (see screenshot above), or you can use a VST like TapeIT or MeldaProductions MRecorder (Free/Nag).

 

MeldaProduction MRecorder

MeldaProduction MRecorder

If you aren't using Voicemeeter to record, you can use MeldaProduction MRecorder on any channel in your daw to record the input. I'll use this for a digital input, like Voicemeeter's system-wide virtual audio device, or the analog inputs from my USB soundcard/mixer.

One very important tip is to check off the "append number to the filename" when recording (screenshot above), otherwise you'll likely overwrite the previous recording you just made and it will be lost in time forever.

Voicemeeter virtual audio devices

 

Now you can record anything!

2chop

 

Links:

MeldaProduction free bundle that includes MRecorder

meldaproduction.com

Voicemeeter Banana. There are other variants like Potato and plain, but I think banana has the best mix of features without getting too complex.

vb-audio.com

 

Also...

If you goal is to directly and quickly rip audio or video from various services like YouTube, Soundcloud, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Mixcloud, etc, youtube-dl rips from dozens more services than its namesake. Just be sure to use the latest version as it's always a cat/mouse game with the various streaming service providers.

youtube-dl.org

 

i aint stoopit i just doopit

 

What the PVOC?

by protman | 20210223

UPDATE: (to be updated with audio examples soon)

UPDATE: (I'm not sure if these are legal to use for IronChefOfMusic remixes, since they may be completely resynthesizing the source ingredients without actually using the ingredients in the resulting output.)

 

Using my vastly limited knowledge and half-assed-internet-research, here’s some information about PHASE VOCODERING (PVOC), and a list of my favorite VST plugins that use it.

First (a long time ago) I wanted to know how some of the odd sounds were created for use in Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker and surrounding singles/albums. They had elements with a corrupt low-bitrate MP3 squishy sound, applied in a deliberate way.

I performed a bit of searching for audio plugins based on terms like “window”-licker, spectral, FFT, and vst. Being a long time Cooledit user, I assumed there was some form of FFT based filtering going on, and it was the “spectral” view of the other track on the Windowlicker single that exposed the encoded scary face. Also, at the time, I was often coming across anecdotes of how the CDP (Composers Desktop Project) was something amazing, but reserved for idiot-savant-csound people with pony-tails and math degrees.

 

the-aphex-face-visualizing-the-sound-spectrum.jpg

 

This led me to a page with free (32bit) PVOC vsts that demonstrate the fundamentals of what phase-vocoding can do.

I’m surprised the page is still online, so here:

The gist is:

  • PVACCU:  spectral accumulation. The most extreme effect of the three! Applies feedback echo to each analysis channel, with the possibility also to apply a pitch glissando up or down. Echo is amplitude dependent, so this effect is most apparent when applied to percussive sounds, or any sound with distinct changes.
  • PVEXAG: exaggerates the spectrum. Positive exaggeration will emphasize spectral peaks, eventually becoming distinct pitches. Negative exaggeration flattens peaks, and larger values will effectively generate  a granular noise. This can sometimes be effective for some percussive sounds, such as drum loops.
  • PVTRANSP: an unsophisticated pitch shifter, offering a range of one octave up and down. Really little more than a demo of the fact it can be done at all!

 

Some additional free and not free plugins to try:

Fragmental (free)

Fragmental is a multi-effect, but about half of them use the three aforementioned PVOC expressions. 

Fragmental

www.niallmoody.com


DtBlkFx (free)

I think this is the most familiar one to most people. It’s also a multi-effect, and takes a bit of effort to wrangle all the parameters to use with intent.

dtblkfx

rekkerd.org


Soundhack pvoc kit

I actually haven’t tried these yet since they aren’t free, and are a little pricey, but I'll give them a shot soon.

soundhack pvoc kit

soundhack.com

 

One issue to note about all PVOC plugins I have tried is that if your DAW supports automatic plugin delay compensation, you may notice quite a delay by the time audio reaches your master output.

 

 

tags

Listen to some random remixes