We now have a new Introduction video to our Youtube Channel! It's been tough to produce but top quality videos are the goal. What are the topics to be?!
Synthesis, Psychoacoustics, Sound Effects, Acoustics, Sonic Branding, Analysis and more...!
Hey there, welcome to my channel. I'm Joel Pinteric, I'm a sound designer from Australia, and on this channel I plan to upload a range of videos on synthesis, sound modelling and analysis. I hope to share with you my investigations on what makes up timbre - what makes things sound the way they do. So hope you enjoy it.
Having often used synthesisers, from hardware synths to virtual instruments, I've come to appreciate their capabilities on a more fundamental level.
I've been investigating the world of harmonics, sound spectrums and ultimately, timbre - the tone quality of a sound. Its one thing to know how synthesisers work, but we can then form techniques to create unique sounds, based on learned principles.
The partials and noisy aspects of a sound, and how they change over time, is essentially what makes up the timbre! That timbre and tone quality, is what allows us to distinguish one instrument sound from another, while they may be playing the same note! (Quick demo)
So there were sounds of Violin, Clarinet, Glockenspiel and finally a sine wave playing the note F3. This graph (shown below from iZotope RX3) is represented by the time on the horizontal axis and the frequency spectrum on the vertical axis. The colour intensity represents the loudness of the frequencies present. So even in one note you can see that each sound has its own character of many frequencies (Harmonic Series - Integer Multiples of the Fundamental Frequency), including the less defined, noisy aspects, like the breath in the clarinet.
I'll go over this in more detail in another video but here are some of the main points.
- If we come from the right hand side you can see the Sine Wave is a constant, pure frequency, which is the simplest of all sounds.
- The Glockenspiel is known for its bright overtones which decay quickly, compared to its fundamental frequency, which is also at a softer level.
- The Clarinet here is very strong, constant tone, and has a bias towards the lower odd harmonics, giving a hollow sound. You can see the 1st and 3rd frequencies are the loudest there. Whereas,
- the Violin has as smoother frequency distribution across all its harmonics - which also fluctuate a lot more in volume with tremolo and also vibrato.
Other examples could be - What spectra make up these timbres?
Metallic, Wooden, Glassy, Watery…
Breathy, Airy, Dampened…
Full, Hollow, Tinny…
Shiny, Bright, Dull, Dark…
Movement, Life, Static, Sterile…
Abrasive, Aggressive, Smooth, Soft...
Essentially, we will find that Timbre is illustrated and supplemented by spectrum analysis, more accurately than any other measurement outside of our own hearing. With modern technology and access to tools like iZotope Insight, we have a new objective, scientific understanding and a way to solidify our creative choices. It is one of the most useful ways to measure a sound, not just because we can analyze all frequencies, but we can see how they all change over time. Of course, extra theory behind the sound will also help.
Here's another quick overview of what makes Absynth (Native Instruments) my favourite soft-synth, for many types of synthesis:
- Additive-Wavetable Source - We've got that Additive synth engine, built into versatile Wavetables.
- Transform (FM, Mix, Ringmod…) - The wave can be transformed with FM, Mixing and various other methods, some of which are built into the Oscilator module, where you can modulate the parameters in real-time, rather than by editing the wavetable destructively.
- Subtractive (Filter Modules) - It has a semi-modular design, which allows for various Subtractive Synthesis options and specialised filters.
- a) Modulators (Freq Shift, Ringmod, Waveshaper) - There are modulator types: Frequency Shifting, Ring Modualtion and Waveshaping, which all alter the signal in real-time (using their own Wavetables)! b) Granular options (Cloud, Sync Granular, Granular), and finally, it has
- Time-based Effects - Versatile Time based effects from minuscule delay-lines to resonating reverbs.
The results are fascinating!
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Until next time!