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Shaping Synth Sounds with Noise Samples and Drum Loops - A Tutorial

Tutorial | May 25, 2020

In this video, I learned how to use noise samples or drum loops to shape synth sounds. I used a module called attenuate to change the volume and then used a sidechain module to drag in the sound from the second track. I used an envelope follower to track the amplitude envelope of the noise sample and used it to modulate different parameters like pitch, detuning, and face modulation. The noise sample can be modified in different ways like using a bandpass filter or adding delay to fill in the gaps between drum hits. I also learned how to convert the audio signal into a gate signal and use it to trigger other drums or synth sounds. Finally, I saw some examples of how to apply these techniques to create different sounds using drum loops, noise samples, and even a ping-pong ball sound.

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Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

Four Questions About Shaping Synth Sounds with Noise Samples or Drum Loops

1. How do you use a noise sample or drum loop to shape a synth sound?

To use a noise sample or drum loop to shape a synth sound, you need to create a side chain module and choose the second track with the noise sample as the input. With this, you can use the noise sample to modulate different parameters inside the grid. The noise sample is then tracked by an envelope follower, which can be used to dial in specific parameters such as face modulation, pitch, detuning, and more. Additionally, you can use filtering, delay, and reverb to create movement and fill in gaps to create rhythmic elements in a pad sound.

2. How does a noise sample influence tonality and rhythm in shaping synth sounds?

A noise sample influences tonality and rhythm by providing a predictable and static signal that can be modulated to create movement and rhythmic elements. The amplitude of the noise sample can be tracked by an envelope follower, which then modulates parameters such as the face modulation, pitch, and detuning of oscillators. The accuracy of the noise sample ensures that it is always in sync with the beat or other modulations, and its predictable signal allows for the targeted influence of different elements of a sound.

3. How can you use a drum loop to create gate signals to trigger other sounds?

To use a drum loop to create gate signals that trigger other sounds, you need to convert the audio signal into a gate signal. This can be done by using a follower to track the amplitude of the drum loop, so the signal is only active at certain points above a set threshold. The signal can then be processed by a gain module that acts as a threshold and separates the signal into binary 0 or 1 states. This output is a gate signal that can be used to trigger an envelope, oscillator or other sounds, effectively extracting the groove from the drum loop or noise sample.

4. What are some examples of using noise samples and drum loops in shaping synth sounds?

Examples of using noise samples and drum loops in shaping synth sounds include using a drum loop to trigger an envelope that modulates an oscillator, creating a bass sound. A noise sample can also be used to modulate the skew, default and the amplitude of a sound, as well as synchronize an arpeggiator to produce rhythmic texture. Moreover, a ping-pong ball sound can be used as a noise sample to modulate a synth sound and create dynamic movement. Ultimately, the use of noise samples and drum loops in shaping synth sounds is limited only by the creativity of the user.


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00.000] So in today's video, it's about shaping synth sounds with noise samples or drum loops. So stay tuned.
[00:17.440] The loop and attenuate a module to change the volume. This is how it sounds.
[00:24.560] So pretty default, pretty simple. And the second track here, there's a some random noise sample
[00:32.240] on it, a vinyl crackling sound. I downloaded somewhere on the internet. You can use what you want,
[00:37.680] but this is how it sounds. So nice little random noise and some crackling on top.
[00:49.200] And we actually just mute this so we can't hear anything. And we go back to the crit here.
[00:56.880] And now we need to drag in the sound or grab the sound from the second track. So we get a
[01:03.760] side chain module here. And we choose as an input the second track and the prefader.
[01:11.440] So now when we hit play here, you can see we have a level there. And because we mute it or we
[01:20.720] just use the slider to mute the second track, we only have a level here at the prefader because
[01:26.080] that's prefader. And we grab the audio there and we can now use this to yeah,
[01:33.840] modulate stuff inside the grid. And for instance, we can drag this here into the face signal.
[01:39.200] And we can use this there.
[01:44.480] What the actual noise is so fast at audio rate, basically, that
[01:52.560] you don't hear anything besides that you have just two sounds playing in parallel, right?
[01:59.280] So we need to do something about it. And what you can do is you can use an envelope
[02:09.120] follower. Use the sound here and basically track the envelope, the amplitude envelope of the
[02:16.160] second track of the noise sample. And now we can use this here to dial in certain parameters.
[02:24.320] For instance, we can use that in you, right? So when we have this at zero here, there's no sound.
[02:29.920] And when we use the envelope follower to yeah, raise the volume, basically, the noise sample
[02:35.920] decides when the volume is raised. So you can hear the noise is now influencing pretty much
[03:00.800] everything for the end, at least for the amplitude.
[03:11.280] You can also use here to dial in the face modulation or the fault or the skew.
[03:18.320] Or maybe even the pitch or the detuning of the two oscillators here for the left and right channel.
[03:48.720] The noise is static and predictable. So every time you are on the same frame or the same
[03:58.960] position in your track, the noise is exactly the same. So it's predictable and you can influence
[04:04.880] the noise at will. So for instance, you can go in here and choose a repitch for the sample.
[04:12.720] And maybe make it slower or pitch it down, basically. So you get them one more like a low-fi feel.
[04:30.800] Maybe use some reverb.
[04:38.880] Okay, so you can use this basically to bring in a lot of movement, a lot of small little rhythmic
[05:06.960] elements to a pad sound. And as you can see here, you can use the modulation handle of the
[05:14.880] follower for basically everything, for the amplitude, for the pitch, for some of the settings.
[05:20.400] Maybe you add a lot of more operators here and mix them together and then you can
[05:27.280] modulate a lot of different stuff and bring in a lot of movement. What you also can do is of
[05:33.520] course you can use some kind of filtering here. Maybe use a band pass in front of the follower.
[05:42.880] So you can use basically multiple frequency bands for different modulations. So you can go in
[05:54.160] here and you have basically different signals. Maybe use some of the lower bands for
[06:06.320] for the usual stuff here and some of the upper bands you can change the pitch or something like this.
[06:28.080] So there's a lot of stuff you can try out here. That's just an example.
[06:32.080] And of course you can modify the noise sample also like you want. So for instance you can go
[06:41.680] for a drum loop. Let's search something here. Do you have one of the ten? Go for this may.
[06:50.960] Something like this, I don't know. Slice, one on the 20 and oh one on the 22, okay.
[07:09.680] So let's try this. Maybe use an volume slider in front of the.
[07:23.040] So now I have some kind of gate effect which can be interesting but you can hear the sine wave
[07:50.720] is now exactly the same time active when here a drum hits occur and that's of course what you
[07:58.480] want but sometimes you want to fill in the gaps and then you can maybe go for a long delay
[08:05.440] and use it in front of the follower. So we can delay the signal a bit so we have basically a trigger
[08:12.400] signal in between the drum hits. Okay so you can basically influence everything you want to get
[08:35.760] some kind of gate signal or modulation signal out of noise sounds, drum sounds or even another
[08:46.560] pad sound if you want. So not only the noise sample decides how to influence the sound in tonality,
[08:55.680] you also have a rhythmic influence. So it doesn't matter when you press the keys, it's always
[09:01.760] perfectly in sync when you use the follower here for the attenuate or for the volume to decide
[09:07.760] when to raise the volume. So you're always in sync with the beat or with the noise sample you
[09:14.240] are using right and this gives you a lot of possibilities so when I removed the delay here again
[09:20.960] and let's let's play here. So I can press any time I want because of the noise sample here,
[09:32.080] it's always in sync. So now we can use in front of the Poly-Grid here in a pitch E8 or basically
[09:41.840] and dial in here some funny timing signatures for instance your milliseconds which is completely
[09:51.680] off the grid right. We can even use a random modulator here
[10:21.520] to change the timing of the arpeggiator and it doesn't matter because it's always in sync because
[10:31.280] the noise sample decides when to raise the volume. So when I blend in here the drum loop
[11:02.160] so it's basically perfect, perfect for influencing sounds to just use your drum loop you're
[11:19.520] using in your grand project to drag it into the Poly-Grid and use it for all kinds of modulations.
[11:26.400] So another option would be to convert this audio signal here in this case our drum loop into a
[11:33.200] gate signal and use that gate signal to trigger other drums or other synth sounds. So basically just
[11:40.480] converted to gate signal and use that gate signal. So we have our drum loop here still running
[11:45.920] and we go back here to the grid and I removed all the unnecessary modules here we still have the
[11:51.680] audio side chain and the sign and ADSR and an output and we now use the amplitude here to go
[12:01.040] into a gain so we can change the volume which is always nice to have and I show you how this
[12:09.040] looks like on a graph so I'm using some oscilloscope so you can see what's going on okay.
[12:13.840] So go this to slow so you can see we have our drum loop here flowing in from the side chain
[12:23.360] and then we use a follower again and then I use an oscilloscope again so you can see what's
[12:31.520] going on. So you can see all the small details are now smoothed out so we have a much more
[12:40.000] simpler output as you can see and then we going into yeah maybe a gate length device which looks
[12:51.360] like this and then we go back into oscilloscope and go to slow okay. So now you can see we have no
[13:02.000] signal here okay that's because we only get a gate signal when the signal is at 1 or I think
[13:11.200] at least above 50% or above 0.5 so we raised the volume here and when you reach the 0.5 line here
[13:22.640] you can see we have a trigger signal now okay and this trigger signal only knows two states and
[13:29.280] this is 0 and 1 so we can use basically now the gain here the volume module as some kind of threshold
[13:39.920] so when we go above the 0.5 line then we have a gate signal everything below is no signal as you
[13:49.520] can see okay and this way you can use it as a some kind of threshold but now we have your
[13:59.200] a gate signal and that's the signal you can use for the for the envelope for instance
[14:06.240] so this way you can extract the groove maybe from some obscure drum loop or some noise samples
[14:20.000] you you sampled maybe a ping pong ball or something like this or some exponential rhythms you
[14:28.320] trying to use in your songs so you can sample this and extract the groove we are this
[14:35.040] outside chain a follower and maybe a gate length module to extract actually the gate signals
[14:43.040] right so the wrap this video up I want to give you some examples at the end so I'm using
[14:48.800] you to Poly-Grid patches the first one is basically our trigger example here I use the delay
[14:56.080] to just offset the trigger signals and I'm generating a gate signal and I'm using this to trigger
[15:02.960] this envelope here which then modulates the Sine-Oscillator and it produces some kind of bass
[15:10.960] and this is how it sounds and also the the bass sound itself is modulated here as you can see
[15:21.760] I'm using the face input here of the oscillator so I'm shaping a bit the Sine-Oscillator
[15:27.520] or face shaping or face distorting the Sine-Oscillator with the drum loop a little bit so I
[15:34.320] get some nice texture on top of the sine wave
[15:44.240] so you can hear the drum loop shining through a little bit okay and then the second track here
[15:50.240] is basically just some quads so it's our simple example here where I'm using the follower
[16:04.880] for the side chain and the follower decides how to modulate the skew default and
[16:11.280] the attenuate or at the volume basically the amplitude so then in front of the Poly-Grid I'm
[16:21.280] using an applicator here with the unusual timings to milliseconds and attenuate or the follower
[16:28.320] decides basically to synchronize the amplitude with the drum loop so this is how it sounds
[16:47.200] inside the clip here I have just a quart so I'm choosing the notes I want to play
[16:52.160] but the rhythm and the color and so on is decided by the noise signal or the drum loop
[16:57.040] so we can of course then switch quads and yeah play different melodies on top right
[17:03.600] so at the end here I have a ping-pong ball example where I just downloaded some random ping-pong ball
[17:10.160] sound from a youtube video and this is how it sounds
[17:12.960] so that's it for this video I hope you learned something new and I showed you a new possible
[17:33.600] way of creating sounds, shaping sounds with drum loops and noise samples and yeah if you like
[17:40.640] the video then please leave a like and subscribe to the channel think about the subscription or
[17:45.200] I'm Patreon it helps me a lot and I see you in the next video thanks for watching and bye