Machine Online Documentation
CREATING YOUR OWN PRESETS
There are a number of ways
to invent new effects using SFX Machine.
- Start with an existing
effect and modify it
Make it more subtle or more outrageous.
- Combine an existing effect
with other effects
For example, the Gliss Up + Filter Sweep Preset starts with a Delay
Modulation pitch shift, then runs the result through a feedback loop
so the pitch keeps shifting higher and higher. Then the output goes
through a filter whose cutoff frequency is slowly being swept by a sine
wave, bringing out different parts of the spectrum as the pitch spirals
upward. You can use the modules left over to add even more effects.
You can also try out composite
effects by running SFX Machine multiple times with different settings.
For example, process your selection using the Sitar Drone Effect,
then call SFX Machine again and use the 2 to 1 Flange. You can make
interesting noise textures by sequentially using one effect after
another until the original sound becomes unrecognizable. If you find
a series of effects that are useful together, try combining them into
a single Preset.
- Add the Envelope Follower
to an existing effect
You can use the Envelope Follower to make almost any Preset less
mechanical, so it breathes with the music.
- Use the Randomizer
Click "Randomize" over and over until you get something
interesting. If an intriguing effect is swamped by noise, try to isolate
the interesting part by turning off modules or outputs one by one.
Then analyze how the patch
works. Turning modules off to see how they affect the sound is a good
way to understand what's happening. Once you figure out the basic
workings of a patch, simplify it and tweak it to suit your desires.
- Play "What If..."
What if you used the pitch of a sound to control its panning? What
if the amplitude of a sound controlled the speed and depth of its vibrato?
What if you became a total SFX Machine virtuoso?
- Let the material dictate
Start with a sound sample and ask yourself what it wants. Listen
with your mind's ear.
- Design a patch on paper
It may be easier to design a complicated patch by drawing it out
first, then translating the drawing to Edit Screen modules and settings.
- Debug a patch by selectively
If a complicated patch is not giving the desired result, try disabling
the outputs and outputting various intermediate control signals instead.
For example, you could route the Envelope Follower's output to the left
channel out and send the Raise to Power output to the right. Then click
the Process button and view the waveforms from the host program. This
should help you see what each section of the Preset is doing. Afterwards,
use the host's Undo command to undo SFX Machine's processing. Then invoke
SFX Machine again and correct the problem.
- Start with an idea and
figure out how to implement it
The idea could be for a musical effect, a sound effect, a simulation
of a real or imagined acoustic process, or a purely electronic effect
anywhere between music, sound design and noise.
Ideas for new Presets
Here are some ideas to start
- Simulate ocean waves rolling
in and crashing on the shore.
- Simulate imaginary landscapes.
- Implement a brightness follower
(Envelope Follow the output of a high-pass filter). What could you do
- Make a set of commonly used
- Implement additive synthesis
by mixing sine waves in a harmonic series (e.g., 100 Hz, 200 Hz, 300
Hz... 800 Hz). Link some of the output amplitudes to sliders and try
varying the proportions of the different harmonics. Look at the resulting
waveforms after you click "Process." See if you can simulate
a triangle wave or square wave using additive synthesis.
- Make a Doppler Effect simulation
(with changes in volume and pitch as an imaginary object passes by).
- Pan a signal left and right
using the precedence effect, in which the perceived location of a sound
source is dominated by which speaker's sound reaches the ear first.
- Make a Rotary Speaker simulation
(using amplitude and delay modulation, with the rate of the modulation
itself being slowly modulated).
- Create pseudo-vocal sounds
with random pitches of a harmonically rich tone and two to five modulated
bandpass filter formants.
- Pseudo-stereo. Use your
host program to save a mono sound as stereo (same on both channels).
Then use comb filters or alternate filter banks to separate the sound
into two channels which, when added together, yield the original mono
- Simulate the frequency response
of a car radio.
- Simulate short-wave radio
static and chirps.
- Simulate a phonograph record's
pops, clicks and background static.
- Simulate the frequency response
of a telephone (100 Hz -- 4 kHz). Then make separate Presets to imitate
a phone ringing, a dial tone, various touch tones, and the "You
have reached a number that has been changed or is no longer in service"
- Simulate the physics or
imitate the sound of an acoustic process, such as a plucked string.
The tutorial chapter gives the example of filtered white noise = blowing-across-a-
bottle. What other physical processes can you simulate?
- Simulate mathematical chaos/audio
- Simulate guitar amplifier
- Create short sounds suitable
for use with a sampler.
- Make techno/modular synthesis
effects that slowly evolve over time, with changes within changes.
If you implement new Presets,
send us a copy to put on the SFX Machine web page!
to SFX Machine Online Documentation