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I'm very much into processing of my sound sources (synths, vocals, samples, etc.) to add interest to tracks with uncommon sounds, and like to use effects in ways they weren't really designed for.

However, this means I'm often at a loss for an actual use for something, and the one that has always got me is Ring Modulation.

What are the common uses for Ring Mod?

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For migration to SD please Tim –  Rory Alsop Jan 27 at 16:11
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4 Answers 4

Jeff Beck uses a ring mod to good effect as a subtle, almost-distortion-but-not-quite-distortion, effect for the lead parts on the track Two Rivers off the Guitar Shop album. That's always been my benchmark for using a ring mod in a non-over-the-top way. Just tastefully different.

Set to extremes, some ring mods produce some interesting, bell-like sounds when fed single notes. This video from Fairfield Circuitry is a good example of bell tones, you hear them right at the beginning of the video. It also runs through some pretty interesting examples of ring modulation on guitar.

Ring mods have also gone hand in hand with synthesizers over the years. The ARP Odyssey comes to mind as a good example where it was meant to work as an almost frequency-controlled distortion on the sound.

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If you watch Dr. Who, I believe the voices of the Daleks was created with a Ring Mod. It's great for crazy robotic/computerised effects on voices like that. :)

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This was the first thing I thought of :) EX-TERM-IN-ATE –  Warrior Bob Dec 19 '10 at 19:39
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Ring modulation when applied to speech is good for making robotic/metallic voices

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In synthesis, when you cross two oscillators (RM/AM) this creates a rich spectrum, sometimes disharmonic, which can be a great source for creating some percussion/bells sounds (if finally the source is crossed a third time with a simple AD/ADR envelope).

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