I keep getting production dialog delivered straight from GoPro cameras. It's built-in mono mic with auto gain control records at 48k straight to AAC. Typically it's a nightmare of intelligibility requiring a good deal of finagling and a great deal of understanding on the behalf of the producer. But the other day I found a random silver lining.
On my latest show, I was clearing out dual-mono tracks by flipping the phase on the odd channel. Despite being recorded in mono to the GoPro's file, the editor laid the GoPro audio into the OMF on 2 channels. As I played it down, all I heard was the rapid glip-glop-bleep-blip of what I assumed was the AAC compression artifacts. A perfect building block for data, menu feedback / digital interface designs. So I strung out all the GoPro audio at the end of the session and bounced the result. I pulled a couple bleeps for the map graphics that were in the show, they worked great. Here it is with some down and dirty L1 to bump it up to listenable levels via soundcloud.
The thing is, I don't know how this happened. If I record pretty much anything mono, convert it to mp3/AAC, import it, duplicate it, and flip the phase on one, I'd be left with nothing but silence. I'm kinda thinking this out as I type, but I just did a quick experiment to prove my theory. Sure enough, no matter what bit rate I converted a mono signal to, when you dupe it and flip it, just as you would expect, you're left with silence. So what happened in this process? I have no idea. Perhaps someone out here has a GoPro with which they can try to achieve similar results.
Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued. So I figured I'd toss this out to all of you. What's your favorite trick to come up with new "digital" sounds for "technology" (data transmission, menu interaction, display readouts, robot-speak etc). Do you have stories of hidden gems like this that you stumble upon? Do you go with classic arp/synth sounds? Do you prefer nature-based technology and process organic sounds? Where do you start?