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A good part of the last year and a half i've spent creating monster sounds. Recording with different people, mics, creating synth patches, etc. One of the most challenging parts is layering different sounds (human, animal) to make them fit as though they're coming from the same source. Effects like a vocoder and volume automation come to mind, all of which work well and have shaped a good part of my sounds.

I was wondering what other tricks some of you are using to morph vocal sounds together?

  • Your question inspired me to give monster creation a try. I used vocoding, reverb, and pitch shifting (enveloped) and made a "cave monster." The reverb has some slap to it that I decided to keep for that "cavey" sound =). The components are: a horse neighing, a ratchet, a jet taking off, and some crinkling of plastic. It's on the SSD soundcloud list as "cave monster". – aross001 Feb 29 '12 at 3:43
  • @aross001 just listened to it and sounds good to me, I like the reverb slap back! Good job. – Alexandre Saba Mar 1 '12 at 22:44
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Skipping the obvious uses of pitch shift and eq...

Editing can be your friend. You don't necessarily need to use the whole sound when building the voice. Selecting only the sections that contain the key timbres your looking to add, and placing them in as "accents" can be a useful trick. For example, a full horse whinny may not be what you need, but a chunk of just one of the oscillations they produce can be a nice lead in to the next component (maybe to a segment from a howler monkey or high pitched, raspy, bird). Experiment with combining granular pieces of sounds with related timbres. You can create some really interesting sounds in a linear fashion, even in only one layer.

If you're going to try using a vocoder, my suggestion is to combine sounds that have a similar sonic trajectory. The closer they match in frequency shifts (they don't have to be exactly the same frequencies, I'm just talking about percentage shifts up and down), the better the two sounds will mesh. Something I did a few months ago makes a decent example of what I'm talking about. I had a set of human vocalizations that I wanted to use to modulate electronic interference noises. I built a patch in Structure that let me play out the electronic interference to get the timbres I wanted (through mapping the raw electronic sounds to my MIDI controller keys), and pitch bend them to match the pitch trajectories (through the MIDI controller's joystick). I took those intermediate sounds and ran them through Waves Morphoder with the original human sounds as the modulator.

Those are my suggestions. I'm looking forward to seeing what interesting techniques other people here use.

  • I like how you mention matching pitch in order to mesh the two. Earlier I used cubase's pitch correct plugin to blend the two harmonically, you hear hit snap in place. Regarding the Structure patch, I imagine the same can be done using Kontakt, I'll give it shot as well. Thanks and good tips! – Alexandre Saba Feb 25 '12 at 3:51
  • @Alexandre - Absolutely. Kontakt should work great for you. I just don't happen to have it. So, Strucutre it is. ;) – Shaun Farley Feb 25 '12 at 12:43
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I think vocoder is very powerful for that. I recently used some distortion (any distort plug-in will do) and it was nice too; but it depends on your final purpose. There is this software -- Spear -- who analyses all content through FFT and you can morph and do a lot of stuff with the frequency content. It's free and it's worth trying it. Good question, btw.

  • everyone likes new toys...especially when they're free. ;) thanks for pointing it out. – Shaun Farley Feb 24 '12 at 18:38
  • FFT is a powerful algorithm! I'm downloading Spear right now. Makes me think of rekkerd.org/dtblkfx which i had totally forgotten about; never reinstalled it... And it's also free 99! Thanks for the suggestion. – Alexandre Saba Feb 25 '12 at 4:00
  • Ah, didn't know about that one. If you go through SPEAR's papers and docs there are some audio examples of morphed instruments. You can use it to take partials and/ or fundamentals, etc... good luck! It would be cool to hear your results on that! – Melissa Pons Feb 25 '12 at 4:43
  • Wow thanks for sharing that software, pretty cool stuff. – Stephen Saldanha Feb 25 '12 at 6:47
  • It's fun to play with the Pitch and Speed parameters and rerecording the output with Sunflower. – Stephen Saldanha Feb 25 '12 at 7:08

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