As my first post of what i assume will be many I'd just like to say hello to everyone, what an awesome space.

I'm looking for a good plugin to load active tones into and manipulate in real time in a space. Ideally it would emulate the physics of the movement and therefore the sound (pitch, EQ etc).

For example, i'd be able to use an active hum for a lightsaber, and pull the sound around and the processing would mimic how that sound would work in a space, thus eliminating using a loudspeaker and mic - all in one box.

Anyone come across anything like this?

ps. I was playing with Izotope's Iris and Camel's Alchemist and like them but i'm still missing the ability to move the sound around.

4 Answers 4


There simply isn't a single stand-alone sampler that has enough real-time and modulation flexibility, so most people use modular patcher programs (Reaktor, Max/MSP etc.) for that kind of stuff and more.

I would recommend either Usine or Bidule, because they are the easiest ones to use and can be used as VSTs in addition to running as stand-alone applications. And they can host 3rd party VSTs in patches, so you can throw in e.g. Alchemy and just attach controls to it + add effects and more:



Another option, although a total overkill for just simple sampling, is Kyma.

  • Hadn't heard any of them, they all look amazing, Kyma looks particularly interesting and bidule looks close enough to Max and other patch-bay type plugins I've used. Might give them a go! Cheers! Dec 4, 2012 at 20:31
  • @Paul Especially if your time is limited: go with Usine as it's the most intuitive (it was basically designed to be the easiest one to use in the market for live electronic music and mixing, without compromising in features that users most often look in similar software). Bidule will take more manual reading to get what you want. Regarding the "lightsaber" example in your starting post, see this: youtube.com/watch?v=TlTnLxqxUZs Dec 4, 2012 at 20:47
  • Additionally, if you're looking to simulate movement in space virtually, you'll need to look into something like this: longcat.fr/web/en/prods/h3d-plugin (there may be some alternatives). Otherwise you'd be just mimicking it the best you can with reverbs, pitchshifters, EQ and stuff, which is impossible to get "right", which is why people use the moving mic + (moving) speaker method. Dec 4, 2012 at 21:02
  • Loving that playing Kyma video. Pretty much exactly what I need to do (not working on the next star wars though!) Yeah, this is what I've found. By working purely editing audio in Pro Tools, something fairly good can be created but it takes a lot of work. I've got a lot of scenes coming up where I need to use this technique so would definitely be good to be able to play it in live. I guess the mic + speaker method might have to be employed for now Dec 4, 2012 at 21:21

Try with Ableton Live. It has really nice samplers and via macro you can do anything with the sound on the fly.


  • I love Ableton, yeah, I think what I really want is the Grain Delay control with a sampling function Dec 4, 2012 at 20:33
  • Thanks for that. I've never watched anything by this Ned Rush. Thoroughly enjoyed his approach.
    – MtL
    Dec 5, 2012 at 5:01

I strongly recommend Camel Audio's Alchemy. It's one of the most intuitive interfaces I've found for manipulating the pitch, speed, tonality, and envelope of any sound you upload. The algorithms sound fantastic too. Check out THIS video about the granular synthesis engine...it might be just what you need.


  • Really interesting video, hadn't really looked at Alchemist for a couple of years. I think I might give it another go and have a play about in it Dec 4, 2012 at 20:35

To add to the above comment i would start looking at modular environments like max/MSP.. If you can't afford it or can not (cough, cough) 'aquire' it then you can achieve the same thing in Pure Data, although the learning resources and cold, grey interface do not compare to max/MSP in my eyes.

Maybe start emulating other samplers you like and then start modifying it how you see fit. It's a very steep learning curve and it will take years to get to a point where you can really start realizing big projects but once you start scratching the surface of it the possibilities are endless.

  • Except that Max/MSP and PureData don't interface very easily or reliably (in the case of Pure Data) with e.g. VST hosts, apart from M4L. That's a pretty major limitation and has made many people switch to the more "open" alternatives SynthMaker, Usine and Bidule, and use Max/Pd for what's it's best for (stand-alone stuff). Dec 4, 2012 at 19:58
  • I used to use Max quite a lot in uni so I know it pretty well, the problem is that I'm wanting to do this for a huge commercial project right now and time is a bit limited. I'm definitely wanting to get back into it and also look at Pure Data, i've heard a lot of good things! Dec 4, 2012 at 20:27

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