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I'm doing a little voice design and wondering if you folks might have any suggestions for this one. It's creature made of rock, and I want to have some of that embodied in his voice. Already got the dialogue recorded, so just looking for some post processing ideas here.

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Have you already worked with the usual suspects? convolving or vocoding some of the voice with some rock debris?

I have these heavy cast iron dutch ovens that when you turn the lid sounds like an ancient stone door, a layer like that may help. I would probably do some dirt and debris drops when there is a break in the speaking. Please post when finished! Hope this helps.

  • yeah, I tried at least what I think of as "the usual suspects" (sidechain/gating rock layers, vocoding, convolving) but it may just be a matter of more trial and error till I get the right sound. Unfortunately can't post any samples until the NDA is lifted on this project. – Bryce Raffle Sound Jun 27 '13 at 19:21
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    I'm not sure if you have a dog or not, but I've gotten some great rock slide sounds by messing around in his food in the big container. It's a very dry and crumbly sound, pitched down sounds like landslide. From what I can tell though, your original question is not just how to make the voice "monstery", but how to make it more "rocky" right? – Dave Jun 28 '13 at 3:52
  • interesting idea! Love it. And yeah, exactly; I've never had much trouble making monster voices, but this one was so specific I really wanted to get some input on bringing the "rock" sounds into this guy. – Bryce Raffle Sound Jun 29 '13 at 2:10
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Here's an idea - if you've got some rock movement noises to mix in with the vocal, you can use an envelope follower on the voice to control the volume of the extra sounds you want to add in. This idea could also be expanded so rock sounds to adapt with the voice; chop the vocal into vowels and consonants, lay them on different tracks and have the envelope of each mix in a different rock sound. Could even be that you use the envelope to mix in some convolution too. I had some success using rock and metal impacts recorded with a contact mic as IR's recently, so you could also try that.

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    Holy crap that's a great idea. – Dave Jun 28 '13 at 12:17
  • that IS a great idea! Will have to try it out and see how that works. – Bryce Raffle Sound Jun 29 '13 at 2:12
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kind of as Mark said, try an envelope follower on rock sounds... The crucial part will be cutting the right rock movement sounds that match the energy of the dialogue... Maybe a few tracks of rocks are needed, one for plosives, another for general gravel movement, another for breaths etc...

As for envelope following, this doesn't have to involve plugins - trace the waveform of the dialogue using the pencil tool, then copy that volume automation and paste it (in sync) onto your tightly selected and edited/synced rock sounds.... then delete the automation off the dialogue and you will have rock sounds that follow the volume/energy in sync... You'll have to be careful with the balance of the rocks sounds, so it doesn't negatively effect intelligibility...

(i'd also process the dialogue/breaths with subharmonic processing - dbx120 or LowEnder)

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How were the vocals recorded? When I think of a 'rock creature' speaking I have the sound in my head of a guy with a deep, gravelly(no pun intended!) boomy voice speaking quite slow and deliberate. I guess if it was just a little creature it might sound totally different! Just wondering how you approached the recording of the voices in the first place.

  • yeah, it's a very deep, level speaking voice - somewhat "Optimus Prime" – Bryce Raffle Sound Jun 27 '13 at 20:19
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    In that case I'd try some multiband compression and low end enhancement a la RBass to make the voice bigger. Certainly reverb/delay will help as well -- not necessarily just as a mixing tool to situate the character in the right space, but more as part of the design of the voice itself to beef it up. – Alex Jun 27 '13 at 23:19
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I recall that fantasy rock creature voices in video games e.g. the Warcraft series are often simply fast LFO-controlled (I guess a square wave shape) amplitude modulation (could be also ring modulation) on the voice of a suitable voice actor. It adds the grittiness that makes the "rock" in "rock creature".

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