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I've become interested in creating and playing around with atmospheric sounds and beats. Particularly an "untuned radio" effect, which I think is called single sideband modulation. Aside from playing around with FruityLoops years ago I have zero experience with anything related to sound design. Can someone tell me how best to get started pursuing this? Software recommendations, anything like that? I use Windows 7 computers.

Thank you!

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Great to hear about your newly discovered hobby! Sound designers are truly the scientists of the music and audio world and they lay the groundwork for music composers all over the world.

One of the most widely-used tools amongst sound designers (at least for me anyway) is their DAW. DAW's are excellent sound design environments jam packed full of all different kinds of effects such as delays, reverbs, modulations (chorus, phaser, etc), vocoders, and many more! Using these plugins that are already installed in your DAW, you can create insanely cool and unique effects racks that you can apply to any sound to create something amazing! Some plugins that you may want to add to your DAW for sound design would be multi-band resonators, convolution reverbs, and frequency shifters (as well as ring modulators). Convolution Reverb plugins work extremely well if you want to create atmospheric sound sources or just plain weird sounds!

There's also a wide-variety of dedicated sound design software out there that you could look into purchasing in the future, some include:

  • U & I Software's MetaSynth (my personal favorite)
  • Native Instruments' Reaktor
  • 2CAudio's Kaleidoscope
  • Symbolic Sound's Kyma X

When it comes down to it, sound design is all about experimenting with different combinations of effects and processing techniques; there's no "magic tool" when it comes to it. More often then not, the best sounds are often discovered by accident.

I hope I helped you out in anyway, and please, if you have any further questions I'd be more than happy to answer them for you :)

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One thing you might want to consider is getting an ipad. You can run all kinds of virtual instruments on ipad, and if you like one in particular you can get the actual hardware. You can get just about anything virtual on ipad. This is the virtual version of my first synth I got as a kid. http://www.korg.com/us/products/software/ims_20_for_ipad/page_1.php

  • I didn't realize that was available. Thank you! – dev_willis Jan 9 '16 at 18:27

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