Not so secret if you share!

And how do you use it?


I LOVE Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch. I used to run it in my Windows XP days, but when I switched to an Intel Mac, there wasn't a working binary. Until recently! This UB isn't quite as stable as the Windows version, but it still works.

Paul's Stretch is old school. You set the settings, and then hit render, and wait for it to chug out your sound. Not good for short stretches, such as you might warp in Ableton. This is for creating surreal, extreme stretches. Take a 10 second clip and make it 20 minutes, 20 hours, 20 days. Etc.

I love to use this as a starting point, and then hack up the stretch with tremolo or gating effects in a DAW.

Paul's extreme sound stretch

  • Your question caused me to check out Paul's Stretch for the first time. WOW. That is some insanity, right there. Thanks for the recommendatiob! Mar 9, 2010 at 22:25
  • Thanks for that, NoiseJockey. I'm glad you liked it. Granular synthesis at its easiest. And very useful for churning out long, subtly evolving soundscapes. (I once had to atmospherically "score" a very, very, long play. This saved my ass.)
    – MtL
    Mar 11, 2010 at 22:37
  • Big cheers for this post. Going to try it out after the weekend. Missed the Mac version when I first read the post. Going to have some fun now methinks!
    – ianjpalmer
    Jun 6, 2010 at 19:24
  • Whoa! Thanks for the img, Ian. I appreciate your work around here to spiffy things up.
    – MtL
    Jun 10, 2010 at 3:22
  • wow! real gem for me - thanx a lot! Jun 17, 2010 at 19:39

41 Answers 41


I love SoundConverter for Mac. It allows batch file converting in a slew of audio formats. It doesn't change the name of the file (only the file type), and it doesn't add this annoying _1 like iTunes does. A+


BT Izotope Stutter is an amazing tool for design


My software secret weapon is Wave Arts Panorama. I always achieve good results (so far) when I use it to place a sound far away or to the side. It has mediocre results with putting the sound behind and the coloration is noticeable but it works for me.


Izotope plugs (RX for the win), Logic Scuplture physical modelling synth, Ohmicide multiband distortion unit, NI Reaktor, Camel Alchemy and Soundtorch


PD (its free) and Max/Msp (its not free (500$) but you can just use PD) Csound/C++ (this is free also) why do you need money when you can learn how to make every thing your self (your so lazy) : )

  • Because you can't make money by making/playing sound by engineering sound software or equipment. Plus, it's (really) difficult. Jun 7, 2013 at 18:05

Cecilia and Metasynth are easily two of my favorites. I connect really well with GUI's that have user drawable envelopes for parameters.


After reading this article and watching the video tutorial on designingsound.org, my new software secret weapon is Battery.



Wow, I'm the first to mention Native Instruments Kontakt? It's an extremely powerful tool for Sounddesign. I use it mainly to load up samples from libraries or self-made samples. I do a lot of sounddesign for kids' television shows. With Kontakt I can manipulate my own sounds on the fly as I'm rolling the video. It gives an expressive dimension to the sounds. And there's also a lot of extra possibilities thanks to the scripting-processor. You can use factory-scripts or buy third-party scripts or make your own. With these scripts you can almost control anything.


My main software tool for sound sculpting the last few years has been SuperCollider. It is an audio programming language, so as you might imagine it has a heavy learning curve especially if you haven't programmed before, but very well worth the effort. It's great because it's free, open source, has excellent and active user / developer communities, and can be used both as a "toy" to make unpredictable sound processing or synthesis events, as well as to build very intentional and complex systems. When you think, oh I wish something existed that did _____, chances are you can build it with SuperCollider.

FScape is something I've only just started playing with but has already led me to some really great sound places, I look forward to incorporating it more. Very much along the lines of SoundHack.

Other free "secret" things I use reasonably frequently... Loris, amazing for morphing two sounds together, but requires some Python programming and a lot of patience. ISSE requires some work but wonderful tool for source separation.

+1 for Mammut, SPEAR, Paulstretch, and SoundHack


Pete Batchelor (one of my lecturers from Uni) made this great patch called Clatter which he's given away for free: http://www.peterbatchelor.com/maxClatterdownload.html

Get a tonne of source material together, make sure it's well edited, and use this to generate new material with it by via gestural movements.

Record the results, process those recordings, then edit the best bits and do it all again. Rinse and repeat, it just keeps spitting more material.

Also worth checking out is Trevor Wishart's Composer's Desktop Project: http://www.composersdesktop.com

Takes some digging to figure it all out, especially seeing as you have to use the terminal to run it. But luckily BT did a tutorial on it for Dubspot: https://youtu.be/vAOBnBjvXmA


LossyWAV. If for some reason you need to archive music in a lossy format, process it with LossyWAV on the lowest quality setting, and then convert it to FLAC. The result is a filesize comparable to other lossy formats like AAC, MP3, Vorbis, etc used at a high bitrate.


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