I'm trying to stretch out water to make it so that it is kind of on repeat. Only a certain portion of it. How do you do that, with a compressor or EQ?? Seriously, what kind of layering techniques would you tell someone to do and stuff if there was a ray gun to your head that would turn you inside out in a half hour?

Or to time blur the .wav/aiff

  • 3
    @Chris, from what I understand you trying to make your water segment last longer and loop for a given amount of time? Then you mentioning compressor and EQ just blurs it all for me... Commented Apr 12, 2011 at 22:59
  • I'm kinda wanting to make it stretch out and blur I wasn't sure which tools were recommended for a thing like this so I tossed a few out
    – Chris
    Commented Apr 12, 2011 at 23:12
  • are you hearing a click-track when you loop it?
    – Tapper7
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 13:13

8 Answers 8


I am more than certain this will give you a cool idea: the cicada principle (via one Tim Prebble)

... aaaaaaand if repetition isn't your thing, try Notam Mammut ?

  • Great posts, georgi.m…tanx!
    – Chris
    Commented Apr 12, 2011 at 23:34

Duplicating and cross fading might work depending on how long your audio file is?


  • cross-fading only lessens the click-track - to eliminate, more precise techniques are warranted. lining up the sound-waves on magnification for one....
    – Tapper7
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 13:16

Tried and true methods include:

  • Duplicating and crossfading
  • Duplicating and reversing
  • Combination of the above 2
  • Varispeeding to make longer sections, then using them as layers underneath the original.

Fancier methods include:

  • PT elastic time
  • Paulstretch renders
  • Although reversing a water track could prove quite sketchy though, much in the same vain that glass can't simply be reversed to extend the effect? I guess it all depends upon the clarity of the water (e.g. a constant 'white noise' of a waterfall would probably reverse fine, babbling brook not so well) Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 19:25

Have you got anything you can do Granular synthesis with? I've found that can work quite well with water if you only have a small amount of source material to work with.

Also adding a little white noise might help, perhaps with a slow-moving LFO on a filter or on the amplitude.


Check out GRM Freezing; if set carefully it can create an endless track from only a short source sample.

  • That is an awesome idea. Has anyone ever done that before with any other plugins?
    – Chris
    Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 6:36

If you're on Mac OSX, these are similar to the GRM Tools but free:




I started building my own solution - it works. Preliminary research said this was impossible sans heavy-hitter software & hardware -- particularly to create sustained sample loops that have NO audible clicks or noise. --These are the "letters" that make up volume I of the 1st "book" of any soundfont instrument library.

The commonly-suggested "work-around" was to double or triple up on the sample, to cross-fade their cues & releases , layer them altogether...and at some point "render" (cram) this mess in MONO! Blecch!

Despite best efforts to sustain notes evenly & long enough to get samples to loop naturally, My soloing is terminally dynamic - even across a 10th of a second -- so the click is MERCILESS in the sample loop. <100th of a decibel goes PECK PECK PECK!!!!

So I returned to design - (it's only impossible because people trying to sell me software SAYs it is, nu?) - what IS a "sustained A above the staff???" -- I mean WHAT is it ACTUALLY, in REAL LIFE? (an Object-Oriented software/problem solving model)

--The note is a wave. In stereo, it's two waves - a double-helix...that's abstract enough to get me away from HOW and into WHAT & WHY.... I immediately thought of sine & cosine waves and that what they express are the degrees (or radians) of a circle. to loop seamlessly, their shape and size (freq & period) must construct a perfect circle. no wonder my best "A" cannot loop - a human can't build a perfect circle w/o a tool - the compass.

My compass was to isolate a small enough sample; calculate their "zero points" -- then stack copies of the sample back-to-back, choosing a good sample makes the waves loop PERFECTLY. This is probably not a break-thru; but however ProTools kills clicks ...their system is gonna be close to the way I do it (under the hood of course);

Here's what that "A" looks like following this algorithm. enter image description here

Seamless, click-less, noise-less. Nice curves -- No surprises. Perfect. too perfect -- my goal is emulated authenticity; but w/o this dynamically-void loop, brass sound libraries are impossible.

The sample looks cool & sound good - it's no big leap in logic to assume that visual aesthetics & audio aesthetics are linked in a fundamental way.

The downside - building "Instrument(s)" in Viena is brutally complex-Learning the in's & out's of this system will take some time.

here we see a clickless loop imported into my sf tool -- enter image description here

As for buying a soundfont--making one myself will lend more artistic meaning-- again -- returning to the abstract nee human side of things.

open source tools - Audacity and Viena


Granular synthesis might work well since it deals with similar time segments as the "bubbles" or "plops" in the water. I.e. it may be able to generate even more water by crossfading very short segments randomly together. One just needs to get the settings right.

Granular synthesis is also used for time stretching.

Additionally you may want to put a pitch shifter on it that does a small sweeping motion in order to make it appear more non-repetitive.

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