This weekend I’m testing out the beta form of Audio Damage’s pending chorus plugin, Fluid. One of the things I usually do when I’m beta testing effects is set up an automated three or four bar A/B project in Audiomulch and then run various permutations of the effect’s parameters and various input sounds to get a good sense of what the effect can do.

This is an example of that, an organ drone, run four bars dry then four bars through Fluid. And you’ll note, a pretty nice sounding chorus.

I then often proceed to fiddle about, to get a sense of how the effect fits in to a musical context. I start layering a few tracks and then layering other effects in. As I was doing this today, I set up a droning sound that I ended up listening to for a reasonably long time. I have three sound sources, the organ drone from above, a copy of it running at a lower pitch, and a sine wave that bounced between 400Hz and 440Hz every four bars.

The dry sound mixed sounds like this.

Not changing the sounds at all, but sticking in some effects, it sounds like this.

The affected version, as it happens, employs only Audio Damage effects (sorry for the apparent shillery, but they really are the first things I turn to, because they are good, I know them inside out, and have them all). The organ drone was followed by Fluid, Pulse Modulator, and Dubstation. I created a second channel with the organ drone run dry. The third channel was the lower register organ drone followed by Fluid, and the fourth channel was the sine wave followed by Liquid, Audio Damage’s recently released flanger plugin.

The most immediately obvious change is the expanded stereo width, a common side effect of using modulated delays, and in this case, primarily caused by Liquid on the sine wave. More interesting to me is the creation of the pulsing upper harmonics, which if you listen to it closely sounds slightly like an attack heavy sound played in reverse. That sound, which feels to me like a separate voice in the mix, is entirely a result Pulse Modulator and accentuated by Dubstation, created by the effect’s distortion stage and complex amplitude modulation.

The original, dry sound gets dull quickly if you listen to it looped at length, but as a result of the added dimension and frequencies created by the effects, I found I could listen to it looped for a long time, despite it on paper being the same stretch of music.

Much of the SIGHUP way of making music is based on the method in this example, taking a single sound source and building as much of a complete orchestration out if its various affected copies.

Just got back from the show. All things considered, I think it went really well.

There were a few hiccups in the set, probably only noticeable to me. The club’s PA was way more sensitive than the line in from my audio card at home (where I’m accustomed to hearing my stuff mostly), so I was running things much quieter than I’m used to. As a result, in places where I was expecting the filter and fuzz pedals to go off and do their own thing, they didn’t, since the input wasn’t as massively loud as normal. So, there were a few times I went quieter than I was expecting (mostly near the end, the middle pause was intentional). I’m also reasonably sure I bumped the BPM setting in the Kaoss Pad while setting up, because I think the samples played from the KP3 are much slower and at a lower pitch than they were supposed to be. But, listening back to it, the set didn’t suffer for it.

I didn’t use the contact mic in the end, for some reason it sounded awful in sound check, and mostly just picked up on mains hum (I think the low volume was the issue again, because it didn’t seem to interact with the filter or fuzz pedals much at the time). I’ll have to rethink how I’ll work that out for the next time.

I’ve recorded the audio. Two things to note, it wasn’t recorded lossless since my recorder set itself to record at 320kbps MP3 without consulting with me. Also, apparently I hadn’t compensated on the phones out level for the lower overall volume on all incoming channels, so I recorded everything at around -25dB, which was really quiet. So, I had to boost the signal a lot, and possibly some bass frequencies were lost as a result. Which actually worked out okay since there was no clipping in the recording. The recording was run off my mixer, so didn’t capture the reverb of the club and isn’t nearly as loud as the set sounded to me at the time.

Several folk said they liked what they heard afterwards, so it all gets chalked up as a success in my book. Since I’m all kitted up for it, I expect there will be more SIGHUP live shows soon.

Here is the audio, roughly twenty minutes. Remember to play it loud and in a semi-large room with maybe 20 people in it for verisimilitude’s sake:…

Someone was there with a video camera, so there’s always a chance it’ll turn up on Youboob, too.

I posted this at another forum, but thought it should be up here, too.

An outline of what I’ll be using tonight:

1 – mixer
2 – MPC500
3 – Kaoss pad 3
4 – contact mic connected to the kp3. Haven’t decided if I’ll use an mbira with it or just use it in the palm of my hand.
5 – Devi Ever Spectacular Aenima running from a send on the mixer
6 – Jomox M-Resonator running on a feedback loop to the SP AE
7 – Devi Ever LP (which I’m now thinking I might stick in front of the SP AE instead)
8 – Ibanez DML10 II digital modulation delay
9 – my iRiver iHP120 to record the output from the phones jack. I’ll be recording to a lossless .wav file, but unfortunately much of the sound will be dual mono, since the mixer only has a mono send (and all the effects but for the Jomox filter), so it just mixes the mono return signal to both channels. I’ve only tested recording this way once, so hopefully it works out.

And if this whole noisedrone thing doesn’t pan out, I’m well kitted to do a techno set.

All of it fits into my Korg Prophecy carrying bag, so it’s reasonably portable, although a little on the heavy side. My only real concern for tonight is how quickly I can plug it all together. I have 10 minutes set up time, give or take, and that’s eight things to take out of a bag, set up and nine cables to plug in, in semi-dark conditions. +1 for laptops on that front.

But then, -1 for laptops:

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