If you have my Loupe, Mirage and Frame granular samplers you are probably, like me, a relentless hunter of sample material to transform. Here are a few resources I discovered while browsing the WATMM (We Are The Music Makers) forums.
First off, the OLPC free sound samples page is several months’ worth of downloading, sifting and listening. And all of it, as far as I can tell, is licensed Creative Commons – attribution, allowing commercial use.
Next, the Prelinger archive at archive.org offers an embarrassment of riches for creative sampling – want some voices saying strange out of context things, and oddball scratchy soundtracks? Here’s your source. All public domain. Download the mp2 or mp4 files and open them in, say, Reaper to import and use the audio segments of the files. Reaper is also a fantastic way to cut up and export chunks of large files.
Another trick I like to use is to browse Freesound by license. There’s a lot of stuff licensed public domain or CC-attribution. For example, here is a search for field recordings with Creative Commons 0 licensing (no rights reserved).
Happy exploring, and if you have your own favorite free or CC sample sources, please link us up in the comments!
I found a terrific little dubby echo here courtesy of Boscomac and decided to hotwire it into my Paramdrum ensemble.
I added a router to the beat delay like so:
Whenever one of the beat repeat buttons is engaged, the “compare” module detects that its output is greater than zero – this changes the multiplier from zero to one on the extra outputs where the sound is directed to the Echophonic effect. If you have ParamDrum it’s a quick and easy modification. This way, the dry signal doesn’t normally go through the Echophonic and it becomes a haze that drifts around the stuttering when you engage the beat repeat.
This is one of the many reasons I like Reaktor rather than compiled VSTs – you can do little tweaks like this to existing ensembles as the mood strikes you. Here’s how it sounds:
This uses the samples from an earlier edition of Paramdrum, the TR edition, which has a sample map of simpler, cleaner drum hits – analogue sounding but with a morphing twist. You can download the TR edition samples for free here. Of course, I think they sound best in Paramdrum. 🙂
Like what you’re hearing? Buy Paramdrum here. (You need a full working installation of Reaktor 5 to use this instrument, not just Reaktor player)
(Download Boscomac’s Echophonic effect free here – he has lots of other very cool goodies too)
ParamDrum is a fun and fast way to create unique sounding beats in Reaktor. It’s based on three granular samplers with built in parameter automation and variable length and speed step sequencers. The value of a step gives the probability that the step will trigger as the sequence plays, creating endless variations.
The third edition adds several carefully selected refinements.
All recordable parameters are now mouse-automatable by clicking and dragging on the indicator, perfect for when you’re stuck with a laptop but no MIDI controller.
Smooth and swing are now static parameters, making room for envelope decay and sample start as recordable parameters. Try modulating sample start with a melodic sample to build the foundation of a track right in ParamDrum.
A “Max Vel” switch for each sampler allows full velocity for each step, so step value affects only probability.
A virtual analogue “sub” kick unit has been added for layering a little extra earthquake with your sampled kicks.
Aside from these improvements the rest of the instrument will be familiar to previous users and retains the ultra fast and fun workflow of earlier editions. The PDF manual still applies, and new users are also advised to watch this video to get an overview of the instrument:
Requirements: A computer capable of running Reaktor 5.5. ParamDrum is extremely CPU efficient and unless your computer was hewn from flint by neanderthals you should be more than fine. It takes 2.7% CPU on my 2009 3gHz iMac.
Mac users take note: I now recommend SimplyRar for unarchiving password prrotected RAR archives on OS X. Newer versions of The Unarchiver sometimes give error messages when dealing with password protected RAR files.
I recorded a bunch of samples in a stone tunnel on Mt. Royal here in Montreal a while back – stomps, tin cans, bottles, plastic containers, sticks and stones and etc. clanking and knocking around. Here are some of them cut up into individual hits for your percussioneering pleasure.
And here’s a beat I made with them, loaded into a new version of ParamDrum.
The new version will be available this week as soon as I make a few more demo presets. Notable additions are: a sub bass control to add some extra oomph to your bass samples, and decay and sample-start controls.
UPDATE: daaaamn, I have to stop working in headphones. The bass ain’t what I thought. I have to redo this with a better kick that kicks.
Most binary file types just give you white noise if you try the old “open them in an audio editor” trick to make samples for Ryoji Ikeda or Alva Noto type tracks. However I’ve discovered that Reaktor ensembles lend themselves particulary well to this misuse and often sound extremely varied and unpredictable. Probably has something to do with the variety of embedded information – primary level structures, core level structures, samples, bitmaps and who knows what else.
UPDATE: some more details on opening binaries in Audacity – FIRST, TURN DOWN THE VOLUME. Raw binary files like this can be as grating and ear damaging as anything Merzbow ever came up with. Careful with your ears and equipment.
in the main Audacity menu, go to file -> import -> raw data, browse to your file, and open it. You will get a dialog asking for the bit depth, “endianness”, and number of channels. Experiment with different options but 16 bit stereo is a good start.