12in12

12 prototypes in 2021

12in12 is a group formed to the following purpose:

12in12 is a challenge to make 12 prototypes in 12 months. It’s a way for us to develop our creative and technical skills through rapid prototyping. We want to create a habit of deliberate practice and experimentation. This will help us grow as game makers.

Read more about 12in12.

I will try to fit into the group making both audio for others’ projects and my own small prototype-like projects or investigations.


I am recreating dog sounds with percussion/drums. So far, I have mainly used cymbals and snare drums.

I am analysing pitch + eq (spectral view) + envelope + formants of recordings of real dog sounds in order to recreate something similar. And of course, first of all, I am using my ears when I try to find an object sounds that remind me of dog sounds. The analysis is done both by looking at visual analyses of  waveform/spectrogram/pitch and by listening to the formants/vowels and by using impulse reverb to re-create the tone/sonorant/resonance.

NOTE: I am not quite sure why I am doing this. It seems to be a kind of basic geräusch work, and if I used my voice, I would almost for certain get better results. I guess my January project has turned out to be more of a sound matter exercise.

OVERALL CONCLUSION: If you want to imitate a sound , it’s probably better to get it as right as you can in the recording phase – rather than trying to fix it in the mix….

Barking dog

Sound recording

I created the bark of a dog by remembering the sound and then go on to scratch a cymbal with my nail, close-mic recording. The cymbal was pressed hard on a rug in order to avoid a sustained sound. The cymbal had small grooves in it.

Sound design

The recorded sound was processed in the sampler Kontakt. A little bit of compression was applied to make the sound a bit more powerful and then a tad of convolution reverb (re-created from a real dog bark) to give it a bit more tone/resonance.

The real dog bark (see image) was used as a reference while working with the dog sound created from scratching a cymbal.


Whining dog

Sound recording

I have used on of my recordings of a creaking door for this sound. When I have time, I will make a new cymbal recording to use instead.

Sound design

I took a small section of the creaking door and time stretched it. Then I applied the same pitch envelope as I saw in Melodynes analysis of a recording of a real dog whining. On top of that, I layered and shifted the sound in different eq settings – as seen on the spectrum analysis from Izotope RX.

Pitch

EQ/spectral + envelope


Panting dog

Sound design

I have cut up the sample in smaller parts to be able to control attack and release of the sounds. In Kontakt I have made micro variations in the pitch and applied EQ. The result is not exactly close to the real dog panting. I tried applying some formant shift to get closer to the sound coming from the mouth and it did help a bit.


Key learnings

Resolution

The resolution of sample pitch bending isn’t high enough in software. In Logic the resolution of the automation lane is only 127 steps.  In Kontakt, one semitone is divided into 100 cent. This should give higher pitch resolution, but if the fall/rise is just a bit too long, the resolution is still not ample. You can hear the steps in the pitch rise/fall. Perhaps changing the sample rate improve this? Avoiding using Logic automation helped a lot, because the resolution in Kontakt is so much better.

Note: I want to make a sound installation with a note falling one semi tone during one month.

Sample layers

The range of frequencies in the real dog whine is plentiful. When time stretching audio material (by speeding it down in Kontakt, for instance), a lot of the density in the sound disappears and the sound becomes more one-dimensional/artificial. Layering different versions on top of each other in different frequency areas can help that, but it’s difficult to make the sample layers appear as one collective sound.

Spectral/EQ analysis

I think I could get closer to the real dog sounds if I used more time to remove unwanted frequencies in my recordings – to try to match the spectral profile of the real dog sounds.  That’s something to work on.

Interactive pitch explorations in Unity

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