Doubler, Morphoder and ShoundShifter are included in the Waves Transform bundle, so reading its description could give you a basic overview of the kind of plugins we’re dealing with in this section:
[…]You want to take creative control and twist your sound inside out like never before. You need Transform, five state-of-the-art processors that let you stretch and manipulate time, pitch, dimension, and punch. Get ready for sonic metamorphosis, get ready for Transform.
I’m going to start with a very special plugin called Doubler, a tool created to generate new voices from a signal inserted to it. Doubler can make up to four voices (plus the direct signal), each with dedicated controls for gain, pan, delay, feedback, tune, and more. It also features a really nice modulation system and several graphics for controlling EQ, panning, etc.
This plugin can be used for a lot of things, since it’s very flexible and offers total control of each voice, modulation route, etc. Similar to hardware harmonizer units, Doubler can be used for making some cool pitch shiftings in multiple tonalities and delays. It can also be used to just give some presence to a sound, by adding additional voices and close mixes. Another cool use is for processing vocal recordings, where Doubler offers a lot of possibilities, for example if you take a recording of a female voice and add a new voice with aletered pitch, you’ll actually hear two voices in different tonalities, resulting somwhat more mysterious or even frightening.
It’s all about control/flexibility and remembering that you can do whatever you want for each voice independently. You have a processor that let you generate multiple voices from any sound, and control the placement of them in the stereo field, their presence, delay times, etc. That’s the fun part of this great effect.
“Great for widening and thickening sounds. Think of it as four pitch-shifters, with separate pan delay, and modulation plus EQ. Great chorusing sounds too.” – Charles Deenen
“Back in October I was outside puttering around, and I heard a helicopter approaching in the distance. I can hear these flying machines approach from quite a distance because it’s so quiet here. I sprinted back to the house to get my PCM-D1 and started recording out in my yard. Right after the helicopter flew over I heard another sound coming from the up the street. A road grader was coming down the road at a fairly good speed. It had its blade up and was probably heading back to the County garage. The operator seemed to be in a hurry. These graders make a great sound when traveling faster than their normal blade down speed. I morphed this into a Sci-Fi Transport using Waves Doubler, H-Comp, RenBass, and L2.” – Frank Bry
Oh, Doppler, the spoiled plugin of the Suite. How many times a doppler has put a smile in our faces? This effect is an unique invention from Waves, based in the theory of the doppler effect, which according to Wikipedia is: “the change in frequency of a wave for an observer moving relative to the source of the wave. It is commonly heard when a vehicle sounding a siren or horn approaches, passes, and recedes from an observer. The received frequency is higher (compared to the emitted frequency) during the approach, it is identical at the instant of passing by, and it is lower during the recession.”
The cool thing is that the Waves Doppler plugin is based on the reality and the physics laws, but it was designed to also let you experiment with values and events that can break those physics laws, so you can go as crazy as you want with it and customize oyur movements with the speed, path and settings you want. The GUI and controls are very cool. What you see is an easy to use plugin, not only for the parameters included but also for the graphics and visual feedback features. The main graphic you see there is just a virtual representation of the field in front of the “listener” (little red dot in the middle), along with a curve that indicates the travel path of the sound in that field.
So, with the graphic you set the route itself, and then it’s about tweaking the rest of the controls. There’s a dedicated section for controlling time (general time and acceleration/center time), also continuous and one-shot modes and the possibility of choosing between manual and automatic operation. The rest of the controls there are dedicated to control theal characteristics of the effect, including amount controls and bypass buttons for gain, pan, pitch, air, damp and reverb.
Though the doppler is an effect that you can get in your real life recordings (car pass by, jets, just playing with a bamboo stick over your mic, etc), having the possibility of “dopplering” any sound you want becomes really useful for many sound design tasks. No matter what you need to create, it can be whooshes, spacechips, vehicle pass bys, ricochets, dragon wings, and whatever, but Waves Doppler can do the job perfectly. Let’s hear some samples of whoosh sound design using Waves Doppler:
From Tim Prebble’s Whooshes 201
From Charles Deenen’s 100 Whooshes in 2 Minutes
An awesome plug-in to create movement and doppler effects. Unfortunately it only supports up to 48kHz sampling rate. This however seems to affect only sequencers (Logic, ProTools) and is working with higher sample rates in SoundMiner, Audiofinder, Wavelab – don’t ask why… I mostly use it destructive and import processed files in my sequencer to make final tweaks there. If used on layers, it works better for me to apply the Doppler on every single layer with slightly different settings and put those together again afterwards instead of using one doppler on a sub-mix. – Axel Rohrbach
The only plugin of its kind. Great tool to create subtle movement as well, especially if you layer multiple together with subtle effect” – Charles Deenen
It adds a feeling of movement to a design. Whether it’s an incoming scream or the dialogue of a passing ghost, I use it to create a sense of motion or speed. – Scott Martin Gershin
[…]”The “optimized” Optimus Prime gets the ability to fly after Jetfire sacrifices himself. His flying sounds were made from a very small source: fireworks. His rocket jetpack sounds were made from a fireworks fountain recorded in my driveway. With eye and fire protection I could record the fireworks up close for a nice, rich up front sound. Some cracklers gave an edgy element that I dopplered to make some vicious flybys out of. ” – Erik Aadahl on Transformers 2 sound design
“The kinds of wing sounds that are the easiest to make are short duration flaps. Slower wing movements, and soaring kinds of sounds are harder to fabricate. I often start with a recording of wind, then doppler shift it at various durations. The real trick is in finding the right kind of wind. – Randy Thom on using doppler on wind recordings for creating wing movement sounds for “How to Train Your Dragon”.”
Let’s move to Morphoder, a very nice vocoder effect, developed with the creative users in mind, so you not only have clasic vocoder sounds, but also a powerful processor with lots of possibilities for blending, transforming and morphing your sounds. Its operation is quite simple: there’s a modulator signal that has specific spectral properties that are adopted by the carrier as a filter. That results into a transformation of the carrier into a sound morphed and affected by the modulator. For example, the classic synthezised voice sound that we often hear in music is typically done by using a vocoder where the voice acts as modulator and a synthesizer plays the role of the carrier.
Morphoder has a built-in noise generator and a syntheizer with several algorithms and controls. It also has a really cool secction for shaping and changing the color of your sound, including a 5-band equalizer and several controls for the characteristics of the effect, including pressure, formant smoothing and release controls. That gives a lot of flexibility to the process and also helps to some different and more detailed results. Finally it features a mixer section that allows you to control gain, mute and solo parameters for each path (carrier, modulator, noise and morph).
I think Morphoder is a really interesting tool for sound design purposes. Remember that the carrier can not only be a synth and it can also be another track, so you’re actually able to morph two sounds together and control the way they combine. You can just add a bit of a sound to another, or also make extreme configurations for getting some cool mixes. Although it has a lot of potential on voice processing (making robot/synthesized voices, combining your own voice with an animal or other sources, etc), I think Morphoder is also a valuable tool for general sound effects tasks. There’s a kind magic on it that I simply love.
“Simple to use vocoder, great for robotic voices and special effects.” – Charles Deenen
“Morphoder always helps me make something new out of something old, and has pulled me out of a bind more than once.” – David Farmer
“It is great for Vocoder-type effects. It’s quick and easy to use: When I want to add an element that needs to combine tightly with another sound, adding just a hint of something, it works great.” – Scott Martin Gershin
Pitch and time manipulation could be considered as very primitive techniques used by sound designers in order to make both subtle and drastical changes in sound effects since many years ago. SoundShifter is a 3-component tool designed by Waves as the definitive pitch and time manipulation plugin. This beast offers several effect modes, various ways of control and visualization and also advanced control of individual characteristics, such as time, tempo, samples, pitch, intervals, frequency, etc. It also supports Pro Tools TCE, which means that you can use its algorithm as the main pitch/time manipulation engine in Pro Tools.
SoundShifter offers a lot of options for customizing the overall result, including those great modes that let you optimize the algorithm for specific types of sounds (ie: punch for fast attack and percussive sounds, smooth for better articulation and soft elements, etc). You can also find some optimized functions depending on the component:
- SoundShifter Parametric – Fixed ratio and full controls for pitch and time
- Graphic SoundShifter – Lets you draw the ratio changes through the waveform, which can be analyzed by the plugin
- SoundShifter Pitch – Real time processor for changing pitch
These processes are practically essential in a sound design context and there are a lot of uses for these tools. SoundShifter groups all the tools needed for the work, and do it very well. I’m personally a big fan of the Graphic SoundShifter and use it a lot. I use to just open it, draw some weird graphic and process any sound with it. I’ve found very cool things by experimenting with this processor.
“My go-to plugin for time and pitch shaping. Since you can draw them independently, you can create awesome sweeteners with it. Set up some radical pitch changes over very short time amounts, and you’ll find you can make tons of new tonal sources out of old recordings.” – Charles Deenen
“A true essential part of the Sound Designer’s tool box. It sounds great, and I like that it has a feature that focuses on maintaining transients, or punch, or keeping it smooth, and it works in real-time, allowing automated pitch bending.” – Scott Martin Gershin
Finally, let’stalk a bit about UltraPitch, a fantastic tool loaded with lots of cool features, including a hamonizer section, an advanced pitch shifting algorithm, and dedicated control over the formant and character of the voices. It has a lot of features, however it’s not very complicated to use. You have control of up to 6 voices ( assigned to different colors and controls for each one), which you can place in the spectrum individually and also manipulate their pitch and formant in a dedicated graphic (center). There’s also a very cool function to deal with the formants and load different profiles for specific type of sounds.
At the right side you can se the pitch detection graphic, and below that section is the Mode parameter, that indicates the detection type, which can be optimized for certain frequency ranges and pitch changes. I think it was a wonderful idea to include UltraPitch in the Suite because is a very cool tool that you’d love to use in many occasions. It’s definitely not a typical pitch shifting effect, since it offers a lot of tools for shaping your final result. Really great for some cool experiments with the characteristics of any kind of sound
“I still find new ways to use this plug! Play with the settings while running anything through it, and you’ll find some interesting things.” – Charles Deenen
“It’s all about the formants, giving new life, expression, and personality to creature design.” – Scott Martin Gershin