We take an in-depth look at what can be done with the chaotic and cacophonous noise generator. Noise cancellation? No thank you!
Scot Solida on how too much noise can be great!
In the earliest days of modular synthesis, noise was the go-to source for out-of-thisworld special effects. From the whooshing winds of distant shores to the random bursts of imaginary alien artillery, noise was the obvious choice for aural experimentation.
But what do we mean by “noise”? Can’t any sound be considered noise? Technically, the old folks were wrong in their assessment of rock ‘n’ roll, for example. When used in the strictest sense, noise is how we describe the sound of many frequencies being produced at equal levels or intensity. Specifically, this is white noise, the form you’ll likely encounter on a synth.
White noise is not dissimilar to loud, bright static. As you’ll see below, it’s not that interesting – or musical – alone. However, it’s an integral part of nearly every sound made by an acoustic or electric instrument, not to mention the very environment that surrounds us. By using the tools available to our modular synth, we can shape it into something far more exciting.
In fact, this month, we’ve split our walkthrough into a suite of individual minitutorials on noise, each one describing how it can be twisted and molded into new and exciting sounds, or used as a basis for a pitched timbre. As ever, we’ll be calling upon Cherry Audio’s Voltage Modular Nucleus, so fire it up and let’s make some noise!