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Assignment 5: Sound Transformations

September 14, 2009

In looking at the ways which Audacity can manipulate sound files, I decided to use a sample of a telephone ringing. I felt that the sound was going to be full of many frequencies and with a very easily recognized pattern, it would allow for some interesting new sounds once transformed. Here is the link to the original sample, I only use one ring:

• Speed Change:

When I increased the speed by fifty percent, it really only made the sound increase in pitch and decrease in length. I found this less interesting than the opposite, slowing it by half, because you can’t really hear the individual rings of the bell to start and speeding it up doesn’t help. When it is slowed, you can really hear them.

• Reverse Direction:

Since the telephone bell originally was a sound that had a very long decay to its final ring, this time when reversed it was a very gradual increase in loudness of that final note until the bell was being struck. Here you can hear the way the attacks are backwards, but it is still not that much different because of its speed.

• Frequency Filtering:

In doing a low-pass filter, it took a while of tweaking the levels, but eventually I concluded that the sound just didn’t have much low frequency noise. Even when the lower end of the scale was all the way up and the upper end all the way down it just sounded a little more muted. In doing the band-pass filter between around 400 Hz and 1500 Hz, I tried doing both a mute on those frequencies and boost on all others as well as the reverse where I cut everything but those boosted mid-range frequencies. When the mid-range is muted, it just causes the sound to be perceived as a higher pitch because there isn’t much bass to balance the missing middle. I therefore found it more interesting when the mid-ranges were increased and the rest dampened to create a smoother and fuller sounding bell noise. When I did a high-pass filter, it basically made it sound like a really tiny telephone.

• Time-Stretching:

This plug-in was really fun for me to play around with, especially since I’ve never known how, but always been looking for a way to be able to change these characteristics of the sound over time for a long time. The problem with this sound transformation is that the telephone’s last decaying ring is difficult to hear change its period without changing pitch. To help hear the difference throughout the whole sample, I added a +6/-6 difference to the pitch to correspond to the +50%/-50% time change. I think it sounds pretty cool.

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