Sound design tutorial with FRMS, a ruler and a can

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Using FRMS granular and frequency modulation synthesizer to create amazing sounds from a ruler and a can.

Not everyone has a ‘Thunder Toy’ just lying around to sample. If you watched our last FRMS tutorial video and were sad that you couldn’t give it a go yourself then there’s some good news for you this week - all you need is a ruler, a desk and a tin can. (Of course you also need some way of recording/sampling them too!)

The aim of this series is to inspire in everyone the beauty of sampling the world around us and the creations it can lead to. So that’s why this week we’ve sampled common household items, hopefully everyone has to hand - even in lockdown.

First up is a schoolroom classic, and while school may be out for some of us right now, we’re recreating the wobbly ‘boing’ of a metal ruler against the edge of a desk. You could use a plastic ruler too, though metal ones give us a more meaty resonance and result.

Slowing down and therefore lowering the pitch of the ruler sound gives us a creepy and eerie base to work with, something to layer up the density of the tin can sample next to, by using FRMS layering system. Introducing a bit of randomness again gives us some movement and motion for a more engaging result sound.

Try recreating it yourself and let us know how you get on!

Breaking rules but not rulers,
Team Imaginando

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