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    Matching a strange echo/filter effect


    Hello,
    I am attempting to help out the open-source game The Ur-Quan Masters which is a port of the classic game "Star Control 2". There is essential information missing in some of the alien dialogue (that was recorded for the old 3do version of the game 20 years ago) and the original actor has actually re-recorded the missing dialogue! However I am finding it tricky to process the new dry dialogue in order to make it sound like the old dialogue.

    Here is an example of the original, finished alien audio.

    (please ignore the crappy quality: i am also going to try to make my final versions sound equally crappy. The idea is just to have it match the game audio and not stand out at all.)

    The new dry voice-overs can be downloaded here (right click, save as, zip format):
    http://bugs.uqm.stack.nl/attachment.cgi?id=523
    http://bugs.uqm.stack.nl/attachment.cgi?id=524

    (Sounds like it's been noise-reduced too aggressively but I'm hoping this will be much less apparent after heavy processing.)

    I have reduced the speed of the signal to 85.87% of its original speed which seems to make it about the right pitch. However I am having difficulty with the "echo" effect. At first I thought it was just reverb, but if you listen you can hear that it seems to be a sort of filter sweep or pitch modulation around a certain frequency that is based off the pitches of the spoken voice. It's as if there was a reverb, but the reverb was actually some sort of sampler that freezes a short section of the dry signal and does a filter sweep/pitch modulation on it as it fades out.

    I once encountered a free vst plugin that does actually do this "freezing" but I haven't found it again yet. I think it is on my home computer so I will have to check there once I get home.

    Does anyone have any ideas as to what this effect is and how I might re-create it? If it helps, I have access to Pro Tools, Acid Pro, and some audio processing/reverb plugins as well as some vst effects and instruments including Kontakt 2...

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    It sounds like a flanger effect, experiment with those and see if they help you out.

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    Hi Halleck

    First off, it sounds like 6 or 8 bit encoding at 4 to 8kHz adaptive encoding artifacts for the distortion. (very gritty, un-harmonic!)
    I'd guess this would need applying first.

    Wha-wha or low sweep-rate phaser on the echo / low density reverb?

    Edit - Yes, Black Boe's flanger sounds right!

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    Thanks all for the speedy reply!
    Timbre has PMed me with a processing test that seems to fit well using a chorus effect rather than a flanger on the reverb, mixed with the original. This achieves the oscillation/modulation effect I hear in the original. I will experiment with similar effects in my session and return here if I get stuck again and/or have a finished version! smile

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    I've done a couple of iterations on this (the middle line is the replacement):
    Version 1
    Version 2
    Version 3

    This is a pretty long effects chain, here's what I did for version 1:
    1. Pitch shift dry dialogue to 87.08% of original pitch (-2.4 semitones) while perserving duration
    2. Manually pull down peaks that are too loud with volume envelope
    3. Compress with a threshold of -44.1 dB and gain up 29.8 dB
    4. Apply a low-fi ('bit crush"wink effect to simulate 14700 hZ, 9 -bit audio - adaptive encoding with 63% antialiasing (this is probably not "accurate" to the original recording but it sounded right)
    5. Send a copy of this new "dry" signal to an effects chain containing:
    6. A 7 second decay reverb with 1ms delay
    7. A chorus effect with an oscillator at 0.82 Hz
    8. Another lo-fi "bit crusher" at 11025 Hz, 66% adaptive antialiasing, 10bit sample size (once again just going off sound with my plugin)

    For versions 2 and 3 I added some short reverb between steps 3 and 4 and fiddled with the dry channel bit crusher.

    Some fans pointed out it may not be necessary to match the original dialogue exactly since these aliens are multiple entities living in one body and may talk using different voices! grin

    But I'd still like to get it as close as possible until I can find some examples of this in-game to use as reference.

    Let me know what you think and/or suggest some improvements.

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    Halleck
    Let me know what you think and/or suggest some improvements.

    If you're trying to match the "crappy" original then you'd get a more accurate result using (pink?) noise than that bit-crusher thingy.

    Halleck Vs Timbre's attempt ... http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=96209

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