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Boring synth stuff

Ring Modulation

Ring Modulation is  a strange effect where two audio signals are multiplied together, instead of added together. It sounds friggen weird. Sadly, most VST ring modulators suck.

In ye olden days, ring mod was done with a bunch of transformers or something. Plug pretty much anything into the two inputs, and martian sounds come out.  Complex chains of delays and reverbs and whatever else make a whole bunch of unpredictable, musically useless sounds. Woo!

These days, ring modulation is easy. Just multiply the two signals together. Strangely, it seems like most VST developers don’t really see the fun in doing ridiculously weird things with ring mod, so most of them just slap an oscillator on to modulate with the signal. There might be some different waveforms, variable pitch, maybe an LFO or two, but it’s always pretty much the same sound, and you’re left thinking about the wonderful things that could have been.

In frustration, I decided to make my own amazing ring mod VST,  in the very early morning. FL Studio didn’t support multi-input plugins at that time, so I made it with the same concept as FL’s crappy vocoder. Two different, hard panned sounds are routed into the plugin, and one modulates the other. Since ring mod just multiplies the signals, neither one is the ‘modulator’ or ‘carrier’, they both combine to form the output. With some clever routing, there’s funsound all over. I only wish that FL Studio would let me do crazy feedback stuff, but I guess that’s what virtual audio cables are for.



3 Responses to “Ring Modulation”

  1. Ah. Well I’d like to experiment with this effect if there were good virtual instruments. Thanks for explaining what it actually is because up to now I’d just click the ‘ring mod’ button on the subtractor in Reason, hear something stupid and take it off again.

  2. Dude, could you post this Ringmod up for download? I tried to create one with synthmaker, but couldn’t find the necessary component to multiply the signals, or the component that I did find did not work.

    • Synthmaker uses different kinds of data types, like integer, float, etc. So, there are different kinds of multiplication components. The one you need is called ‘Stream Multiply’. Type ‘Stream Multiply’ into the search thingy, and it should show up.

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