[Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

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IskatuMesk
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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby IskatuMesk » Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:26 am

I remember reading that Blizzard used analog devices in their editing of Brood War/Starcraft audio - supposedly very fancy stuff (a long lost art by now no doubt). Replicating analog functions could be a bit tricky, and unfortunately I have no idea what the analog devices would have been or how powerful they were. But a lot of the voices is also the actor, this is a key thing. In much the same sense it's hard for a male actor to do a female voice in most circumstances, nuances that come as a result of pitches, pronounciations, accents etc all definitely have an effect in edit time.

High Templar >

That mechanical effect happens when the echo "bounces" tighten but aren't smooth. It's a useful effect in some cases, here not so much, but you're making progress. Reverb tends to avoid this effect.

Executor >

This is starting to sound quite clean. If you want to reduce the echo effect volume-wise to bring out the voice more, you can lower the frequency sliders in the actual filter. The Executor has a much different actor voice than you do, so don't fret about getting it picture perfect. Focus on getting the reverb closer first.

Goliath >

I like this. The voice is clear, if not a bit quiet compared to the effects.
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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby Gradius » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:49 pm

Huh, it turns out there's actually a time-stretch pitch-shift that comes with my version of Audition. I don't know, it seems better, I'll use it from now on. I also wonder if I need expensive audiophile headphones for audio editing - to hear the extra nuances & stuff like that. Right now my headphones & sound card is pretty damn cheap.

Also another question. Legion told me a while ago that Blizzard uses mono for their sounds. Should I be using stereo for anything? Blizzard seems to be using stereo for a bunch of stuff in SC2, like Tychus's marine helmet effect.

And is there any point in recording above 44100 hz?

Latest High Templar. Couldn't decide between reverb or echo so I used a little bit of both:

http://sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/hightemplar8.mp3

I think I need to start my own rant show about my trials & tribulations with the high templar voice, because anytime I try to add extra effects/meatiness to the voice, I end up with something like this: http://sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/hightemplar9.mp3

Dark Templar:
http://sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/darktemplar7.mp3
http://sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/darktemplar8.mp3

First link is my "best" version, and the second link is me trying to use the full reverb effect with the room size & all that jazz. It's a bit closer to Blizzard's SC1 DT reverb sound...but also sounds like I'm recording this in a metal trash can.

I remember reading that Blizzard used analog devices in their editing of Brood War/Starcraft audio - supposedly very fancy stuff (a long lost art by now no doubt).

I remember reading about that somewhere. It's old technology but apparently there's something special about the way the old equipment distorts the signal. Adds a "warmth" or something that's devoid from digital devices. :p

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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:24 pm

I used 2.1 speakers for almost all of my audio editing all the way up to Black Sun: Salvation's last quarter, and I would consider those speakers superior to 90% of headphones on the market.

The sound card I can't really say. I don't honestly think sound cards make a difference in playback nearly as much as speakers do. My Asus Xonar D2 may have costed me $300 but the drivers are made by realtek and they are incredibly shitty. So much as plugging/unplugging speakers can bsod the entire machine and sometimes when I close the control panel I get some kind of low-level crash and windows hardlocks.

Of course, make sure ALL resampling/environmental garbage in any given audio control panel is entirely disabled.

Mono vs stereo >

For Starcraft, I think brood war might downsample to mono. I can't remember. I highly doubt sc2 is the same way. Some games, in fact many games, simply do not support stereo - or they even use different channels for different things. There are advantages to using stereo in games that support them. Getting that surround sound effect is only possible with stereo. Sc2 likely uses it a lot.

Above 44hz > Some games do not support above 44k hz and fewer yet, if they don't support it, downsample it properly. I haven't run into a circumstance where recording 48k is ideal. However, some microphones, if they aren't set up to use 48k instead of 44k in windows, have massively reduced quality. Compression from mp3 @ 320CBR is going to be much more noticeable than 48k->44k. Just remember, upscaling sampling rate doesn't give you dick all in returns. Blizzard didn't figure that out in d3 - many of their sfx are still 22khz or even lower. lol!

High Templar is a tough voice. I did something similar in the distant past but today I might be hard pressed to pull it off. You are getting closer with each attempt though.

Full reverb and quick reverb are VERY different from just "reverb" I think. Full Reverb is actually entirely different in the sound it produces. I think once you conquer this echoey effect you will find producing these voices to be infinitely easier.
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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby Gradius » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:50 pm

After days of banging my head against the desk I feel I've finally made some sort of breakthrough with the HT. :P
http://sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/high ... 10more.mp3
http://sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/hightemplar11.mp3
http://sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/hightemplar12.mp3

Latest Dark Templar:
http://sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/darktemplar9.mp3

Marine, which, ideally, somebody else would be voicing:
http://sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/marine1.mp3


Is the "decay" setting in your echo filter the same as "feedback"? I use a different version of Audition (3.0), and some things have different names. They're both in % so I assume it's the same. Do you use any special plugins for reverb or echo? I've downloaded at least a dozen free ones, and they're pretty much all garbage. Haven't found any delay effects which even let you change the frequency of the echo.
Last edited by Gradius on Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby Pr0nogo » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:04 pm

These don't sound any better than your last few. The effects are too flange-heavy and you aren't focusing on improving your acting. If you don't voice act well, the edits aren't going to make a damn's worth of difference. Good acting can be killed by bad effects, but good effects can't make bad acting good. Work on them both.

Your Marine voice acting isn't long enough to get a good bead on it, but the effects and the tone of voice don't seem aligned with what I equate with a typical soldier. Then again, neither did that of SCII.

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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby IskatuMesk » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:56 pm

Gradius wrote:After days of banging my head against the desk I feel I've finally made some sort of breakthrough


Imagine me trying to recreate the Xul`Amon voice for Salvation. Ho ho! I was trying to work off of like, 3 year old examples with nothing to go on.

The HT12 sounds more clear but, yeah, it sounds a bit too effect heavy if you're going for a canon replication. As it is I think it would work fine if you're not trying to be super accurate. The liquidy effect is something I don't remember the original HT having, but the reverbs are MUCH better.

The Dark Templar is much the same way. The effects are masking the voice a lot. I cannot actually understand like half the words. But the reverb is better.

The marine sounds like Lavarinth but the effects are workable.

Is the "decay" setting in your echo filter the same as "feedback"? I use a different version of Audition (3.0), and some things have different names. They're both in % so I assume it's the same. Do you use any special plugins for reverb or echo? I've downloaded at least a dozen free ones, and they're pretty much all garbage. Haven't found any delay effects which even let you change the frequency of the echo.


I use stock echo and reverbs. I don't know about Audition 3.0. I used Audition 3 only to multitrack record and when I discovered that it randomly and irreversibly obliterates recording data (Viking) I scrapped the entire thing.

In my Echo, I have Decay and Feedback. The Delay is for when the echo first starts. The Decay determines the length of the echoes themselves. Initial Echo Volume should be self explanatory.

For Reverb, Total Reverb Length is one of the more important values. I wouldn't use any higher than 600 for protoss. Probably 300-500. Perception is usually biased to Smooth, High Frequency Absorption time is usually around 10-600. Attack Time is a lot like Attack Time in Compressors, I think (probably comparable to Delay). The mixing is also important; it determines the volumes between base (dry) and reverbed (wet).
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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby Gradius » Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:48 am

So I took a crack at Abathur for fun:

http://www.sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/abathur1.mp3
http://www.sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/abathur2.mp3

Reference:
http://www.sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/ ... er_017.ogg

Unfortunately this is a tough one. No idea how Blizzard gets their voices to sound so clean.

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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby IskatuMesk » Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:13 am

Abathur is very similar to my Talpharaxx voice minus pitch. I am pretty sure I could replicate it with a similar technique. It's just an autotune and maybe 1-2 other effects. As for how clean it is, the same reasoning I've been giving throughout this entire thread, really. The same problem with your echoes/reverbs is still present here, their volume is just reduced compared to previous samples. For this you cannot really depend on the phasic effect of flanges, it's a different nature of distortion.

This is only a autotune and a wave hammer. You could then go to mess with the reverb or echoes as you see fit from this point.
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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby mark_009_vn » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:54 pm

Either that, or just use Audition with no plugins of any kind, just duplicate into different channel and adjust their pitch differently to create the flange effect...
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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby Gradius » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:12 pm

I applied a smoother reverb this time: http://www.sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/ ... essful.mp3

But still with regular flanger. No luck messing around with autotune. I just can't get the distortion effect I want for Abathur no matter how much I tinker. You use Antares EVO, right Mesk?

Wavehammer is basically just a compressor & limiter right? I installed soundforge, but I can't get its directx effects to work with my version of Audition.

mark_009_vn wrote:Either that, or just use Audition with no plugins of any kind, just duplicate into different channel and adjust their pitch differently to create the flange effect...

Huh....that's a neat trick. I'll check it out.

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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby IskatuMesk » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:01 pm

Yeah, I'm using EVO.

The thing about autotune is that it always produces those distortions, Abathur (and my voices) are taking advantage of settings that aggravate those kinds of distortions. The plugin is rather complex, and I really don't understand how it works yet (a lot of settings don't even do anything for me), so my technique is basically to fool around with Transpose and Throat Length with different scale settings.

I like the reverb more on this one, but as you can gather, that flange is not really the same kind of distortion effect you'd be aiming for. I guess it depends if you want a 1:1 replica or not - yours is clear enough for most production environments.

Wave Hammer seems to be a kind of compressor, yeah. I use it to produce extremely heavy distortion effects and max out volumes on voices I want to be significantly more overbearing than what I get out of my traditional Dynamics presets. It's also great for effect engineering.

In this reinstallation of windows, 90% of the Direct X plugins produce this odd beeping noise when they are used. No idea why. It's a long-lasting problem that just randomly occurs when I reinstall windows. I can't fix it in any version of audition. Thankfully, Wave Hammer is one of the few ones that isn't busted for me. The others I made major use of, like Gapper/Stutter, I can no longer use. My SFX editing for Retribution will greatly suffer as a result.
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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby Gradius » Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:00 pm

Tried a new technique: standard flanger filter, but only for the 500-1000 frequency band.

www.sclegacy.com/_staff/gradius/sandwich2.mp3

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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby IskatuMesk » Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:03 pm

Yeah, this is getting cleaner. I like where this is going. The voice pitch still sounds a little forced which is my only remaining complaint, but that could be harder to remedy.
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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby Gradius » Sat May 04, 2013 6:08 pm

Mesk, what do you know about replicating human speech? Say, if I wanted to create an actual fake recording of Arcturus Mengsk. Apparently vocoders are used for this task, but I gather that this is only the realm of fancy studio equipment, because the vocoder plug-ins I've downloaded do nothing more than make you sound like a robot, which I manage just fine by myself. ;P

Anyway, you've already seen the compendium of all my stuff: http://www.sc2mapster.com/forums/develo ... ompendium/

That's pretty much everything I've made to date. My biggest difficulty seems to be imparting emotions to my voice acting.

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Re: [Sound] Whip me, beat me, critique me

Postby IskatuMesk » Sat May 04, 2013 8:25 pm

I have never heard of vocoder before. Afraid I can't help you there... impersonation voice actors are a pretty rare bunch, which is why when you find them they tend to be fairly talented. Really, trying to come off as the genuine thing depends on many factors, some of which are just outside of your control. Plugins can only change a waveform so much, they aren't going to suddenly make you sound like someone else no matter how fancy or expensive they are. Plugins rely on the voice as much as they do their own settings, the input will always determine the output regardless of knobs.

The hardest part of Mengsk's voice is getting the genuine age. The "hard" aspect of it, if you will, is doable with practice. But getting the age down is the difference between sounding retarded or sounding like the real deal. Honestly, even his own voice actor isn't perfect - there were definitely a lot of parts in hots that I felt his voice wasn't nearly as good as it was in, say, sc1. This is because I feel that Blizzard has zero quality control, doesn't give actors context, and he wasn't very into the lines.

That brings us to your next area. Emotion.

I have a hard time with words, so bear with me here.

Human speech is hard for me. Really, really hard. But I practice a lot, and I mean a lot, by ranting to myself (and through casting ofc, but talking to myself is a lifetime deal). You can't force emotion. That's the big deal. You can't "sound" angry. You must "be" angry. Any given competent viewer will easily, naturally tell the difference. You absolutely must not force your voice. You're going to be forcing your voice early on, until you understand the nuances of your own sound and how to bend them without pushing them.

When I first started voicing Anahn, which require minimal to zero effects, I found pulling off the gruff and tough voice practically impossible. My voice is not naturally deep or imposing enough. But, I found that if I voice act Anahn during times of stress, or times of anxiety, that natural affiliation towards violent tendencies in my blood brings the voice to life that much more. I rely on my angry, uncontrollable nature as opposed to relying on calculation and details. I just let loose a rant with the lines in my head and keep building off of it as I will. Over time I learn to control that voice by doing so.

Though this may be ineffective "training", my voice did evolve over time and I did learn more about how to get the most out of it. Emotion is a fickle thing, relying not just on your voice but on everything surrounding it. I surround myself in music, and I find it effortless to immerse myself in my worlds and characters. For me, it is nothing to forget that I am just some white virgin in an impossibly humid summer working on an equally impossible project with absolutely no hope of getting finished, I'm a battlehardened zealot of the Royal Family leading a charge for his glory. In finding that escape, in embracing the character and motion of the world without pause, it's less to me about acting and more like actually living an event.
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