New plug-ins: Bloops generators (users guide)

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New plug-ins: Bloops generators (users guide)

David R. Sky
bloops1.ny & bloops2.ny : Bloops generators (mono & stereo)
bloops1e.ny & bloops2e.ny - European versions of these plug-ins

Because this users guide email plus the above plug-ins total more
than 20k, the plug-ins will be sent in a separate post.

these plug-ins generate a series of random noise-based bloops in
mono or stereo; the stereo bloops are also randomly panned.

If you live in Europe and are using a version of Audacity which
uses a comma (,) instead of a dot (.) for a decimal point, you may
want to install the European versions of these plug-ins.

Bloops (mono) generates bloops when Audacity is in either mono or
stereo, but Bloops (stereo) only works when Audacity is in stereo.
To make Audacity stereo, select the project menu then stereo track
(alt-p, s in Windows).

Plug-in variables and explanations:

As on a hardware music synthesizer, you can adjust the 'envelope'
of the generated noise bloops. An envelope is a way of changing the
rises and falls in amplitude (volume) of a sound over time. It can
also be applied to other areas such as filtering, pitch, etc.
However, the envelope on these plug-ins only modulates the

there are five variables to the Bloops envelope:

1. attack time: time (in milliseconds) to rise from minimum 0.0 to
maximum 1.0. A drum has an extremely fast attack time, whereas a
violin can have a very long attack time, gradually fading in.

2. decay time (in milliseconds): time for volume to drop from
maximum to the sustain level. A trumpet can reach a loud volume,
then decay (drop) quickly or slowly to the sustain level:

3. sustain level: volume at which a note is held.

4. sustain duration (in milliseconds): You can adjust how long the
bloop sustain level is maintained for each bloop, after which it
fades out. an acoustic piano has no sustain level or sustain
duration, since it gradually fades out over time after a key is
pressed and held down. A music synthesizer can have sounds
programmed into it which keep playing as long as a key is held
down. A trumpeter can maintain the sustain level as long as he or
she has air left to blow.

5. release time (in milliseconds): time it takes to fade out from
the sustain level to zero.

Another envelope setting often seen on music synthesizers is

6. envelope type: inverted or normal. the above description of an
a-d-s-r envelope is how most acoustic instruments can be simulated
in volume. However, inverting the envelope creates some very
unnatural and non-intuitive sounds, you will need to experiment
with these. Using the inverted envelope can sometimes create
'backward-sounding' bloops.

Effects of inverting an a-d-s-r envelope:

attack time: time to drop from maximum volume to zero.

decay time: time to rise from zero to the inverted sustain level.

  sustain level: If the normal sustain level is 0.2, the inverted
sustain level is 0.8.

sustain duration: as above.

release time: time to rise from the inverted sustain level to
maximum, at which point the sound stops.

An inverted envelope has strong clicks at the start and end of the
sound due to the instantaneous rise of amplitude from 0.0 to 1.0 at
the start, and vice versa at the end of the sound. To avoid these
clicks, a 2 millisecond fade-in and fade-out time is applied along
with the inverted envelope in this plug-in.

Other variables:

7 & 8. lowest and highest MIDI notes: two variables which tell the
plug-in the range of notes it can randomly choose from (maximum
range is MIDI note #16 - approx. 20Hz - to 123 - approx. 10kHz).
the notes are generated using the q resonance variable (see below).
Middle C is MIDI note number 60, concert A (440Hz) is 69. MIDI
notes are a way of counting and indicating semitones.

9. lowpass filter q ('quality'): Q refers to how much a filter
resonates, the higher the number the more the filter creates a

10. Normalize individual bloops: In this plug-in, non-normalized
lower-frequency bloops have less amplitude than higher-frequency
bloops, so there is an option to normalize each individual bloop
(make them equal amplitude with each other). By default this option
is turned on.

11. tempo: number of bloops per minute.

12. Add tempo randomness: You can set how precisely (or not) each
bloop in the bloop pattern is generated in tempo. When tempo is 60
bloops per minute, that's 1 bloop per second. With a randomness of
+/-50 percent, each bloop can occur up to half a second before or
after perfect tempo. These are the two value extremes: +/-0 percent
is perfect computerized tempo, +/-100 percent sounds like a gorilla
is keeping time.

13. number of bloops to generate (bloops pattern).

14. Repeat bloops pattern: repeat the above generated bloops
pattern this many times.

15. (for stereo version only) pan positions: number of possible pan
positions each bloop can be put in, randomly chosen. When you make
this setting 1, the result will be in stereo but sounding mono, in
the center pan position.

  Note: This is to prevent "stack overflow" above approx. 120 in

The maximum number of bloops in a bloop pattern is 119, as is the
repeat value. If the count and repeat values total more than 120,
the repeat value is re-calculated to be 120 minus count.

The inspiration for these plug-ins was originally triggered by a
series of bloops in 'Phobos and Deimos' on the 1978 album Cords by
Synergy/Larry Fast, see

  Bloops (mono) and Bloops (stereo) written by David R. Sky,
December 3, 2005.
Thanks to Steven Jones for stack overflow pointers.
Thanks to Edgar Franke for the European Nyquist 'flonum alert'.
Released under terms of the GNU Public License

Other Nyquist plug-ins are freely available for download from:

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