Hi all,

I'm totally new here. Bear with me!

I write and record "damaged pop music." I'm looking for a way to create never-before-heard percussion sounds by taking a sound source of near-constant volume and harmonic mix (say white noise, for illustration) and applying the envelope of a real percussion instrument to it. I'd also like to apply filtering that follows the envelope to give it a weird artifact or changing shimmer.

An example is this track (skip to ~3:00 when it gets noisy, and especially right at 4:09): https://thevictoriousairborne.bandcamp.com/track/the-flare-was-your-eyes Those are distorted cymbal hits (and vinyl record nonsense), but I want to take that as a sonic "what if" and see what happens when I try to recreate it (and surpass it, of course).

It seems modular is the best (only?) way to expand my capabilities here.

At a high level, what functions do I need to do something like this? I'm thinking:

  • Envelope follower to extract the envelope from a percussive audio signal (which won't actually be heard)
  • VCA controlled by the envelope follower to gate/boost the audio signal that will supply the final percussion sound
  • VCF controlled by the envelope follower to do weird things to the "heard" percussion as the envelope decays

Does this make sense? (assume I have preamps and such for input and output of audio)

Anything I'm missing conceptually?

Thank you!


Sounds heavily compressed/limited to me. Might want to add something like that to your signal chain.


Four words. Snappy-Low-Pass-Gates!


Sounds heavily compressed/limited to me. Might want to add something like that to your signal chain.
-- farkas

Thanks farkas, appreciate the input. I'll probably handle that with outboard gear or in the DAW (this is strictly for recording). Cheers!


Four words. Snappy-Low-Pass-Gates!
-- pigrabbit

Thanks for the input! I looked that up and it sounds fascinating. Apparently this is a good one? https://pittsburghmodular.com/lifeforms-dynamic-impulse-filter

Any other thoughts? Does this sound like a good mix of functions to start 1) applying the envelope of one sound to another source, and 2) filtering the resulting audio following the original envelope?

Thanks everyone!


If this is what you mean, I've been doing the following:

Play any old Audio sample on loop via Disting (or other sample player, or any Audio input to be honest)

I'm using the Patching Panda Punch VCA which has its own decay envelops on its 2 Channels to create an evolving or changing percussion track which I've been triggering with Euclidean sequences which i can control via CV to that it changes over time.
Punch is a great little VCA with its Accent input too so you can get a groove pattern playing that too, it also has Envelop Outs with an Invert switch so you can send that to a Filter to further tweak your sound.

Punch also works great for Acid Synth lines.

I've also used my ALM PipSlope to make an AD envelope to do the same thing coupled with a regular VCA.

The other module i would recommend for this is the Befaco Percall, I don't own it but you can make anything into Percussion with that and it also has Choke so it will shut off the Open Hat with a Closed Hat etc.

As you say you could use an envelope follower which is listening to some other percussion track to get Triggers, gates and a Decay envelope out of it.


The other module i would recommend for this is the Befaco Percall, I don't own it but you can make anything into Percussion with that and it also has Choke so it will shut off the Open Hat with a Closed Hat etc.
-- wishbonebrewery
Thank you, that looks seriously awesome.

As you say you could use an envelope follower which is listening to some other percussion track to get Triggers, gates and a Decay envelope out of it.
-- wishbonebrewery

OK, that's what I was wondering. But I'm still struggling to grasp the basic (starting) signal flow when there is no oscillator involved. Will this work conceptually? Or do I ALSO need to extract a gate signal from the envelope source and feed that to a gate between "continuous audio source" and the VCA?

Audio source -> VCA -> VCF -> final audio output
Envelope output -- ^ ------^

I'm trying to get into this as cheap as possible haha. And add stuff later.

Thank you!


Your signal flow there is correct.

The VCA and Envelops are combined in the Patching Panda Punch and the Befaco Percall, you can build both from DIY kits if you don't mind a bit of soldering, the Punch is a very easy build.

I seem to recall someone on here recommending a https://www.modulargrid.net/e/4ms-company-percussion-interface and https://www.modulargrid.net/e/4ms-company-percussion-interface-expander which they said would like you turn an audio input into a modulation source, might be worth having a look at.


This terrain is difficult for me, I would like others with more knowledge to present their ideas