Learn to Master Dehumaniser 2’s Scrubbing Convolution & Spectral Shifting

Dehumaniser 2 is known for its dynamic and powerful processing, specifically tailored for use in creature and monster sound design. However, these processes can be extremely useful in any sound design context, especially when you’re reaching for an other-worldly effect or layer in your workflow.

Today, let’s explore two of Dehumaniser’s most original and unusual effects: Spectral Shifting and Scrubbing Convolution. Dehumaniser 2 allows you to use up to two of these modules each, as well as the ability to connecting them to other modules in any way imaginable using our modular routing system.

The core aspects of the Spectral Shifting module are deceptively simple: a slider where you can select a range and a pitch dial.

The module acts as a spectral-ranged pitch shifter – only selecting and shifting a certain range of frequencies from an incoming audio signal. Only frequencies within a certain amplitude range are processed. This allows you to create some very unusual effects, by shifting only certain frequencies either upwards or downwards, revealing some exciting content.

The UI

This slider represents the amplitudes of spectral content entering the module. The far left-hand side of the slider represents ‘quieter’ frequencies of the audio signal, and the far-right represents ‘louder’ parts of the frequency spectrum.

Let’s begin by setting the ‘pitch’ dial to 0.0; keeping any signal at its original pitch. You can ‘scan’ the incoming audio signal by holding shift and dragging this area from left to right, this will give you an idea of how the effect is working in different frequency/amplitude ranges.

Clicking and dragging to the left of the selected area will move the lower threshold, and doing the same to the right-most area will adjust the upper threshold.

If you were to select the entire area of the slider, you would have selected the entire amplitude range of the frequency spectrum, allowing the module to function as a traditional pitch shifter (which does not typically discriminate between frequency areas; any audio coming in will be shifted by the same amount), by using the ‘pitch’ dial.

Spectral shifting becomes even more fun when you begin to move the thresholds away from the extremes and towards the centre…

Try experimenting with a small area selection on the left-hand side of the slider and increasing the value of the right-hand slider, and the position of the area. If you start to pitch shift this material as well, you can produce some really wild spectral results. This can be great for bizarre effects as it creats spectral “anomalies” to the frequency response of the voice, which is ideal for insect-like effects or sci-fi layers of sound design.

As you can see, the spectral shifting module strength is not in naturalistic-sounding audio, but in creating unusual spectral effects. This makes it a very powerful addition to Dehumaniser’s arsenal, especially when used as a layer, or the routed into other processes by using our routing system.

Scrubbing Convolution uses the combination of an audio file and an input signal to create powerful effects. By using the level of the incoming audio to ‘scrub’ through an audio file, it produces very dynamic and responsive results in real-time. Check out the ‘Mammoth’ preset (in our Dehumaniser 2 Factory Presets>Growls and Roars>Beasts) to hear this module in action!

The ‘Mix’ dial controls the balance of the granular ‘scrub’ and convolution between the file and incoming signal. This allows you to convolve the output of the current position in the audio file with the incoming audio. Unlike traditional convolution, which uses an entire audio file, scrubbing convolution uses a small section of an audio file to convolve with the incoming audio, creating a much more dynamic and flexible effect. Use this to ‘morph’ between, for example, the sound of an elephant and your voice:

The envelope allows to you tweak the response of the scrubbing behaviour. By re-positioning the points on the graph, you can focus the scrub on a certain area of the audio file, moving through just a transient or decay, dynamically, based on your input:

We hope these exciting, creative modules inspire you to create never-before-heard SFX. Combining these unique processes with other effects such as our pitch shifters, granular processors, vocoders and more, really helps Dehumaniser take your sound design to the next level.

Curious to try Dehumaniser yourself? Download a demo today!