Krotos has taken the Reformer technology to the next level: in Reformer Pro, you can design in real-time using your own sounds. To get the best results, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as you discover the capabilities of Reformer Pro.
Setting Up Your Libraries
There are a few guidelines which are important to keep in mind whilst creating Reformer Pro libraries from your existing sample database. Whilst we do encourage you to experiment with what works best for your library, these guidelines provide an excellent place to start.
- Try to use 96kHz or 192kHz samples. This allows for far more possibilities when changing playback speed in real-time inside Reformer Pro.
- Use close mic’d recordings. Any extra room tone, reverb or delay can cause everything to sound washed and distant, as well as produce some dropped volume levels.
- Reformer Pro’s Analysis Tool cannot analyse audio less than 1 second, and adding silence to any short sound might cause irregularities in your results. Instead, group together an assortment of samples that, together, total to more than 1 second in length.
- For libraries over 1GB in size, break them up into smaller sub-libraries for analysis. The analysis tool can only analyse 1GB at a time.
Working with Short Samples
(Less than 1 Second)
When working with short samples (such as as impacts, pops, clicks and any other sounds that have a quick ADSR), make the edits tighter than usual. As you can see in the example below, trim off any silences to ensure that Reformer Pro isn’t working to analyze silence. Then, create a quick fade out at the end of each clip, overlapping it with the next, and add a crossfade to ensure minimal amounts of silence.
Since Reformer Pro’s Analysis Tool is unable to analyze sounds that are less than 1 second long, be sure to overlap and crossfade sounds together until, in total, they are longer than 1 full second. A useful tip is to mix certain gestures together. For our gun foley library, achieved our best results by mixing clicking/cocking sounds along with smoother slides of the reloads. This provided a mixture of textures and tones to work with, really showing off the variety Reformer Pro can produce.
To help make the transitions smoother, add a slight crossfade, and finally, combine each sample using the DAW’s “consolidate” or “glue” option. This allows the Reformer Pro’s Analysis Tool to see it as one audio file of an acceptable length.
If you do end up analysing a library that has sounds under a second, don’t worry, the Analysis Tool will give you a warning message. If all the sound files are less than 1s it will tell you the library won’t work. If some are less than one second it will just warn you that some audio files have been omitted.
Working with Longer Samples
(Greater than 1 Second)
For files longer than 1 second, there’s no need to worry about length, but instead it’s important to consider the phrasing and the natural end point when cutting the audio. Somewhere between 4 – 10s tends to produce good results. Feel free to try longer and shorter clips and experiment further with this as results will depend on the characteristics of the sounds you are working with.
Pro tip: Try to get varied samples relating to the content that you would like to perform. Mixed content gives Reformer Pro a wider range of material to use and will result in a much more versatile library.
Final Preparation Steps
Best practice is to create about 10 or more samples for analysis. This gives you a good feel of what you library will sound like in RF Pro. More sonic variety will produce more varied results. You can have less samples if you have longer clips that contain varied elements.
Lastly, normalise or boost your assets a bit, so they’re already mastered before analysing. This is useful for impacts but not as good for ambiences or more subtle Foley libraries.
Once you feel all of your library samples sound good, render it out to a folder for analysis. Render at the highest possible sample rate that you can: 96kHz or 192kHz will provide the best results.
Remember, you will need to keep your folder size under 1GB as Reformer Pro won’t be able to analyse anything larger than this. If you do have a large library, consider separating it into ‘micro libraries’ of similar material. You’ll get much better results and far greater control over the output. For example, we split our fruit and vegetable database into three separate micro-libraries, stabs, squash, and crunch, and now they are far more responsive and easier to manipulate. (Check them out here). Just remember, experimentation is key to finding the best sound and response from your material.
Using the Analysis Tool
To begin analysing your library, simply open the Analysis Tool by clicking on the page button.
When it opens, you will see an option to choose library, or you can drag and drop your library into the top area.
Once you have set up your library location, you will be able to choose sample rates, which allows you to use your library in a Digital Audio Workstation. To minimise disk space, you can analyse libraries at the sample rates you are likely to work at, but if you need another sample rate you can easily re-analyse the library anytime in the future.
From here, add a custom thumbnail for your library if you want, otherwise choose the default Reformer option, then click ‘Create’. Finally name your library and click ‘Start’. The Analysis Tool works quickly, meaning you can create new libraries in a matter of seconds if you’re pressed for time or are iterating and perfecting your personal libraries.
Using Your Libraries
After the library is analysed, you will get a message that tells you to refresh your Refromer Pro plugin. To do this, simply close the plugin UI and open it again, then your library will appear in the libraries list of Reformer Pro.
Feel free to experiment with different inputs as well to see the full extent of your libraries capabilities.
If you decide to iterate on a library, and want to delete an earlier version, simply click the small “x” in the upper corner to delete it. This WILL NOT affect any of your original sound samples, it just helps keep your Reformer Pro Library menu clean, giving you plenty more room to make your next libraries.
We hope you’ve found have found this tutorial for using the Analysis Tool with Reformer Pro helpful. Try experimenting with different library content to see what you can make, and then perform to your visuals, or combine your libraries with others and create a full soundscape all from one plugin. There’s plenty to explore and discover – Reformer Pro is your sound design sandbox!