Convolution is a process fundamental to understanding digital sound. Any audio can be imagined as the combination of the frequency and temporal domains. With convolution, you can simulate the combination of one sound with another, or one sound with an environment.

Traditionally, that has meant reverbs. But it can mean more – a lot more. Apart from simulating instruments, it can synthesize never-before-heard and impossible sound.

Our friend Diego Stocco has been hard at work opening up some of those doors to producers. When we last joined Diego, he was teaching you sound design techniques. This time, he has both a technique and a collection of painstakingly-recorded sounds.

And because by default you’re dropping these impulses into an effect, this is the very opposite of a sample library. Rather than reproducing what you hear Diego doing, you can find your own character of sounds by substituting your rhythms and audio, and the potential results are vast.


Diego explains the library thusly:

(first, in video form, an intro to the technique)

I’m very happy to introduce to you guys “FFS // Rhythmic Convolutions”, which is a collection of brand new Impulse Responses I specifically designed for the processing of rhythmic elements and instruments like drum machines, real drums and percussions, beat boxing and in general instruments that have a percussive quality.

This is a set of 200 Impulse Responses that I made from organic sounding sources and materials like metal, glass, paper, rubber, wood, water, etc.. organized into 10 sonic themes, that can also be mixed together to create hybrid sounding results.

You don’t actually have to buy anything here – you might just take that video as inspiration. But if you do want some extra IR files, they’re here for you at the reasonable price (I think) of US$29.99. The extended tutorial video is again $9.99, but this time you can watch an initial video by way of preview (and it covers a lot, which may whet your appetite for more).

In the free video, he shows you how he’s using the technique, followed by another video that does some surprising things with the sounds of bees.

Ableton Live Suite now includes a convenient couple of convolution reverbs implemented in Max for Live; you can see those in action here. But any convolution effect or convolution reverb that has a file import capability – and any good one should – will do. (You could also use an implementation in a DIY environment.)

I have to say, I’m especially inspired to hit the studio on this one. I’m eager to try out his impulse responses, and record some of my own – and toy with some other rhythmic ideas. I’ll share if I come up with anything good, in case you want another set of user impressions before you buy.

The tutorial:

The impulses:

  • No customer

    Still no Paypal. I can’t buy it without Paypal. Too bad. :(
    Pretty much the only thing in the whole web that doesn’t offer paying with PP.

  • anerandros

    Diego we L-O-V-E you <3

    • DSweb2012

      : ) Thanks!

  • experimentaldog

    Always awesome and interesting Diego. Any future plans for tutorials on real-time granular processing (granulator) or phase vocoding? Finding new ways to organize sound in musical ways is always interesting. Varèse would be proud.

    • DSweb2012

      Hey thanks, I have a list of techniques I would like to cover, there might be room for granular processing at some point!

    • Vanceg

      Oh, I use convolution on percussive, non percussive, tonal, noisy…. anything. I adore this technology. And unlike in the later years of the 20th century, I don’t have to wait a full day for my convolution to process…. Realtime made all this REALLY come alive.

      Please keep up with these wonderful explanations and tutorials – Many of us really admire you work. Go man go!

    • DSweb2012

      Thanks very much for your note and glad to hear that you’re into convolution as much as I am! : )

  • Master Of The Creatures

    Really nice!

  • vanceg

    That’s the joy of applying convolution to percussive sounds: The result is really close to your convolution…I mean, put in something with a lot of broadband noise, like a snare, and you ALMOST get your convolution sound back….except WAY cooler. Big props to you for this work!

    • DSweb2012

      Thanks, but don’t forget that you can also use them with tonal percussive elements!
      Plus, the real-time interaction that you can have with multiple processors at the same time makes a big difference!

  • Gwydion

    Wonderful videos – really nice. And FFS is the best product name ever – FFS!

    • DSweb2012

      Thanks man, glad you like the name as well! : )

  • RicochetRockNice .

    I have a question would you be willing to Develop a Propellerhead Reason Rack Extension for this?

  • crazepan

    really inspiring ideas!well done Diego

    • DSweb2012

      Thanks, glad you liked the concept!

  • beelover

    Great sounds Diego!

    SIR2 is a nice IR tool, for those without M4L:

    • DSweb2012

      Thank you!

  • Klemen Kotar

    Wow, this is insane :) I’ll have to check if that reverb thingie in StudioOne supports loading impulses. Hope it does (SIR wasn’t all that stable when I last checked, but it could have been years ago).

    edit: checked! It does! I’m coming :)

    • DSweb2012

      Thanks Klemen, glad you liked it! : )

    • Klemen Kotar

      Just missed SonicTalk :( but bought the FFS. Looking forward to continuation of the series (love both videos as well) but can’t see how anyone can keep up with you he he :) Congrats!

    • DSweb2012

      Thank you very much for your support Klemen, but please don’t see any of this as a competition, there’s always something to learn for everyone : )

    • Klemen Kotar

      Sure :)