Baseboard Buzz

A versatile, synth-like, sound design instrument created from a recording of a malfunctioning baseboard heater and passing traffic.......

The story

It gets pretty cold in Montréal in the winter and this past January (2022) was especially frosty. So much so that the baseboard heater in my home studio was running almost constantly and got a bit tired. At that point the device started emitting a particularly loud and harsh buzz… So what did I do? I sampled it.

While capturing the recording (using an iPhone), a car passed by outside adding some bass frequencies to the spectrum. This basic raw material was then used for several sound design experiments and underwent heavy processing, the results of which you find here.



– This sample instrument was put together using my first Pianobook Kontakt Template, called Framework (

– There are four groups in this instrument with individual on/off switches, volume controls, and samples that have been pitch-shifted:

– SH: Short notes created from the sound of a passing car.
– LG: Long notes created from the sound of a passing car.
– Full: The complete sample of the car passing.
– Buzz: An evolving drone/pad created from the sound of a very unhappy appliance.

These groups can be played at the same time, or in any combination, and it can be fun to map the volume of a group or several groups to a midi CC number I currently have the volume of the wildest group (Full) mapped to midi CC21 for performance blending with the more stable groups. Note: Playing multiple groups at high volume levels can cause clipping, especially at high velocity levels and with high voice counts.

– Sample Offset control slider to start the samples up to 2 seconds in.

– Envelope Control Sliders:

Cv: Attack Curve
A: Attack
H: Hold
D: Decay
S: Sustain
R: Release

– Low Pass Filter (LPF) cut-off control.

– High Pass Filter (HPF) cut-off control.

– Low-Cut EQ bypass button. Note: This EQ (“SGEQ”) can be adjusted under the hood, if needed.

– Tape Saturation and Compression controls with on/off buttons (both mapped to CC1).

– Plate Reverb and Room Reverb controls.

Note: All FX can be adjusted/tweaked and/or swapped-out under the hood.

– Volume mapped to CC11.

WARNING!: Clipping/clicking/digital-distortion may occur when using full FX levels, especially at high velocity levels and with high voice counts.

Note: This instrument requires the latest version of Kontakt 6.

Note: The mapped midi CC assignments can be removed, if needed. The CC21 assignment can be removed by right clicking the “Full” slider and selecting “Remove MIDI Automation”. The CC11 modulator can be removed by pressing on the wrench icon (to go under the hood), going to the “Mod” tab for each group, selecting the desired modulator, then right clicking to open the “Delete” dialogue box. While under the hood, the other CC assignments can be removed by right clicking the corresponding effect parameters and selecting “Remove MIDI Automation”: Tape “Gain” & “Warmth”, and SuperGT “Compress”. As stated above, any of the FX and the EQ (for the Low-Cut) can also be adjusted under the hood.

Decent Sampler version coming soon!


Reviews for Baseboard Buzz

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Thrilling sound and character

    This is an incredible synthetic-type of instrument with TONS of character, made with care and precision, taking it to a very high quality level. Out of the box, the sound is very pleasing, warming and chilling at the same time. There are lots of options to mess around and fine-tune according to your preference, though even by default, just holding down one single note may easily inspire you in an instant.

    A true gem by Sage!

    Alex Raptakis14 March 2022
  • So Cool

    You should download this. It is just so cool. I especially like playing it with a long attack while playing large, extended, chords. The pitch deviates causing an eerie atmosphere.

    obolig22 February 2022