Haunted Microwave

The sound of a genuine 1980's Sharp Carousel Microwave oven bell, manually timestretched to oblivion, and reduced to a haunting tone.

The story

Since before I can remember, this 1980s microwave has been sat atop the shelf in the kitchen. The bell, therefore, has become one of those everyday sounds I heard every now and again whilst growing up. And it pretty much stayed that way until recently I thought: “Hmm. What would happen if I put an SM57 in front of it?” Well, it turns the bell sounds awful on its own, especially when you only track it on a single microphone, with the natural room reverb being reduced into one dismal channel and the harsh ping of the bell itself being quite dissonant. Change of plan. I decided to use FL Studio’s wonderful Edison plugin, specifically the tape time warping feature. This lets you simulate holding a finger against a reel-to-reel tape machine effectively slowing and pitching down the sample but with tiny variations in pitch and speed. With the audio pitched and slowed down, I imported it back into FL Studio and mangled it through a series of effects. Firstly an especially fun little concoction I made in Patcher, FL Studio’s modular environment, which splits the harmonics from the fundamental, and whilst leaving the fundamental alone, pitches up the harmonics by an octave, adds chorus to them, and then parallel processes them through reverb and delay before merging them back into the original signal. I followed this up with another Juno style chorus, as well as Native Instruments “Freak” plugin, a modulator which gives the sample its bitcrushed character.

Interface

Reviews for Haunted Microwave

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  • Haunting and detailed!

    There is something about this one that I really liked, and that's the overtones and different kinds of tiny pitches coming and going as you hold down a note. The result is indeed a haunting one and I definitely recommend checking it out! There are 3 active octaves based on one sample, but honestly they all sound great across the keyboard. There are no other options to mess with, so the rest is up to your imagination! There is definitely a ghost in this microwave... Ding!

    Alex Raptakis15 March 2022