Static

An 808 sample instrument made solely from whitenoise

The story

This instrument is the child of an interesting marriage: my desire to develop a rudimentary sample library before undertaking a much larger sampling project, and an afternoon spent practicing some avante garde sound design techniques. Both endeavors proved moderately successful, so here’s the final product made available to the Pianobook community.

Static is an 808 sample instrument made exclusively from whitenoise. Inspired by a recent Dan Worrall video, I suppose it represents the extreme end of subtractive synthesis. The heart of the 808 is the result of several resonant ladder filters in series; these alone were capable of generating a sufficiently skull-rattling fundamental, as well as a rather chunky kick sound to start things off. A healthy dose of additional compression, saturation, filtering, and some tasteful finish work from Kush Audio’s Blyss mastering channel served to round out and finalize the sound, giving the instrument the grit necessary to deliver the goods on any speaker.

Digital whitenoise is rather predictable, so there are no round robins in the library. There are multiple velocity layers, though, and the lower values have a much softer initial transient. Of course, pounding away at consistent 127s will give you a much grimier result. But regardless of how you do so, put Static to work, and I hope you find the science experiment I conducted one summer afternoon useful!

– Brian at The Lab

Interface

Reviews for Static

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

  • The punchiest bass!

    This is, really, one of the best bass sounds I've ever heard, and I was in fact looking for something similar! It features this super-punchy attack that 808 kicks have, and in fact if you play in a spiccato / very fast way, you will pretty much get an 808 kick sound!

    The playable range is a little more than 2 octaves long, but the samplers are so good that you can tune it up to get +4 octaves easily. In fact, I wish it had already an "auto" extended range!

    Alex Raptakis26 June 2022
  • 808 Bass!

    I was raised on the TR-606 (drum machine) and TB-303 (bass mono synth) combination from Roland, so bass, sub-bass and resonant filters are pretty familiar territory. This Pianobook.co.uk sample pack is devoted to the generation after the devices I mentioned above - the TR-808, which has been used on just one or two classic tracks over the years...

    The Bass Drum sound on the 808 is all analogue - it uses a sine wave oscillator, on over-driven low-pass filter and a voltage controlled amplifier, all of which were design compromises forced on Roland because of the high cost of digital ROM memory at the time (one competitor to the TR-808, the LinnDrum LM-1, replayed digital samples of real drums...). Static uses modern sound design to produce a similar sound, although it uses white noise as the initial source audio, then passes that through several low-pass filters (essentially extracting a sine wave from the noise), and then through various processors (compression, overdrive...) to get a very distinctive bass sound, with lots of oomph for exercising bass speakers. It isn't a realistic sampled bass drum in any way (and it isn't meant to be), it is a homage to a genre of classic bass sounds from a drum machine that has been used on lots of hits.

    All of the sample creation has been used to create 7 samples with 5 velocity layers, spanning A2 to C5, whose amplitude envelopes can be adjusted with a full ADSR. So this is a poly version of what is often a monophonic sound, which opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities... The low-pass filters are all just doing a decaying cutoff frequency, so the basic timbral change is fixed in the sample, while the envelope allows you to change the speed of the decay, the sustain level, etc. The samples themselves tend to be the same amplitude for most of the descending cut-off portion of the sound, so you can adjust the envelope more or less as you want, although the cliched sound is a rapid attack and a rapid release, with a high sustain level and a long decay (that doesn't really do anything). All of which boils down to: it sounds like a really good 808 bass sound!

    The UI has an interesting quirk, which you can see in the screenshot. The rotary controls have the background colour set to very dark, and so when the control is at zero, as it is for the Attack, then the control vanishes. You can just see a tiny blob for the Release control. I would have had just a little bit of colour for the background colour of the rotary controls, so that you can see where the rotary controls are!

    The UI augments the envelope controls with a cutoff-frequency control for Decent Sampler's own on-board low-pass filter - its the rotary control on the far right. This is only a 2-pole filter, so it is very much restricted to tone control when you have samples with as much inherent resonance as here!

    The UI is also big! If you are used to all those boring samey 812 x 375 Decent Sampler virtual instruments, then you are in for a shock! Note the width of the visible keyboard in the UI screenshot...

    Overall then, a modern reimagining of a classic sound, with a lot of attention to detail, and an interesting source of a rather distinctive bass sound.

    synthesizerwriter17 June 2022