Submarine

A collection of deep-sea inspired sounds made into an instrument for the LABS June 2022 competition

The story

Made as part of the June 2022 LABS / Afrorack Challenge, and my first attempt at creating an instrument with Decent Sampler.

My initial approach was to listen through all the provided material ‘fishing’ for inspiring sounds. I found quite a few gems, though often with several things ‘going on’ at once over the top of each other. I was a little disillusioned, until it occurred to me I could probably isolate the sounds I wanted with filters. Of course this left everything sounding like it was underwater, and once I got the ‘deep sea’ sounds in my ears I was hearing them everywhere, and decided to combine them into a cohesive ‘Submarine’ themed instrument.

There are 3 synth/pad type sounds blendable via the ‘door-wheel’ controls: a cold, harmonic-heavy ‘sonar’ sound; a low, warbling sound mimicking whale-song; and a more SFX-based sound combining a thin, high-frequency alarm-like sound with the creaks and groans of a moving vessel. There are also 2 purely SFX (non pitch-controlled) sounds in the top corners – a low horn sound and a high-pitched siren, with volume sliders.
Central dials control attack/release control, in-built reverb and a low-pass filter.

The GUI uses images designed by upklyak from http://www.freepik.com
Special thanks also to Tobias James for feedback and advice on the instrument 🙂

I hope you enjoy the instrument and find some inspiring sounds in the deep sea!

Interface

Reviews for Submarine

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • Unique Nautical Experience

    If I got to design a soundscape for an underwater level on a game, I'd immediately reach for this. Interesting sonically, and with an appropriate visual theme.

    I dove right in, but have to say it took me a little bit to realize the horn and siren patches were there. Could use some minor refinement on the GUI.

    This instrument has a HUGE range. Truly subterranean bass, and I'm most enjoying the low pass filtration.

    :)

    Gary Ruschman20 June 2022
  • Deep sea ambience

    Provided you are familiar with Eamon's fantastic wind instruments, this will definitely catch you by surprise, because it's something completely different compared to everything else!

    Instead of a solo, well defined instrument, this patch gives the user full access to this very dark, abstract, multi-layered ambience, heavily influenced by the enormous and metalic nature of a submarine. The five different layers of sounds can be mixed by the handy "knobs", giving the freedom of creating big evolving sounds accross 5 full octaves on the keyboard.

    On top of the layer controls, there is are global Attack and Release settings, along with a nice Reverb and a regular filter. If I wanted something more, that would be separate Pan settings for each layer, just to have the chance of creating more complex automations.

    If I had to mention one thing that holds this back, is definitely the wallpaper of choice, along with the placement of the two side knobs, representing the Horn and the Siren (top left and top right respectively). The controls blend in an unclear manner, and the quality of the image could have been a little better. With that said though, these takes away nothing from the overall functionality and quality of the instrument, and this is what matters most.

    Alex Raptakis30 June 2022
  • Sunken sounds

    This is a great blend of sounds that are indeed emblematic of the depths. The mix of multiple files for the sonar synth in particular really gells for me, and overall the three core sound groups are complimentary. I can can definitely see a use for this one.

    I love the cover image - very creative. I actually missed the Horn and Siren options until I had a look through the code... Doh!

    Mark Lowrie27 June 2022
  • Visions of the depths

    A wonderfully atmospheric, ghostly sound, which really does conjure up visions of the depths. It's haunting, unsettling, tense, claustrophobic, and darkly mysterious! All the things you'd want to create subaquatic soundscapes, or possibly envision the depths of space, or the abyssal plains of the mind. It very much does what it says on the tin, simply and elegantly.

    I found it inspiring, especially for washing (no pun intended) pads of beautifully eerie ambience, with the ship sounds, horn, and siren dialled in to give subtle discordance and a subliminal sense of suspense and rising tension. I fear the the Kraken wakes, or worse, Dread Cthulhu stirs in his slumber!

    The GUI is quite busy, with all those rivets, but I do really like it! I would perhaps have liked to see the siren and horn dropped down a little and given the same 'backplate' treatment as the other controls, but it's a small quibble (and one I should have mentioned when we talked about it during development! Also gosh, just noticed I got a mention, thanks! Was a pleasure to talk it through with you.) Anyway, I really like the use of the hatch wheels and dials as controls, it's a nice touch that adds to the narrative of the instrument.

    Overall easy to navigate, and a pleasure to explore!

    Tobias James16 June 2022
  • Deep

    The samples are well treated and each have their own interesting character. Some very deep sounds to be made with this.
    The individual samples are a little out of tune with each other but that seems to add extra character.

    Christopher Scullion21 June 2022
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