Table of Contents

Taking a Closer Look at the FutzBox Lo-Fi Distortion Effect Plug-in

Separating Noise and Audio Signals

As covered in the previous section the audio signal and noise source have separate sets of filtering. This is primarily useful for separating the audio from the noise, so the two signals compete less with each other. For example, using the High-Pass Filter, the noise can be restricted to frequencies over 10 kHz. Then the altered, or 'futzed' audio can be filtered and EQ'd such that little of its main content exists over the 10 kHz frequency (maybe that is not too difficult with ordinary dialog, but you get the idea).

Note the SIM sonic footprint is applied to the entire 'futzed' signal, so the incoming audio and noise generator output are further processed in such a way that they both appear to have come from the same source. For example, the background noise in a bad radio should have roughly the same overall sonic footprint of the audio coming out of it.

SIM Tuning

Synthetic Impulse Models (SIMs) are efficient emulations of actual impulse response. Furthermore, they have no internal latency, and can be manipulated in real time. The Tuning control located in the SIM control section adjusts various parameters of each SIM for various sonic results. Each SIM has its own set of tuning parameters.

Using the SIM Tuning control can adjust a given SIM to better suit a specific application. Many SIMs create interesting phasing effects when the Tune control is swept across its entire range. This effect can be useful with automation - the 'sonic experience' is consistent during playback, and the 'moving' effect provides more 'futz realism'.

Audio Signal EQ Using Resonant Filters

The FutzBox first stage of audio processing is the high pass and Low-Pass Filters. These filters include controllable resonance, or filter Q. The maximum boost is approximately 24 dB. These peaks are very effective at emphasizing portions of the signal spectrum.

Dialogue and Vocal Distortion

Varied distortion effects are possible using the FutzBox. Some general tips on creating 'good' distorted dialog and vocal tracks include:

  • Roll off the low end of the audio using the high pass audio filter.

  • Audition Distortion Amount and Rectify control separately as well as combined, using a variety of the available Distortion Modes.

  • Use the EQ to add 'presence' to the distortion audio.

  • Experiment with the Scale control in the SIM section when a SIM Preset is 'almost' what you need.

Finally, do not forget to balance out the level of the altered audio with the original, using the Output control. This will allow the transitions between the distorted and original audio to appear smoother.

Creating Low Fidelity Version of Music

If the goal is to make the music production sound like it is being played on an old tube radio, FutzBox is very capable of such effects. Going further, if the music is supposed to be timely (ex: a 1940's big band sound), a judicious use of the FutzBox can go a long way in making the otherwise pristine digital recording sound as 'retro' as possible.

The use of audio / drum loops in music production is common practice, and the FutzBox is ideal for manipulating such audio sources. If that two-bar back beat breakout needs some extra crunch, FutzBox can deliver a wide variety of sounds.

Signal Dropout Effects

Any gate, when set too aggressively (threshold too high, attack, hold, and release times too fast), can cause incoming audio not to pass to the output. The FutzBox gate is especially suited for such applications. The ranges of the attack, hold, and release controls are such that 'bad' gate settings can be obtained. When combined with the other effects in FutzBox, the results can yield realistic emulations of signal dropout effects common in many communication devices.