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Nine Inch Nails kinda Drone
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Synth Noise  
Author Nine Inch Nails kinda Drone
First of all, I would like to say "Hi" as I just joined the forum w00t
One reason I did so, was that I might need support to achieve the kind of sound I currently aiming at. Hope this is the right sub-forum for this kind of question. Unfortunately, the search does not give me any hits for any term (is it currently not working?).

I am a Nine Inch Nails fan for a very long time. I really like the aesthetic of sounds Trent is producing and am most impressed by the drone-ish soundtrack for the video game "Quake" ( -> skip the first songs, which is rather guitar based to get the idea).

To get further knowledge about synths I watched a ton of tutorials etc. and tried to imitate the sound of Alessandro Cortini (a fellow in the NIN orbit).
My current setup is semi-modular only (Mother-32, DFAM, Model D, Arturia Keystep).
Now I would like to advance to eurorack and have this basic setup in mind as a starting point for the sound described above:

- DOEPFER A-100LC6 Case (in order to have enough space to advance hihi )
- Plaits as a good starting point and sound source
- uClouds (Mutable Clouds clone) for grains, freeze and reverb
- some kind of noise generator
- some kind of Filter
- some kind of LFO
- some kind of randomization source (for a generative music spin I would like to put in)

Does anyone have any recommendations for specific techniques and/or modules that might help me on my journey?

I think a mother 32 and dfam should be mostly sufficient, but expanding beyond that I'd want cv control. The ability to shape envelopes precisely is really nice. The DFAM in particular is I think also a top of the line drone machine...

My advice is to defer buying anything until you must start expanding beyond what you have, but when you do I would want a Maths (the most popular eurorack module which does mixing, logic, and function generators which are LFOs, clocks, envelopes, etc. it slews. It can be an oscillator, waveshaper, etc etc.), a bipolar vca (ring mod), and a sample and hold (possibly with some other random voltage generating features built in)

Forgive me for speculating that you will not be able to compete with Trent Reznor in terms of gear, so you're going to have to figure out how to express yourself with patching! The journey ahead will occupy you for years!

Cortini has made some beautiful albums with really modest gear...
Thank you very much for the reply, which I really take into consideration. First I stick with what I have and already getting some interesting results. Currently, I try different setups and approaches with VCV, which brings me back to the laptop (what I try to avoid). One for example is this:

Think I need to re-review the Maths in general as I thought it would be "only" for envelopes.

Forgive me for speculating that you will not be able to compete with Trent Reznor in terms of gear

Not only in terms of gear but also in craftmanship. Could not catch up with his experience collected over decades and his vision in general.

Cortini has made some beautiful albums with really modest gear...

Indeed. I really like to study his composition in terms of track development. As voices are only a few, it is a got inspiration of how he changes certain parameters.
Also I find the sound of some of loopop YT videos really nice (such as the one for the DFAM, Grandmother at Moog, Subharmonicon).

The DFAM in particular is I think also a top of the line drone machine...

May I ask why exactly? I currently set the tempo to very slow, so sounds are developing kinda gentle
youwing wrote:

May I ask why exactly? I currently set the tempo to very slow, so sounds are developing kinda gentle

... so try it with the tempo very fast thumbs up

Basically if you run it at audio rate, most or all knobs will effect the timbre depending on what you've got patched.
Ha, sometimes thinks are so obvious, yet so far away d'oh!
Will experiment with this setting!
I'm curious if anyone knows how to produce those kind of voices from the underworld you can hear on the quake video at 9'

It does sounds amazing !!
Ah, it was the Quake soundtrack that got me looking for NiN stuff. Here in the UK it is hidden from general view.

I always though samplers were essential to that early sound. It may have cruder methods than you think and therefore harder to unpick.

However, on the recent Bad Witch ep there is a track with a Quake vibe. "I'm not from this world" and my favourite of the set. You can hear lots of short looping elements in it and they could have been having fun with source material from the past. And if the looping wasn't done with tape loops, it's doing a good impression with the splice noise audible.
I recently discovered Doom and Quake music and so far I have been impressed by the process of those sounds !

The "I'm not from this world" track is great as well, I like how every loops are interacting with each other. I think I could recreate those elements with a looper, fx and some granular.
I am hearing synth sounds, manipulated field recordings/samples, and effects.

Synth sounds you have a pretty good handle on with the Mother 32 (If you haven't checked out Alastair Wilson on YouTube you should). He has a lot of videos that are just two Mother 32s and an Eventide TimeFactor and Space. He also has patch diagrams.

For field recordings I would recommend a handheld recorder (Zoom or the like) and a sampler module or dedicated external. A lot of the samples are pitched down which I would think any sampler could do. It adds a lot of dirt and grit and "organic-ness". Plus going around and recording stuff then finding some small, unexpected sound and shaping it into something is fun and inspiring. Going modular would enable treating the entire setup as a whole and you could potentially do a lot more manipulation with it, but a dedicated external sampler could be polyphonic and multitimbral and higher end samplers from the past have a lot of sample mangling tools. They both would have advantages and disadvantages and either would be a great way to go.

I, personally, go for external effects, but you could definitely go with modules. A good reverb and delay will be handy.
You might want to check out the NIN episode of Song Exploder.
I was also very into the quake soundtrack and it is probably one my favorite pieces by reznor. It was made during the Downward Spiral / Further Down era and probably utilizes a lot of the same techniques, so researching how that album was made may or may not be useful (there is a lot of stuff online).

I was actually surprised to find a lot of my favorite synth basslines from golden age NIN were actually made on the Prophet VS vector synth.

As far as quake soundtrack, definitely some synths on there but there's a lot of overlapping samples and 16-bit aliasing. I'm def hearing that Roland V-synth type sample stretching that was used on Further Down the Spiral. Lots of field recordings. pitched down percussive samples through Black hole reverb. Lot's of guitar drones going into distortion/fuzz building up a tonal bed underneath.

I think a contact mic, spring reverb, digital reverb like Black Hole DSP or similar, and healthy amounts of distortion/fuzz would go a long way.
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