I’ve finally had a decent amount of time to give Noise IO synth a more detailed look, so I thought I’d write about the functionality in Noise IO and give some thoughts on a number of the areas in the app.
To start with I’m going to look at ESFM
I’ve taken some of the text from the Noise IO manual to give a description of ESFM. ESFM is the central principle behind Noise.io’s sound creation. It stands for Enhanced Subspace (Substractive) Frequency Modulation.
Frequency (pitch) — along with the amplitude – is one of the main characteristics of a soundwave. A plain soundwave at a fixed
pitch sounds dull. In traditional synthesis, there are two techniques that can be used to enrich the sound:
1) We can take another soundwave at the same frequency, detune it a bit, and let it go through the filter, thus forming a new timbre.
2) Or, we can use another soundwave as a source to define how the frequency of the first soundwave must change over time —
thus forming a new timbre (sound tone). This new timbre depends very much on the shapes of both soundwaves, their amplitude (volume) and frequencies.
The first method is a general description of substractive synthesis (originated from Moog synthesizers), and the second method is a general description of FM synthesis (originated from Yamaha DX-series synthesizers). The uniqueness of Noise.io is that ESFM employs both these methods, and user can use them simultaneously or separately. It combines the spectral richness of substractive synthesis with the diversity of sounds that can be created which is a specific
characteristic of pure frequency modulation synthesis.
So, what does this mean. Well, I can remember years ago owning a a Yamaha DX100 which had 4 sine waves used for FM synthesis. Noise IO has 2 but has a variety of forms that can be used by either oscillator. The actual variety of sounds that you can make in Noise IO is quite stunning, and a brief run through of the factory presets will show you this. However, until you start messing abut with making your own sounds you don’t get to grips with just how powerful it is.
I usually find that any new piece of software takes some time to get used to and a degree of delving into the manual to understand the basics. I don’t think that Noise IO is too different. However, once you’re into it and experimenting it does have a very straightforward interface, and the way controls are laid out makes sense.
In terms of the synthesis from the app I really like and could easily spend happy hours creating sound after sound with this app.