A New Kind Of Sound
- Hot Jupiters
- Finger Business
- Two Hand Jenga
- Convincingly Dead
- The Mark To Space Ratio*
*The "mark/space ratio" is another term for pulse wave modulation (PWM). Now before I lose you, let me tell you why this is a decent band name. My name is Mark, and by day, I work in the aerospace sector in a facility near Cape Canaveral Florida. "Mark To Space", get it? But the term also represents a the percentage of time that a sound wave is up or down. If a sonic wave doesn't vibrate up or down, you can't hear it--it's not really a sound at all.
So, if we modulate a pulse wave, which is a rich and reedy sounding wave, a mark/space ratio of 10:90 means that the pulse wave is UP for 10% of the cycle and DOWN for 90% of it.
Traditional synthesis allows sound designers to modulate the aforementioned pulse waves (which are really square waves of various duration). Although they have their uses, both square and pulse waves are not very interesting, sonically speaking. They have a tendency to sound either thin, hollow or both.
The new system I'm working with allows me to dynamically modulate the width of sawtooth waves. Saw waves are quite sonically powerful waveforms, rich in complex and ear-pleasing harmonics. I can modulate a flute-like triangle wave into a complex sawtooth wave. This opens up new aural possibilities, as I am now trying all my old PWM tricks on sawtooth sounds.
Of course some killjoy will write me that an obscure piece of old hardware like the MoogyARP 500 could do this way back in 1967. --Don't spoil the buzz I'm getting from designing new sounds. I've got a brand new box of matches. I deserve the chance to burn my own fingers.