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Using a noise impulse response

Download this impulse response

This stereo noise impulse response is public domain.

Use this white noise as an "impulse response" with a convolution processor, such as the free (beer) IRdust processor:

By itself, it makes a sound very similar to the “gate reverb” or non-linear sound which was very popular with drum sounds in the 1980s. This is probably the effect Mark Crabtree was aiming for when he created the NONLIN2 preset for the RMX16.

As it turns out, a short white noise impulse response going through a convolution reverb also makes a really good “input diffuser” (this is what reverb designers call the part that massages the input of a sound before it enters the main “tank” of an algorithmic reverberator; this is what the “diffusion” parameter on most algorithmic reverbs affect). One can take the output of the convoluted white noise and make it the input of a reverb which otherwise sounds rattly with percussive sounds; the convoluted white noise removes the rattle from the percussive sound in the second reverb.

Let me illustrate this with an example: The free Voxengo “old school reverb”, while a good reverb, sounds really bad and rattly with percussive sounds. This can be fixed by setting up one’s VST host to route effects as follows:

Input -> IRdust -> Old School Reverb -> Output

The IR dust uses a 100ms file which is pure sustained white noise; we set the mix in IRdust to 100% reverb; the white noise convoluted with our sound is the input for the Old School Reverb. By using this convoluted white noise in the signal given to the Old School Reverb, what before sounded like beads rattling in a jar now sounds like a reasonable reverberant wash.