WRITTEN BY Carol Ma
Foley EDITOR, BOOM BOX POST
Timeflux is a specialized sound design synthesizer that runs standalone. The program focuses on stretching, morphing and processing spectral effects for sound design. Similar to most specialized software, you really have to play and experiment with it to really understand to program; TimeFlux is no different. To better understand this program, I asked my colleagues for the favorite hard sound effect and see what I could create.
At first glance the layout of the software seems interesting and somewhat complex; but after a quick rundown and 8 different presets, with the optional preset adjustment, TimeFlux is surprisingly user friendly. TimeFlux allows users to upload 4 separate sound files, which are divided into 2 components, Morpher and Stretchers.
Just as the name describes, the Morpher merges two sound files to create a customized sound. Once the sound in uploaded the user can transition between the two sounds files in the frequency specturm, allowing users to adjust the ratio between two files, which is controlled by the slider at the top. Within the frequency spectrum, users can control time and pitch of the combined sounds. The X-axis controls the speed and the Y-axis controls the pitch. For the morpher, I ended up using a woman’s scream and a wolf howl.
Expecting an incoherent cacophony of horror sounds, I was surprised at the outcome. The result had more of a sci-fi feeling, which wasn’t horrible, simply unexpected. After playing around with the morpher for quite some time, I felt that the morpher would work better for things with less motion; such as backgrounds, specifically in sci-fi settings.
In TimeFlux, there are 2 independent stretchers, which are given two slots to upload sound files. The Stretcher has 3 main parameters: Volume, pan, and speed. I inserted two separate sound effects: A magical Shimmer and Body Impact.
Unlike the morpher, the sound files for this section were a lot shorter. Because of this difference, there was an unappealing loop when recording. Although this could be useful in another situation, it was not exactly what I preferred when recording the effect. Regardless, I liked the outcome of the Magical shimmer, which transformed to more of an ethereal glow. The Body Impacts ended up more of a transition sound to me.
In the end, I felt these sounds could be used as hard effect, but could also be a steady ambient because of the repetitive loop that I received when recorded.
There are 8 different snapshots/presets that are stored. You can recall a snapshot by simply clicking on one of the Spheres, at the top. Store a snapshot by shift-clicking on one of the spheres. To morph in between all the presets, use the center orb to move around the circle. The easiest way to transition between the different sounds is in this section. All the different components, the morpher and stretchers, can be used at the same time; or the user can adjust one component at a time using an on/off button found in each stretcher and morpher.
There are 4 VST slots, one for the morpher, two for each stretcher, and one for the master. In this section users can add more to their sound, such as reverb or delay. Users can send a plug-in to the individual sections, morpher or stretchers, or to the whole thing, the master.
Similarly, there are 4 Slots given for filters. Each sound has a 3 pole filter on the output which can be controlled by changing the values in the box or by adjusting the poles in the filter graphic. Users can control which frequencies they want to emphasize or hide. This section is also adjusted in the presets, but users are free to tweak these parameters. When experimenting, I felt that there was not anything that I particularly wanted to emphasize; so I kept the parameters the same.
Saving audio files can be done by clicking on the Record button, found in the general settings, then pressing stop when finished.