WRITTEN BY: GREG RUBIN
SOUND EDITOR, BOOM BOX POST
For this blog post I decided to talk a bit about a tool I frequently use when designing hover vehicles. Waves MondoMod is a great modulation tool and super user friendly to use and play around with to create phasing and oscillation effects. While you can use it for a variety of effects, I really enjoy using it to its more extremes in creating scifi sounds like hovercrafts.
First, a little bit about the plugin parameters to understand what you’ll be manipulating. The AM slider controls the amplitude of the signal being modulated, the FM slider controls the frequency of the signal being modulated. The Rotation section allows you to adjust the stereo field of the signal; even with mono files it emulates a left/right rotational modulation. The tempo of course then adjusts the speed of the LFO involving the AM/FM/Rotation effects. There is also a box where you can select Sine/Triangle/Square/Sawtooth Up or Down, an on/off button for each of the effects, and a Mix box to adjust how much of the signal is being processed.
Now for using MondoMod in creation of hovercrafts when you want that fluttery, sputtery sound to the motor. Start with choosing a tone or blend of tones either created by software instrument or pick out a/some tonal droning steady sounds from a sound library that you like. If you’re using a software instrument, you can also just drop MondoMod right in your plugin chain if you like. For the purposes of this blog post, I decided to go with pulling from library. I grabbed a few tonal drone files I liked, along with a refrigerator motor steady and balanced the levels into a blend that felt about right. I then rendered down the elements into two files; one that ‘s more tonal steady, one that’s more of the motor. Then to add the oscillation of the engine, I made an aux with MondoMod on it and sent the signal to the bus. If you’re just processing one file at a time, you can also use MondoMod as an Audio Suite plugin.
I first adjust the tempo to my liking for the speed of oscillation I want for the engine. Then I adjust the AM/FM/Rotation settings around to find the right balance of vibrato and tremolo I want to use. I tend to find I go pretty drastic in the adjustments of the AM and FM parameters. MondoMod’s user-friendly interface makes it easy and fun to slide the parameters around and see where you want the effects to land. Now, having the signal 100% processed through the plugin is usually a bit too much, in my opinion, so then I adjust the Mix level to maintain the LFO flutter we just created while allowing some of the unprocessed steady to come through and even it out. Do whatever minor tweaking you like, and voila! You’ve created a hover vehicle engine!
From here, depending on the type of hover vehicle, you can add a rocket steady layer underneath if it’s jet powered, a bubble steady layer can be added for aquatic vehicles, etc. You can also chop out a segment of the steady you created, drop some fades or volume automation, and process through a graphic pitch and time shifting plugin, as I discussed in a prior blog post about using Waves SoundShifter Graphic, to create custom passbys. I typically will also add a fairly neutral whoosh layer underneath as well to help the by cut through and sell the movement.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post and find it useful in learning different tools in hover vehicle design. Let us know what tools you use down below!