Update: Software Downloads can now be accessed under the ‘Software Mentioned’ Tab to the right.
With day five of Blogtober on us and with many people realising we have a long way to go, I felt from an audio point of view the best tool to introduce people to first would be Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch (better known as ‘Paulstretch’) created by Paul Nasca, a programmer who is known well in the programming, audio and film industries (at least according to his website and LinkedIn credentials)
It’s a standalone program that’s free to download via a link from his website or you can go straight to the download page through the link
at the bottom of the post to the right. It’s available on all three main platforms but there’s only a ‘ready to run’ compiled program for Windows at the moment I’m afraid, but if you have Bootcamp on MacOS or WINE on MacOS & Linux that should run fine for you. If you’re really hardcore you can even build it from source for any of the platforms (he does after all develop in a Linux environment!)
As the name suggests, this tool is designed to process sound and stretch it from short edgy sounds to extreme levels and does so without affecting pitch. This often leads to you hearing various elements in your source file in a completely different way, be it various artefacts or small ornaments that would have otherwise never noticed buried within the mix, or indeed a total shift in genre (some of my favourites are U Smile by Justin Bieber at 800x, The Microsoft Sound by Brian Eno at 23x and Windows XP Startup Sound at 24 hours length (unknown multiplier) ). The beauty of the interface means if you just simply want to hear your favourite audio go on for hours or days at a time you can adjust it using the long slider and the “Parameters” tab or you can use the window tools to shape and control the processing further – all of which will work in realtime as the program plays your file.
In addition to slowing down audio seamlessly, Paulstretch can process your audio using a selection of small but powerful processors, such as mixing in up/down to ocatave pitches alongside (or instead of your original sound) with an extra .5 slider on the up, adding in Binural beats, a pitch/frequency shifting tool, automation of the stretch using a large space for your to draw your envelope curves, a compressor, amongst others.
Once you’ve had fun mangling your audio into your next chillout soundtrack or a psychedelic tribute to the Beatles, Paulstretch can output your audio to a simple wave file and save it on your hard drive or removable media (though admittedly, the interface isn’t as intuitive in this tab)
Overall I think Paulstretch is a great little tool for generating abstract audio in your next project, changing tempo slightly to add a new edge to your track, or even to satisfy the novel curiosity to see what an existing pieces sounds like at extremely slow lengths.
If you’ve not used it before, try it for yourself and let us know how you get on. If you have, what have you made with it? Feel free to leave a comment down below.