Sound Design Based On The Human Voice

Sound designer and composer Mick Gordon has shared this smart promo video, Voices of Devs, that’s entirely based on voice samples that he made at the Game Developer Conference 2011 in San Francisco:

I wandered around with a little microphone at GDC San Francisco 2011 to record vocal sounds from anyone who was willing to make them. I wanted to make a song out of these noises. In fact, I wanted to make a complete song, using nothing but these vocal recordings.

This is that song.

People grunted, groaned, moaned, screeched, screamed, and sang into my little microphone and I used this source material to produce Voices of Devs.

Absolutely everything you hear in this track was made by manipulating these recordings using various sound design techniques. Every drum, lead, chord and effect was, at one point in time, a recording of somebody making noises with their mouth at GDC San Francisco 2011. No other samples, synths, instruments or recordings were used in this track. Whatsoever.

Software used: Adobe Audition 3.1, FL Studio 10, Melodyne, Reaktor, Kontakt, PaulStretch and stacks of plugins.

In a post on his site, Gordon discusses two main techniques he used to turn vocal samples into the virtual instruments used on the track:

  • Visual waveform matching – visually inspecting the waveforms of the types of sounds that you want to duplicate, learning their characteristics and then matching these characteristics with your source audio
  • Looping – taking short segments of samples, looping them and then adding envelopes, filtering, effects, etc to create the sounds that you want

In addition to being a great demo of Gordon’s strengths, Voices of Devs is very clever promo, because it was created from vocal samples from people that might recommend him to do sound design and soundtrack for the video games that they work on.

Check it out and let us know what you think of it!

13 thoughts on “Sound Design Based On The Human Voice

  1. bjork’s “medulla” albums is done almost entirely this way as well, though with a lot less modulation, look up “triump of a heart”

    1. Full marks for a great piece of music and not just the sound design. Things like this sound FAR better when they come from some inspirational spark. If some of you budding composers want to stand out, drinking in how this guy constructed and phrased things would be a good idea. It seems simple on the first listen… but it ain’t.

  2. 32 bit with no plans of 64 bit version.

    Not future proof.

    Neither is FruityLoops it’s also 32 bit with no plans of a 64 bit version.

    I’d hate to lose a program because my future Windows version didn’t support 32 bit down shifting.

  3. Wow. What a unique concept. I mean, it’s almost like sampling the human voice creates a variety of waveforms that can be manipulated to create various sounds. That’s amazing that he came up with this idea. A whole song purely of the human voice…

  4. damn cool stuff, you really have to admire the amount of work that went into this. Great track at the end of it too!

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