I played through the WoL-campaign again and (just like last time) cringed in emotional agony at the poor job
by Blizzard to redo their mesmerizing Overmind-voice from the first game. Jack Ritschel (the original voice actor) died,
as to what I understood, before SC2 was made so that is part of the explanation. What really bugs me is the lazy
sound editing they did with Paul Eiding as a replacement.
I have since then decided to try and identify in detail how the original (meaning starcraft vanilla) overmind voice is created.
This is mainly for fun, but I know the Overmind is a central character in the starcraft universe as a Zerg antagonist, so
the product of these efforts may result in a well-written tutorial in the subject.
If anyone with enough experience in the subject or a keen ear to how the overmind really sounds - please speak up.
This is what I have been able to produce thus far:
I have listened to some of the other submitted works here and one I like
is the one done by Gradius:
What makes me like that particular example is the sharp grittyness, some of what I feel my
own contribution lack. Could it be a flanger effect?
At any rate, I myself use Adobe Audition for editing. I will try and define key
components in terms of audition-native effects.
from what i can hear, I think you need to low pass the dry voice a bit, it also sounds a bit like there is some slight overdrive/distortion on there. Also there is another effect that I heard somewhere, but i can't recall if I had that.
It's still a bit closer I think. Maybe it will help you get to where you want.
I created a lowpass at 3.3 kHz then I added a TubeScreamer (TSE 808 2.0) with a bit of drive and tone set to a rather low setting. With the TubeScreamer I artificially add the harmonics I cut with the EQ.
In the second one I added a Delay (Nasty DLA) I set the feedback somewhere around 12o'clock and the time to 60-80ms. Then adjusted the wet signals level until it wasn't too muddy.
Very good! At first, I didn't realize those were revamps of my own recordings. It definitely brings the 'sound' as
a whole in the right direction. I will take a look at these VSTs a bit and play around a little bit. Perhaps see if I can
get any interesting results out of it.
As far as the Tube Screamer goes, you can also try other distortion/overdrive plugins. There should be a lot. Also Guitar Amp/Effect Simulators can work well too, since they try to give you the kind of distortion vacuum tubes create. Also some Saturation plugins could bring out the needed harmonics, but they are harder to control since you need to hit their sweet spot.
It also seems to me that the linked overmind sound might be double tracked, but it could also be just the same voice underlayed with different settings or just the delayed voice.
That is my theory as well. But I think the Gradius-version of the overmind must have some element of flanger to it as well, hence the bubbly
feel to it. I have tried to replicate it, but I end up making it sound like sci fi effects from a 1950-year movie.
One thing that I managed to do, however, was to take two identical layers and flanger them with different modulation rates.
After that, I inverted one of them and put the two layers together. The main modulations of the flanger effects canceled each
other out, leaving a somewhat gritty-sounding result. Not exactly what I need, though.
I exchanged a short conversation with Gradius about the effects he used in his own version, and as speculated - it had much to do with chorus and flanger, along with a voxformer. But, as he also stated, it required serious effort and a great deal of fine-tuning.
I have since then done some rigorous research into alternatives to fine-tuning chorus/flanger effects in absurdum.
The results has proven to be closer to what I originally intended. More so than my previous version.
EDIT: It should be duly noted that this upload is heavily filtered, compressed and converted(into .mp3) and may therefore feel somewhat saturated. I did this to preserve the original sound as much as possible - my own sound hardware and processing power is a bit more powerful than that of the average person. As follows, some quality was lost.
I took another shot at recreating the original effect.
This time I made use of formant-pitch shifting, which proved to be a way better approach. With this result, the idea of
using chorus and flanger seems like a dead end. Superimposing only three differently pitched layers, I managed to produce a better outcome than before.
I definitely understand what you're getting at. The backside to chorusing, however, is that it loses its crispness and sound "bubbly" when you add them all together. This "flaw" is more prominent in version 2, and can also be heard in Gradius' version. Version 1 took about 20 times more effort to get the right "tone" to it, and was the last of several attempts. Version 3 was a quick test, and might develop into a more faithful sound with some tweaking.
That being said, I agree that the overall ambience in version 1 is still the best, as I suspect was your point.
Hence, gapper/snipper might be the key to improving the earlier versions.
I think the key is to apply a gapper/snipper before applying the other effects, so the other effects will fill the gaps so to speak, while at the same time attaining the chorus-like effect the original has. That's just a theory, though. I've not attempted to recreate other people's voices before, only original ones.