Full Design Process of 'Some Things Just Look Better Dead'

Some Things Just Look Better Dead or Better Dead is intended to be listened to using headphones. Monitor/reference headphones are ideal though I know not everyone can afford them. The sound is still understandable with a set of V-Modas even though their bass output is higher than my reference headphones. The AKG K612 Pro. Not very pro but a good start. Anyways, because this was not rendered as 3D audio and not much is set to pan from right or left, playing the tracks in a mono source not much will be different. If this was a 3D track played in mono the wide stereo range would not show up in the mono version. Getting off track, but thought you should know.

Pre-ensemble:
There are a few parts in Better Dead that are not original to the track. Recordings and scenes were made before the intro was done up. Everything but the Drop Pod Release and the girl's voice were made in the same project file.

Vocals:
There are two separate voice tones, one being the girl and that other being an alternate personality. Voices were rendered using Natural Reader 14.
NR14 has, in my opinion, the best basic core of an AI or person. It alone sounds really good. The original is a deeper woman's voice. I have used a male voice in the past, but in my findings it appears that using a female voice, especially when synthesized, is much easier to work with and sculpt. In a past project I used the same voice for mimicking a male demon[track below]. All of my vocals are done at the speed setting in NR14 at -2.


I used the plugin Harmor for dressing it up. My preset titled Psycho Child is just a default synth with reverb, echo, and added 'Prism' effect. Pairing the voice to the synth, how I see it, rounded the cutoff points of each letter to word, softening things up and bringing the dialog patterns to sound more real rather than [speech>hard cutoff] for every single word and the letters in the words. Like taking a wooden cube and sanding the edges and corners to be rounded. No mixer presets were used.

Harmor has a pitch shift option where I raised it to midway between default and maximum. Going higher pitch with a woman's voice sounds more authentic to tone changes over male voices.

There were two recordings made. One with reverb and echo on and another without. I wanted the voice to be heard clearly and louder than the background/falloff noise. Like yelling into a hall and capturing just the reverb and echo without the starting source. Something that is hard for me to record in real life. Clear voice up front and the more effected version in the back to fill the remainder of the room. Hope you can follow.

The same NR14 voice was used for the Drop Pod Release section. No in depth effects were added. Still processed in Harmor for rounding off those corners. It is the original pitch from the speech software.

The girl's line is original with the origin of "If I kill you please know that I mean it from the very bottom of my heart" coming from an older comeback track of mine titled Glitch Me Hard.



Original full quote: "My new home smells like a mental institution...No wait. This is a mental institution. If I kill you please know that I mean it from the very bottom of my heart."

The only other vocals in the track is my voice in the beginning.


Drop Pot Release:
Originally done just because I knew I could do it.


It was jumped around between roughs of other songs till Better Dead came around, about two months later. All of the sound effects were made using NI Skanner XT while the heart beat portion was made in NI Razor.

Later all of the animal sounds and transition to the girl's voice were layered over it and not actually part of the original.

Animal/Creature screams: 
The creatures are not sampled from living things. They were created on my Eurorack synthesizer. Originally sounded like robot cats meowing. They can be downloaded for free, though might change that some day, in the Samples Downloads Hub on my site. The library is titled Cyber Cry.

These meows were then stretched to various lengths and some with basic reverb attached. I have used these over and over since then. Similar roars from the same folder can be heard in Jungle Run And Discover.



Remaining ambient noise:
Everything else in the intro, the space base interior and radio all originated from my Eurorack system.
Buttons being pressed at the drop pod air lock were created in NI Razor. The intro ambient first started off as very noisy things. I processed them through Harmor with IC AA4 mixer preset and the This Is Satanic preset for Harmor. Recordings started short and the finals were the same just slowed way down and filtered.
The drum beatings were a mix of many different sampled drums with on-board effects.

An example of something that looks better dead in the fall season.

The End
I hope that you enjoyed and learned something. Tell me what you think or have any questions feel free to comment below. Talk to you later!

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