Power Tool Percussion

Today I decided to record my electric drill. It was on a list of “things i need to record”. Power tools make some great sounds with all sorts of textures and frequencies. I captured the sound of the drill in stereo at a variety of speeds. I also got the sound of switching the drill from forward to reverse. Afterward I chopped it up into a percussive loop and ran it through beat repeat to get a nice mechanical loop going.

Beat repeat has pitch decay setting that incrementally lowers the pitch of repeated slices, which you can hear in the piece. I also maximized the chance settings to increase the likelihood of repeats happening and the variation setting to vary the length of the slices used in the repetition.

Power Tool Percussion

7 thoughts on “Power Tool Percussion

  1. I just can’t get into Beat Repeat because whatever you put through it it always sounds unmistakeably like Beat Repeat. Would have liked to have heard your sounds sans Beat Repeat.

  2. Like its electro flair, offers a bunch of possibilies in combination with other synthetic sounds or even synthesized vocals.

  3. Hey Simon,

    I agree with you about beat repeat. However, there are some clever ways that you can coax it into doing something more interesting. One technique I use (for any processing with randomness) is hybridization of the randomized results. Check out the posts Hybridized Beat Repeat and Herding Random Behaviors for an explanation, or look at the Random Processing tag for more examples. Admittedly I did not spend all that much time on this sound, not bothering to follow my own advice. I guess that they can’t all be gems when I’m creating a sound every day.

  4. Pingback: Audio Cookbook » Blog Archive » Electric Drill Sounds

  5. hi John

    Certainly meant no disrespect. I think you are doing a brilliant thing here sharing your techniques with the world.

    I will check out the other sounds you mention and I’m also going to take a listen to your ‘dry’ drill sounds.


  6. Thanks, Simon. I appreciate your feedback. Your comment brings up an issue that I often contemplate. When is it valid to use factory presets and samples? I tend not to use them most of the time avoiding the “sound of the month” stigma. I do make exceptions for classic keyboard sounds like pianos and organs, or individual drum samples when programming beats. Perhaps I’ll write an entry about this at some point.

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