Software for Acquiring and Creating Samples and Clips of Audio
S.Mash (Sample or Sound Mash) is a workshop and playground for extracting short audio segments from songs or other audio tracks and altering, combining, and otherwise morphing these sounds into new ones.
S.Mash aims to fill an apparent gap in available audio software by focusing on working with collections of short audio clips.
A wide variety of audio editing and sequencing software currently exists, yet most of these programs seem to fall into one of two main workflows: programs designed for mixing multiple tracks of audio into a complete arrangement or song, and programs which are used for processing and editing individual tracks of audio, one at a time. While either of these types of software can be used to achieve just about any audio recording or production goal, neither of these workflows seem to work particularly well for acquiring, editing and combining a variety of short sounds to create new individual samples or loops. S.mash thus aims to provide an improved interface for acquiring, archiving, altering and combining short clips of sound into new sounds and loops for use in other, more large scale sequencing programs, hopefully resulting in a more fluid, insightful, and creative sound forming experience.
S.Mash provides unique funtionality for acquiring short samples, clips, and loops from audio files to form fuidly explorable collections of sounds.
The process of extracting short sounds from longer recordings such as songs, soundtracks, or field recordings, is often tedious, uninspiring, and clinical. S.Mash avoids these negative experiential traits by providing for a fluid workflow in acquiring collections of sounds. As desireable or interesting segments of sound are found, they can be accumulated into a "scraps" list - an interim collection of sounds stored in memory which are easily browseable and playable. This list allows a user to get a feel for the palette of sounds they are gathering and provides a much more instantaneous feedback than the normal copy / new file / paste workflow necessary in other audio programs where multiple extracted clips often occupy entirely different windows, making rapid playback of multiple sounds impossible and cluttered at best. S.Mash also provides unique cursors for selecting lengths of audio which are musically relevant to a given tempo or the tempo of the song currently being browsed, allowing for rapid acquisition of samples which would otherwise require careful trimming or post-processing in a sequencing host program.
S.Mash provides an easily expandable platform for new ways of combining and generating sounds from short audio clips.
The vast majority of audio sequencing and editing software seems to have adopted a particular model for how sounds should be processed: most software will host widely-usable VST, AU, or similar plug-ins which cater to real-time processing of signals and are only occasionally able to accept multiple inputs (as in the case of side-chained effects). These effects can be applied to individual sounds or combinations of sounds to produce downstream outputs which can in turn be processed or mixed with other audio tracks. By providing a platform where collections of short sounds can quickly be assembled and off-line (non-real-time) processing seems highly appropriate, S.Mash presents an opportunity for a new class of plug-ins: modular pieces of code which can take any number of audio inputs and generate any number of output waveforms, using audio segments as both the targets of processing as well as the sources of processing parameters and goals.
For example, the amplitude envelope of one sound can be applied to another; groups of percussive sounds can be aggregated to create "clap" like sounds; short segments of audio can be repeated to create sustained notes which then have the attack and sustain of a piano note applied; pairs of sounds can be interleaved to create sounds which rapidly transition between two timbres and so on. The possibilities are nearly endless, and S.Mash provides a platform in which such sound combinations can be modularly incorporated and rapidly applied to collections of sounds without having to work with various programming languages where loading, previewing, and saving sounds is often much more cumbersome.
While much work remains to be done in order to implement all of the features S.Mash will hopefully one day have, the current source files can be found here:
A brief user's guide (explaining many of the controls which are currently only keyboard accessible) is available here: