Mike Propst User Experience

Diego Stocco's Rhythmic Processing

Diego Stocco is an Italian sound designer who's worked with, among others, Hans Zimmer. He's perfected a fairly interesting technique of processing sound sources with some rhythm into multiple tracks of kick-snares, bass, and clattering beat-repeaters.

Recently he started selling his secret sauce in the form of some impulse responses for convolution reverbs as well as a $10 instructional video, Rhythmic Processing.

I thought I'd try it out.

The basic premise of this short (under 10 minutes) video is that Stocco plays a rhythm with a chopstick on an acoustic guitar, then walks you through his Ableton Live effects chains to show how he turns the whole thing into a massive beat with tons of variations and atmospheric textures. The first thing you'll notice is that he's efficient — this thing requires a lot of pausing to look at the settings of the plugins. That's fine, I'm sick of overly long YouTube tutorials. His method is basically to take the sound and split it, using EQs and filters, into multiple bands on multiple return channels in Ableton. This is a technique I've used in Pro Tools for complex "fixing" on already-mixed sources (I don't have any dedicated multiband processors), but as a creative exercise it's pretty neat. Stocco doesn't prescribe any particular plugins. However, non-advanced Ableton users may balk at the fact that a couple of the plugs he relies very heavily upon cost money. There are, however, free sequenced gates out there for VST and AU, as well as a few "trance gates" on the [NI User Library](http://www.native-instruments.com/en/community/reaktor-user-library/) if you're into Reaktor. For the ultimate no-cost sequenced gate, just place a standard Ableton gate effect in place of Stocco's plugin and feed a sequenced percussive sound into the side chain. Not tough. Is it worth $10? Well, it's nothing that someone else might not be able to show you, but Stocco is known for this stuff and it's worth a glimpse under the hood. The video is very short, and that may put some people off, but it's very dense in information. I felt pretty inspired.