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Continuing Desktop Sound Explorations: SFXR

Date/Time Permalink: 05/07/13 03:05:17 pm
Category: Multimedia

SFXR was once one of the coolest little sound toys out there. It generates retro 8-bit sound effects - at random, with a bunch of sliders and buttons to play with. If you're familiar with my last post exploring MIDI music production (and the techno-flavored files I was producing) you'll see where this is going: Adding old-skool lo-fi sound effects to music tracks, quite probably using Audacity to monkey around with them.

Except SFXR doesn't seem to be up to speed with modern desktops. Pepperidge Farm remembers when you could just install a Debian package. No longer!

The original developer offers a round of package options - there's a .deb package (won't install, only for AMD64s), a source code tarball (which won't compile unless you have GTK+2.0, which has gone the way of the dinosaur), and a Windows executable - which sometimes works and sometimes crashes along with a side order of Cream of Stack Puke.

With sound apps, I'm right in the cargo cult. Sacrifice goat, please volcano god, don't ask questions.

But there's solutions out there. If you're purist, I discovered this GitHub project which is making SFXR into a DSSI type... thingie. Smarter people than I can go figure that out. If you're stark raving mad, there's bfxr, a port which requires Adobe Air (retch! gag! choke!). If you don't care and you just want sound effect generation already (my category), here's an online app version of that!

Configuration of the perfect water drop sound effect:

And here's the drop:


And here's a little gallery of other sound effects I've managed to squeeze out of SFXR over the years, which I'm giving away as Creative Commons door prizes:

The idea here is that you can import them into Audacity and tinker with them there, use them for sound effects in your next video game or animation, or... use them as a preset for DSSI synth plug-ins? Maybe I'll figure that out next.

Oh, by the way, I'm starting a new category here at the ol' home blog for multimedia, because it's about time I dug into this little-documented area of desktop Linux.

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