AMBIENT

AMBIENT

Descriptor: Unique standalone audio processing software capable of producing radically transformed audio, sound sculpting and design. Paint with sound ...

Platform: Mac Osx & PC Windows

AMBIENT – v4 is a unique ambient soundscape generator capable of producing a vast array of ambient textures, from the bizarre to the beautiful. The module has already featured on numerous professional recordings demonstrating its versatility in bring inspiration to the creative process.

AMBIENT processes any WAV or AIFF sound you care to load into it. The possibilities are endless.

Once the artist has achieved the sculpted sound they desire they simply press record to output the new sound WAV – with the option of live recording any tweaks of changes they choose to make. Often the output WAV will be then imported into a DAW of the artists choice. 

Version 4 Update: AMBIENT – v4 updates, improves and builds upon customer feedback provided by v1. It is now compatible with the latest Osx and Windows platforms and has an improved GUI.

The design of software includes randomly loaded graphic backdrops created by Mike Podolak.  Niccolò Granieri (PhD @ Integra Lab) has undertaken additional programming to bring AMBIENT up to date and build on the legacy of Christopher Hipgrave’s original work.  

Features: Multi-effect standalone software module featuring:

  • Granular sampler with random pitch function
  • Amplitude envelope with a trigger speed control
  • Three pitch shift controls for adding extra layers to the sound
  • Tape delay
  • Multi-mode filter
  • Ambient reverb
  • MIDI learn – link to your hardware controller
  • Preset save and recall

The granular function is capable of transforming and mutating sounds into gentle molecules of ambience all the way to harsh and crunchy Autechre style sound-assaults. 

AMBIENT instructions

You can download the instruction manual HERE.

 

  1. Demo Video

     

Customer Feedback

  1. You said ...

    The results from this piece of software have blown my mind. Thank you.

    Thanks for the great piece of software, i am certainly enjoying it.

    This is most seriously the most creatively inspiring tool I have ever come across.

    Excellent programme... it's pretty darn cool and inspiring!!!

    I love the way it just works straight away - no need for MAX or MSP - great piece of soiftware.

    Fantastic app, only took a short while to work out what does what. Reminds me of paulstretch plus ioplong plugins off smartelectronix.

    Brilliant! Cheers, had a go and it's a lot of fun.

    Thanks for putting this out. Thanks!

    Just wanted to drop a quick line that I love what you are doing with this software, looking forward to more releases hopefully!

  1. Tracks made with AMBIENT ...

     

Reviews

  1. Sound on Sound

    Occasionally, one stumbles across a PC audio utility that is far more useful than its minimal price tag suggests,
    and such is the case with Ambient, available from Audiobulb records. Written by Christopher Hipgrave as a standalone Max/MSP application running on Windows & Mac and given inspiring album-like artwork from graphic designer Mike Podolak, Ambient is described as a "unique ambient soundscape generator", and is simplicity itself to use.

    You simply load in any single audio file (it accepted all sample rates I threw at it, and maximum length is only limited
    by your available RAM), and click on Start for playback and Records to capture the results in real time to a new file as you manipulate the various parameters on offer. At the heart of Ambient is a granular sampler that spits out a stream of "grains" at your chosen speed and pitch, but with variable random-pitch and pitch-quantise functions to make things potentially more musical. There are three additional pitch-shift layers available for extra richness,
    an Amplitude Envelope, so you can add real time fades, plus effects including delay, various filter options and ambient reverb. However, this bland description of the controls doesn't prepare you for the results, which I found truly inspiring.

    Ambient is perfect for the avant garde electronic composer, but it is also a wonderful tool for sound designers and, indeed, any other musician who needs a kick start for creativity, some ambient backdrops or some fresh audio flavouring. Highly recommended! - Martin Walker

  1. Ark Magazine

    Audiobulb Records specialize in exciting and experimental ambient music and they have just released a piece
    of software that allows even complete beginners to manipulate sound; creating huge sound-scapes. Ark Magazine was one of the first to get our hands on a copy. Here’s what we thought ...

    There’s something about ambient music that has always fascinated me. While some would dismiss it as “just noise” the level of subtlety and images created in that noise can be simply awe-inspiring.

    I play the guitar but I’d never tried to making music using a laptop, preferring to use instruments rather than relying
    on a cold, clinical machine to do the work. That was until I loaded up the simple Ambient software. I didn’t have
    any instructions and having tried this kind of software before, and understanding it about as badly as the noises
    I made it produce, I didn’t hold out much hope for making it work.

    To my complete surprise, however, I quickly and painlessly managed to load up a song that was stored on my computer and was ready to begin manipulating it. 10 seconds later, I was cowering as a throbbing, disturbing
    bass tone was being emitted from my tiny speakers. It was shaking my eyeballs and was genuinely unsettling. Considering the song I’d put in was a pleasant jaunt with acoustic guitar and a tambourine, the transformation
    was simply incredible as the song was now unrecognizable but was absorbing to listen to, and like nothing I’d heard before. I twiddled a few more of the labeled, virtual knobs, and the noise was gradually tamed back to a state where it sounded like a human could have created it.

    Intrigued by my first adventure into the software, I decided to do some experimenting and so I plugged in my guitar and recorded a few samples of noise from long drawn guitar notes to high pitched squeals of feedback. Considering what the software had done to the gentle tune I’d tried earlier, I thought that it would revel on getting
    its hands dirty with some more abstract sounds. I first tested it with some random stabs on a guitar, which was
    already being distorted. On putting it into the software I had no idea where to start manipulating it so I hit the ‘random’ button. The many reverb, pitch shift and grain size knobs suddenly jumped to all different positions and
    what sounded like a fierce wind was ripping through the room. I pressed it again and somehow it had managed
    to construct a gentle beat out of the mess of noise I’d entered.

    I wasn’t prepared for what it threw back at me though as I twiddled with a few knobs for the feedback sound and my speakers pierced the room with what sounded like somebody dying painfully. I tried another setting and was presented with what can only be described as peace in sound form. As I listened carefully to it, drifting into a state of eternal bliss, the sound was comprised of many different layers of noises which were floating in and out giving the sound different textures to it. I’ve no idea how it had produced them from what I’d put into it though.

    The software is certainly not just for mucking around on though as it has a record facility which will record as you play with the noise and can record for as long as you want, until your computer runs out of space. This gives the option to twiddle with knobs while recording and it has already been used by Christopher Hipgrave to create his album ‘Slow, With Pages of Fluttering Interference.

    I found that the controls were a little fiddly and if you needed to be extremely precise in what you were altering this may cause a little trouble as some of the mouse movements were a bit clunky in dragging the virtual knobs around.

    The random button was a brilliant idea though and ten seconds after loading up a few high pitched notes from the guitar, I’d managed to make them sound like the biggest mosquito of all time and elegant churchbells – just by clicking my mouse twice.

    In all this is a pioneering and yet beautifully simple piece of software. It opens up endless possibilities for creativity and is an absolute steal. - Alistair Webster.

  2. Vital Weekly - V4

    This is not the first time that I review software; it is the second time and it's an updated version of the one I wrote before, Ambient V.03 (see Vital Weekly 845). I have very little knowledge about  technology, to be honest, and, as I pointed out before, I am quite lazy. I don't mind if somebody else  does the legwork for me. That is one of the reasons why I like Ambient so much. I have used that first version a lot since I got it. Here's how it works: you load any sound into it, be it very short or very long, and you can change all sorts of parameters, Grain randomness, Granular randomness, pitch shift, delay, reverb, amplitude envelope, filter and you can tweak it around until you find something you like. Then you hit record and let it run by itself until you are done.

    The recordings can then be opened in any other program you use for mixing and editing. You can feed the result 
    back in Ambient and use it as source material. You can save your favourite presets and you can connect via Midi learn a controller to it. My most beloved feature is the 'random' button though. It takes your sound in the most unexpected territories and I can hit it for as long as I think is necessary to find the right sound. Don't let the name 'Ambient' misguide you, as it is not necessarily an ambient outcome. I guess it depends on your choice of input, but also some combinations rip speakers and headphones apart. So is this something for lazy people (like me)? I don't think it is, 
    as it all very much has to do with what you put into this, and what you do with the results.

    With technology, I always feel one should work with something one is comfortable with. Just last week I discussed with someone why I was still using software A for multi-tracking and not 'B', which was so much easier to use, time-saving etc. 'You will regret not using this earlier'. I don't subscribe to the whole notion of regret, as it has to do with the choices one is making. I know 'B' is better, faster, cheaper and yet I stick with 'A' because I am comfortable using it and not easily prepared to go through another learning curve. If you want to release a cassette and use apps that play random 
    sounds (like those sleep sound generators), then you should that. If creating modular synthesizers is your alley, then go ahead. It is never about what you use, it is how you want to it. Rather than writing myself something in Max/MSP which is at the basis of 'Ambient', I'd rather take 'Ambient', because it is so easy to use.

    The last time I wrote I had no idea if I would be using 'Ambient' a lot, but in the years that followed I can safely say I used it a lot, in all sorts of combinations, as a live instrument, as stand-alone software, feeding it to analogue machines and was at the source of much music.

     

    Vital Weekly - V.03

    So what the hell I am reviewing here? Software? Things should get weirder than this I think. In the past I wrote about say novels that people send here, thinking we really review it all, but of course we don't have knowledge about all that is available. But software, yeah why not, come to think of it. If I reveal a big secret then let me know, but I have been known to dabble a bit in music, and on various occasions even spoke out loud about the nature of composing and musical production during lectures and workshops.

    One of the things I always like to state is the fact that I am lazy. I would not pick up a piece of wood, carve it and attach any number of strings to it, and (re-)invent the guitar. Likewise I hardly sit down with a computer and built my own max/msp patch. Both of these things have been made already and even when you know how to alter them you have more possibilities, but I rather sit down and create something. Means are never the main issue. If I want something with a hissy walkman I will use that, if I think I need a computer thing I will use that. There is never this or that. So I have been using the same four old synthesizers for years, just as I have been using the same max/msp patch I once on the internet. Now unlike those synthesizers, (of which I have no manuals, obviously) which possibilities never seem to bore me, that max/msp may have had its time, no matter on what ferro tape I copy the result on. So occasionally I look for other stuff, but perhaps only if they appear in my face, so when in this still slow holiday I reviewed CDs by Autistici and Will Bolton, I read about this software bundle called Ambient and was curious enough to spend a tenner on it and see what's all about. Perhaps partly to see what possibilities it has to offer but maybe also to see if musical production is really that easy - double check the CDs I reviewed. You can rest assured: the musicians did a lot more than have a software patch running, but its a simple and effective to use piece of software. You load up a sound from your computer, and even if you have no idea what these knobs are for, press 'random' and it starts to work your sounds - press random again and it does something totally different. But of course we all know what this sort of thing is about, so a bit more in-depth than. There are lines of knobs which you switch when the sound is running, changing pitches and grain size of the sounds, add delay or reverb, change that all along while playing and carefully create your own bit of droney ambient music. You can easily record the proceedings and use them later on - something of course which I recommend: compose with the results, as the results themselves are not finished compositions. You can't layer them straight away, but nor should you want to do that straight away. What I miss in this sort of thing - here too - is an extended (graphic) equalizer, so that you can have a static sound running for some time, but play around with the equalizer and make subtle changes.

    This thing works well with short pieces, but also with long pieces - I even added a seventy-five minute sound piece and played around for a while. Knowledge of how pitches and granular synthesis work is always nice, but not required. The easy interface allows anyone to play around quickly and record straight to your computer. I am not sure how often I'd be using this one, but its certainly a great addition to the bits of software I have been using so far. Expect at least one new work soon from me, exclusively using this Ambient software. (FdW)