Breathe new life into your plugins with FX Permutator Asbjoern Andersen


As sound designers, we love plug-ins – perhaps too much. With all of the sales, freebies, and cutting-edge technology out there, it’s easy to end up with a "tools graveyard" (coined in a recent blog piece by Juan Pablo Uribe).

Do you ever forget what you have in your collection? Have you ever wished you could quickly test out multiple plugins at the same time to see what they can really do?

FX Permutator is here to help, breathing new life into your plug-ins. In this interview, we speak with Roel Sanchez, Kyle Vande Slunt, and Dave Benjamin, the developers of FX Permutator and their new company Tech Audio (a subsidiary of Team Audio).


Written by Adriane Kuzminski. Images courtesy of Team Audio.
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Kyle Vande Slunt, Roel Sanchez, and Dave Benjamin

Left to right: Kyle Vande Slunt, Roel Sanchez, and Dave Benjamin

Hello, all. To start off, please tell us a little about yourselves and your role in developing FX Permutator.

Roel Sanchez: Hi I’m Roel, Technical Audio Director at Tech Audio. Tech Audio is a collective of tech-minded people from our parent company Team Audio. As a group, our years of working in sound and interactive audio have inevitably led to creating tools and applications. FX Permutator is the first release of the projects we have in the works. During development, I designed and programmed some of the core features, along with wrangling the team.

Kyle Vande Slunt: My name is Kyle and I’m the Sound Supervisor at Team Audio. I was responsible for the initial concept of FX Permutator and provided feature support and testing throughout development.

Dave Benjamin: Hi! I’m Dave, and I’m an Audio Programmer at Tech Audio. I write code for FX Permutator.

 
Could you give a quick overview of FX Permutator and its capabilities? What makes it unique?

RS: FX Permutator does many things but can probably be best described as a plugin exploration station. Its core functionality is to randomize a collection of your plugins along with the parameters and presets within those plugins. The secret sauce is the combination of all of these actions working together to create a unique output processing chain. Many of the operations found in FX Permutator can be found as one-off scripts in the Reaper universe but we wanted to create something more cohesive and fun to use.

DB: It lets you rapidly generate variations of an audio recording using random combinations of your FX plugins. You can build collections of your favorite FX using a friendly user interface, and it will build random chains of FX from a given collection with random presets and parameters. The generated FX chains can be surprisingly interesting and unusual.

KVS: It’s unique because you’re able to create processing chains that you never would have thought to make manually by yourself and do so very quickly. It can very quickly and reliably generate a never-ending supply of DSP chains. You can create custom collections of plugins and then use the tool to specify how you want your FX Chains to be created.

FX Permutator on top of Reaper

New tracks and FX chains are generated with FX Permutator

As Tech Audio’s first plugin, how did the idea for FX Permutator begin?

RS: FX Permutator came from the brainchild of Kyle and started as a collection of different Reaper scripts performing some of the actions within the final build.

KVS: It began as an idea I had in 2017. I was diving deep into the world of coding with ReaScript and beginning to understand the power of combining code with Reaper. I started writing scripts that would either force-multiply workflows or boost creativity. As an amateur coder, I was able to write a very rough outline that barely worked.

In 2018, I partnered with my engineer buddy Aaron Hathaway who I met while working together at Riot Games. He and I spent countless hours putting together another version of the script that actually worked but was really only useful for me, and not at all equipped for a release to the masses.

Then, when Team Audio launched Tech Audio in 2021, I pitched FX Perm for our first release. Once Dave and Roel started working on it, FX Permutator became the fully-featured and professional tool it is today. They captured the original idea and then added so many things to it that it turned into something that was above and beyond what I ever envisioned.

DB: When I came onto the project, it worked roughly the same as it does today, but it didn’t have a user interface, so you had to edit the script with a text editor to list the FX plugins you wanted. This made it relatively tedious to use, because you had to be familiar with editing code, and you had to carefully spell out the names of FX plugins. I thought that it could be useful to a lot more people if it had a user interface (and I was looking for a project to learn more about Reaper programming) so I started writing one. Then Roel jumped on board, and we’ve been steadily evolving it.

 

Demos of FX Permutator

 
What are some use cases where you see FX Permutator being quite helpful?

KVS: I’ve found success with all different kinds of situations. I primarily use it to explore the sonic possibilities with my custom field recordings. One-shot impacts can yield wild, out-of-control reverb trails, and more constant Foley recordings can turn into crazy textures. It’s also great for coming up with unique VO processing chains for sci-fi / fantasy / horror characters.

You will find that there is going to be a processing chain that will fit well with any source material. One area that I haven’t experimented nearly enough with is live performance. I think there is a ton of potential in generating a bunch of chains and then feeding live VO or live instrument performance or Foley performance into one or multiple tracks at the same time. Definitely need to start doing that.

You can throw in those plugins that have been collecting dust into a collection and see if you can find some sound design hidden gold.

RS: Exploration and source creation. FX Permutator is all about noodling around and stumbling onto crazy FX chain combinations. For creating interesting sound design textures, I’ll generally start with a simple high-quality source recording, then run FX Permutator using various plugin collections. You can throw in those plugins that have been collecting dust into a collection and see if you can find some sound design hidden gold. You never know what you’re going to get.

DB: It’s also a great way to learn what FX you have on your system, and what they can do together. I find that it’s easy to accumulate a lot of FX plugins and have only a limited awareness of their potential.


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Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:


Did FX Permutator go through any iterations before it was ready to release? If so, what were some of the features added later in the process?

RS: There was a lot of tweaking to land the overall feel and workflow. We wanted to strike a balance, making it simple to use while also providing a lot of functionality and interesting ways to experiment. There was a point where the UI was just a collection of a bunch of operations. This later formed into the Tools tab, which stores many useful operations to change up parameters and save your effects chains.

KVS: Yeah, we iterated and tested heavily throughout production. We spent a lot of time focusing on the visual experience and the overall workflow in the tool. We wanted to create something that was easy to use, very clean visually, and did not feel cluttered. Dave also helped us identify problematic areas of our color choices, names of the features, and overall user experience.

 
What challenges did you face when developing FX Permutator?

KVS: I’ll let the actual developers answer that question.

It can be fun to work in such a green-field environment, and sometimes it leads to more creativity.

DB: Building user interfaces in Reaper is a challenge right now because the ecosystem is not very mature. One frequently needs to build user interface components from scratch, solving problems that were already solved in the 80s and 90s on most platforms. It can be fun to work in such a green-field environment, and sometimes it leads to more creativity, but it can also be a drag compared to mature platforms with rich component libraries.

Another challenge is the chaotic nature of plugins. Each plugin is a different piece of software that works in its own way, and plugins aren’t always designed with the type of usage we have in mind. Sometimes, plugins can crash and take Reaper down with them. Not all plugins have presets, or publish their presets in a way that Reaper can see them. There are no perfect solutions, but we continue to try to find ways to make the experience better.

RS: Yeah, if you use FX Permutator and load up 15 instances of an already problematic plugin, things will probably not go well. We have instructions in our documentation to help with this, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

It was also a bummer to find out that Reaper doesn’t expose many of the built-in presets that come with your plugins. To help you get the most out of FX Permutator, you can visit our preset repository and download our growing collection of presets for free. We also want to encourage people to also contribute to the repo.

 
Are you looking for feedback from users? If so, how can users reach out to you?

RS: Absolutely, we are always looking to improve and make things better. Best place to contact us is at TechAud.io.

KVS: Yes, absolutely! We would love to hear from users about what they like and what they don’t. We would also love to hear any ideas people might have for how to make the tool better and more powerful.

 
Is Tech Audio looking to develop other plugins?

RS: You bet. We are actively discussing our future plans. We have ideas for upgrading FX Permutator along with additional new creative design tools and workflow improvements for audio developers of all stripes. We are also paying attention to the audio community, so if anyone reading this has ideas or requests, don’t be shy.

DB: Yes, that’s definitely true for me. I am interested in exploring what else can be done to extend Reaper with new interfaces, as well as building FX plugins themselves.

KVS: YES! We’re not sure what it will be just yet, but there are several ideas floating around that we’re very excited about.

 
Do you have any advice for other audio folks who are interested in developing Reaper Scripts?

RS: Go for it. There is a lot you can do but make sure you search around, there might already be something that does exactly what you want. While Reaper is super flexible, its API certainly has limitations depending on what you want to do, and you might end up just wanting the entire source code.

KVS: Get your hands dirty and just do it. When I first started looking at ReaScript, I had zero coding experience. I started grinding every night learning Python and studying the ReaScript API.

Start with something super small, like a script that will count up all of your selected items and display the number of items. That was my first script: count the number of items I have selected and display the count, length, and name of the shortest and longest files. It was super simple and was only like 10 lines of code. Once you’re able to do that, you can build up from there. The amount of online resources to help guide you are vast and continue to grow.

 
Finally, how can people purchase FX Permutator and see it in action? Is there a trial version?

RS: Visit TechAud.io to download and pick up a license. FX Permutator is available at a reduced price for launch. You can also get the FX Permutator directly from ReaPack. We don’t have a trial but if enough people want one we can make one.

 

A big thanks to Kyle Vande Slunt, Dave Benjamin, and Roel Sanchez for giving us a look at FX Permutator – and to Adriane Kuzminski for the interview!

To learn more about FX Permutator and Tech Audio, visit their website at techaud.io, check out their demos on SoundCloud, and follow them on Twitter at @techaud_io. You can also learn more about Team Audio by visiting teamaud.io and following them on Twitter.

 

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  • Bundles Mattia Cellotto – Complete Bundle Play Track 11100+ sounds included $1,068

    Mattia Cellotto’s extraordinary sound libraries are some of the most popular releases in independent sound effects – and here’s your chance to get them all at a nice discount. Here’s what’s you get:

    NEW: CATACLYSM is a collection more than 1400 sounds in 400+ files of recorded, synthesized and designed sounds created to support important destructive moments and add a stronger sense of extreme consequence to any sound.

    ANIMAL HYPERREALISM VOL I is a library containing themed animal vocalisations & sounds, from real to designed creatures totaling more than 1300 individual sounds in 290 files.

    ANIMAL HYPERREALISM VOL II is a library containing themed animal sounds & vocalisations, from real to designed creatures totaling more than 2000 individual sounds in 283 files.

    ANIMAL HYPERREALISM VOL III is a library containing sounds themed animal vocalisations, from real to designed creatures totaling more than 1700 individual sounds in 279 files.

    METAMORPHOSIS is a huge collection of recorded source, synthesized material and hybrid sounds – more than 2300 sounds total.

    GLACIER ICE is a library containing over 300 high quality sounds of ice cracking, breaking, shattering in various sizes of blocks – recorded entirely in the Italian Alps over the course of two winters.

    POLARITY delivers more than 950 sounds of electricity, science and technology – captured in several locations around the world, from electricity museums to science labs.

    ULTRASONIC DRY ICE is a library containing over 600 sounds themed metal resonances, scrapes and all sorts of weird.

    ROCKS MOMENTUM gets you more than 1100 sounds of rocks, bricks, wood logs, stones, impacting on different surfaces, rolling, being scraped one against the other and so on. The library was recorded in the Italian alps, and in Inverness, Scotland.

    WATER VOLUMES delivers you over 300 sounds of natural hot-springs, bubbles, and liquids of various densities boiling under the effect of dry ice.

    METAL GROANS AND SLAMS is a library for which metal was kicked, hammered, bowed and… induced to vibrate through feedback loops?! The collection features 346 unique sounds recorded through field trips in US, UK and Italy.

    CRUNCH MODE & THE BORAX EXPERIMENT are also included as a bonus: Crunch Mode features 230 crunchy sounds made with a variety of vegetables, fresh bread, pizza crust & frozen goods, and The Borax Experiment gets you 158 squishy, gory, slimy, gooey SFX.

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    I”ve seen a lot in my time lets see if I”ve still got it 

    My weapons are at the cutting edge of technology 

    My advanced weaponry and fighting spirit make me a force to be reckoned with 

    My abilities are not up to the challenge 

    I”ll protect the team and ensure their safety 

    I may be old but I still have a lot of fight left in me 

    I am not equipped to handle this type of challenge 

    A robot with a thirst for victory always pushing for greatness 

    Good job!

    Closing Application 

    For a detailed listing of the words and phrases, take a look at the soundlist PDF document.

     

    All sounds are provided in 44,1khz/16bit and 48kHz/24bit

     

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Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Environments & Ambiences Future Dystopia Play Track 626 sounds included, 142 mins total $44.95

    The sounds of a dark tomorrow… are here!

    Orbital Emitter is proud to present our first World Building Sound-Set, FUTURE DYSTOPIA!
    Future Dystopia is a meticulously crafted collection of audio atmospheres and sonic elements that can be used in any film, tv or streaming show, music production, game development, YouTube content creation and more!
    Future Dystopia embodies the dark yet intense world of cyberpunk sci-fi by providing everything you need to create vibrant environments, detailed locales and dynamic scenes.
    But the best thing about this sound-set is that you can create these rich and imaginative scifi soundscapes in a fraction of the time it takes using traditional methods!
    Our curated atmospheres and elements can be combined, dissected, and quickly customized so that you can achieve great results to rival any Hollywood production! And the diversity of our sounds means you can build audio scenes for urban districts, space stations, industrial sites, abandoned locales, power stations, vehicles and more, FAST!
    Simply drop a few of our audio files into any NLE or DAW and hear how quickly your scenes will come to life! And with our sound-sets, all of our sounds are organized, clearly titled and contains metadata for each audio file.

    Future Dystopia – our World Building Sound-Set is made up of 626 sounds across 151 WAV audio files. There are 54 atmospheres, 67 Elements, 7 foundation sounds, 12 speech sets and 11 vehicle builds… Our sound-files are 24bit/96k stereo (that can be folded to mono if desired.)
    Every sound in Future Dystopia is 100% original and created to help transport your audience to another world!
    Order now and receive our 19 page e-guide that explains how to get the most out of this sound-set absolutely FREE.

    SPECIAL NOTE: To celebrate the release of this brand new sound-set, we are offering a 25% OFF for a limited time!
    We hope you enjoy Future Dystopia our first world building sound-set!

     

    Quick note about the download:

    Please note that the Future Dystopia Sound-Set is 5.4GB when uncompressed. To make delivery more streamlined, we have compressed this file to the “.zip” format.
    Because Windows users might have issues opening a “.zip” file over 4GB, we have included a “.rar” version of the file so Windows users can avoid any issues.

    TLDR: If you are on a Mac computer, just open the “.zip” file and for Windows users, open the “.rar” file.

     

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  • Animal Sound Effects The Animal Symphony – Donkey Play Track 69+ sounds included, 10 mins total $10

    THE ANIMAL SYMPHONY – GOAT & SHEEP
    THE ANIMAL SYMPHONY – CROWING ROOSTER
    THE ANIMAL SYMPHONY – LOVEBIRD
    THE ANIMAL SYMPHONY – WHITE HANDED GIBBON
    THE ANIMAL SYMPHONY – MEERKAT
    THE ANIMAL SYMPHONY – WATUSI

    Product description:

    “The Animal Symphony – Donkey” offers a collection of 69 high-quality audio tracks, each with multiple sounds (between 3 and 6 variations). The audios are organized with an intuitive nomenclature, allowing you to easily swap the different microphone jacks, so you can choose which microphone to use or combine them all. Using two high-end microphones, the Sennheiser MKH 8050 and an EM258 capsule microphone, along with a Zoom H6 recorder for stereo sound, we have captured every detail and nuance of these sounds. Recordings were made at 24-bit and 192kHz/96kHz, ensuring professional clarity and depth.

    This collection offers a wide variety of braying, growling, donkeys eating, etc… these sounds are perfect for adding realism and authenticity to your projects. With multiple takes and variations, this library provides the flexibility needed for any type of production requiring sounds from these animals. All recordings have been carefully edited to eliminate external noises, such as birds, wind or people. Furthermore, thanks to the ultrasonic microphones used, it is guaranteed that whoever decides to lower the tone will continue to obtain frequency richness.

    Ideal applications:

    – Video games: Add realism and depth to the natural environments of your games.
    – Cinema and Documentaries: Enrich your audiovisual productions with authentic sounds.
    – Educational Applications: Use these sounds in educational projects to teach about wildlife and animal behavior.
    – Multimedia Projects: Ideal for any project that seeks to enrich the user’s listening experience.

    Technical details:

    – Total audios: 69 (Each audio contains between 3 and 6 variations)
    – Format: 192kHz – 96kHz/24bit
    – Equipment used: Zoom F6 recorder with Sennheiser MKH 8050 microphone and EM258 capsule microphone, plus a Zoom H6 recorder for stereo sound.

    License:

    The sounds from “The Animal Symphony – Donkey” are available under a royalty-free license, allowing them to be used in multiple projects at no additional costs. You can use these sound effects in your games, trailers, Kickstarter campaigns, and more, as many times as you like.

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  • Ribbiting Sounds for Your Next Project with our “Frogs” sound effects pack!

    This collection of high-quality, professionally recorded sounds captures the unique vocalization of frogs in their natural habitat.

    Ribbits, croaks, and chirps

    Perfect for aquatic or forest environments

    High-quality, 32-bit/192kHz

     

    Get Ready to Make a Splash with Your Next Project!

    15 %
    OFF
    Ends 1719871199
  • Traffic Sound Effects Long Car Pass Bys Play Track 10-40 sounds included, 65 mins total $22

    This small library contains ten exquisite recordings in multiple variances of cars driving through a quiet and expansive landscape along a very long road. You can hear the car approaching from a very far distance, passing by close, and slowly fading away into the distance for a very long time as well. In other words; we capture the car’s journey from afar, stretching on until it disappears over the horizon.

    All recordings are clear and entirely devoid of external noise and human disruptions.

    All these recordings are recorded using two microphone setups: a Double MS Stereo setup and a spaced omnis setup, the latter also providing extended frequency response. This results in four variations for each recording: Stereo, Wide Stereo, Wide AB Stereo, and 5-channel 5.0 surround. The variances between these options range from subtle to more pronounced, offering flexibility for crosscutting within scenes.

    Get more than one hour of unique, royalty-free and notably high quality recordings with this library. Recorded in 24 bit / 96 kHz. Accurately edited and mastered to sound as natural as possible. With an average duration ranging from 40 seconds to 3 1/2 minutes per file. For more detailed descriptions of the recordings within this collection, please refer to the metadata provided in our file lists or listen to the preview montage.

    This library is UCS compliant (universalcategorysystem.com). In this new category system, all files contain extensive metadata like file description, Category & Subcategory. Metadata can be read and processed by the most common audio libraries management tools.

  • All files are recorded 32bit, 192 kHz, with Shure KSM 137, Line Audio Omni1, FEL Clippy XLR EM272, Sonorous Objects SO.3 and JrF C-Series Pro+ microphones, Sound Devices MixPre-6 II & Zoom F3 recorders. Library contains wav files of driving, interior and exterior foley, mechanical and electrical sounds. It is also available in UCS.


   

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