Ever Tried Duplicating A Sound Someone Has Made?

As the topic asks. Ever tried doing it?

This topic popped into my head while I was playing my keyboard and suddenly started playing the rhodes melody from Pekka Pohjola’s Sekoilu Seestyy (it’s the tune from which DJ Shadow sampled the legendary mellow rhodes for Midnight in a Perfect World.) Well, I got the melody by hearing and then I decided to see if I could pull the same sort of lovely sound. Gonna upload a clip later today and link it here.

Here’s a link to the original tune in case you can’t recall it straight away:
Pekka Pohjola - Sekoilu Seestyy

So yeah, I think that duplicating anyone’s work is just pointless, but in some ways gives you a nice challenge.

have tried a couple of times to do stuff like this - it’s HARD, but yeah very challenging indeed.

When i have tried this, I have always felt I’ve been close - but no cigar. And that kind of made me satisfied, in a weird way. I think there’s something inside me that doens’t want this to be easy, or even possible.

Every sound is unique in their own way - but if you work like 24 hours and totally focuses on replicating a snare sound, MAYBE you get a result that the average user wouldn’t notice was different from the original :)

This is why I have felt that doing house/trance lately has been tedious and frustrating. The genres are so mature that there is a very strict standard of what the instruments should sound like, if you don’t duplicate it very closely, your attempt will sound “cheap”. Spending 3 hours tweaking a snare drum is not my idea of a good time though … :(

I tried it a few times after listening lots of Noisia.
What they do with sound, however, goes beyond my comprehension.

take your other-artist-inspiration and use it as the spark to fuel the fire of experimentation … creating your own sound

strengthen your own strengths

sing your own song

the only message that’s important is the one inside of you

Yep. And actually I find it really interesting. I grew up remaking Axel F and Popcorn by ear. Still do it today as a matter of fact. I may hear a melody in radio and redo it later at home, not necessarily a copy, but a new melody inspired by the one I heard before. Also, I often hear something on radio I might use as a sample, I send an email to myself to remind to find the tune so I can rip out a piece :P

Mans gotta cover Axel-F once in his life or he aint a man :w00t:

I’ve pretty much learned synthesis from trying to duplicate sounds. I recently released a bunch of patches for the Zebra 2 synth which can be downloaded here:


I wouldn’t say it’s pointless. It’s a fun way to learn how to use a synth and synthesis in general. For example, i think i managed to duplicate the Mellotron “Vibe” patch pretty close, using only one osc. I did this by a/b comparing, and in the process i’ve learned just about what evey osc effect in Zebra does.

This way, once you get the hang of a synth, you can start creating your own sounds, using the methods you used to recreate the sounds you wanted to achieve.

edit thanks for pointing me into the direction of Pekka Pohjola, i gots to get a hold of that CD now. Love the mellow vibes :)

P.S. don’t limit yourself to the “strict rules” a style of music like trance/house has set. I began making music trying to sound like “Boards of Canada”, but no matter how hard i tried, i allways ended up with a different sound. Now i’ve learned, i’m doing this on purpose, because that’s my own sound, you will allways end up with your own sound. Isn’t it better to break the rules, and maybe invent a whole new genre?

I don’t think it’s pointless at all. In this day and age a song’s sound is half the track.
Especially on a dancefloor you get hooked on a groove which is 50% arrangement and
50% sounddesign. Taking your time to try and discover “the secrets” behind sounds that
amazed you (afterall, that’s why you’re trying to duplicate it), can give you great insights
in how sound works in general.

I once did a tribute version to Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield, it’s not accurate - that wasn’t the intention. A interpretation if you will, and done with a restricted soundset - those being from the same set-up I made the Discovery track with back in 2004. Hand played :)

m0dular bells :)

Trying to copy sounds is great exercise / study, even if you don’t manage to do it perfectly.

I’ve learned shitloads from trying to get raw drum machine samples to sound like old electro / italo records. (compression, eq, spring reverb, wow and flutter, tape saturation, etc etc etc).

So here’s my tryout at this sound and progression (just the first riff, which was the sample Shadow used:)

Midnight in a Perfect World rhodes.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. :)

Was it the crazy frog version?

Axel F


It’s a very good start…

I was going to remake the “Warriors” theme song, for release of my patches. But failed misarably. I’ve got the general feel of the song right, but the percussion sounds more like “perSUCKsion”. Anyway, i tought i’d be cool to see what i could do to the Zebra synth, and here’s the result…if you think away the horrible drums, it’s not that bad IMO:


Anyway, i’ve learned more abouth synthesis in the 2 weeks i’ve spent trying to mimic the sounds of this song than i’ve spent in a whole year downloading and preset punching vst instruments.