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Sound Mill X3 - User's Guide
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DSP Effects and DSP Chains

DSP Effects

DSP logo

Effect Types: Equalize, Reverb, Volume Wave, Fuzz, Echo, and Pitch Shifter.

DSP Effects (Digital Signal Processing) alter the input audio signal to produce a defined effect. It does not alter the source input audio file. Each DSP has parameters that customize the effect. You create customized DSPs, then assign them to DSP Chains.

There is no limit on the number of DSP Effects you can create. And you can have multiple effects of the same type (ex Light Reverb and Heavy Reverb, etc).

How to use DSPs

Tuning Latency for DSP

Also see the Latency setting which can be adjusted to produce a richer DSP effect. In general, raising the Latency will increase the quality of DSP effects, but there is a crossover point where DSP can begin to breakup and degrade. Since it is dependent on system hardware speeds and performance, you may need to test a few settings to find the optimum value for your system. The Default value is probably fine for most systems.

DSP Chains

DSP Chains

DSP Chains allows you to chain together multiple DSP Effects so that they will be applied in combination when a Sound Item is played. The output of one effect will be the input to the next effect in the chain.

Example Chain: Reverb + Fuzz

The order of the effects in the chain can make a subtle difference or a more obvious difference in the resulting sound. It depends on the effects used and their parameters. If you are not satisfied with the sound of a chain, try changing the order of the effects.

Locator: Sound List Editor > Tools > DSP Effects and Chains .

DSP Effects menu items

DSP Chains menu items

Global DSP Chain

The Global DSP Chain allows you to apply a Chain to all Sound Items without having to manually assign the Chain to each SoundItem in its Play Modifiers. It works based on the current Behavior > DSP Chain Mode (see below). You assign the Global DSP Chain with the Select Global DSP Chain menu item (above). You can change the Global DSP Chain at any time. If you delete a DSP Chain that is assigned as the Global DSP Chain, then the Global DSP Chain will become undefined until you assign another valid Chain.

DSP Chain Modes

Locator: Sound List Editor > Behavior > DSP Chain Mode .

You can change the method that DSP Chains are applied to Sound Items when they are played. Change the mode by clicking the DSP Chains Mode menu item or the related button on the Behavior toolbar. It will popup a list selector dialog.


DSP Chain Editor

Editor controls
Figure 1. DSP Chain Editor
Figure 1. DSP Chain Editor

DSP Effects Editor

Volume Setting Tip

If you are just experimenting with the Effects Editor, you can set the Volume slider so that playback does not bother other people in the proximity. But if you are creating a final effect to use with SoundMill, set the test Volume slider to 100%. This will produce an effect that will be tuned (volume-wise) to how a SoundItems will sound when played by SoundMill. Then as you change parameter values, use the Enabled checkbox to turn the effect on/off. You will be able to hear the difference in volume. Adjust the effect's Gain parameter until the audio's unprocessed volume matches the DSP processed volume.

Test controls

Test control values are NOT saved as part of the DSP settings. They are simply for Effect test purposes.

DSP Effect Settings

The parameter changes in this section define the customization of the DSP Effect and are saved when you click the editor's OK button.

You can change most parameters during test playback and the effect processing will change immediatley. A few parameters require that you stop and replay the audio to hear the change -- a status mesage will indicate when replay is required.

If you type a number into a parameter value spin box, the new value will not be recognised until you move the mouse cursor out of the box (by clicking on another field control, for example click the Name textbox with the mouse pointer.). Using the numeric Up/Down arrows on the spin box does not require this extra mouse click.

Figure 2. DSP Effects Editor
Figure 2. DSP Effects Editor

DSP Effect Types

Effect Types are Reverb, Volume Wave, Fuzz, Echo, and Pitch Shifter. Below are explanations of how parameters affect the overall sound. As you move further away from an effect's default values, some effects may begin to break-up or distort.

Latency parameter

All the DSP effects have a Latency parameter. The DSP effects Default Latency Value is 300 milliseconds (300 ms). For most effects, the default value will be fine. Generally DSP playback needs a higher Latency than non-DSP playback. Latency controls how much audio buffering the program will use to produce the DSP sound. Increasing Latency by +100 or +200 above the default value can sometimes improve the quality (richness) of an effect. But there is a point where too high a Latency can cause jagged, choppy results with sound ghosting, then you may need to lower it a bit. The Pitch Shifter effect definitely needs a higher Latency (see below). You can read more about Latency here.


See separate Equalizer section for details on Equalize(EQ) DSP Effect Type.


Creates a sound reflection effect of playing sound in a big room.



Creates a fuzzy sound moving into distortion at higher Level values.



Creates a sound reflection effect of playing sound in a large hall up to a stadium size venue depending on Reflection Time value.


Pitch Shifter

This can shift the frequency of the sound up or down. This effect can be CPU intensive. Check your system CPU utilization (with Windows Task Manager) to see how it performs on your system.


Volume Wave

Playback Volume rises and falls over time following a wave form specified by Wave Form Type. For volume amplitude (Wave High/Low), a value of 1.0 (100%) equals 100% of the current Windows Speaker Volume which is set by clicking the Speakers icon on the Windows Taskbar.

Figure 3. Wave Form Types
Figure 3. Wave Form Types