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Sound Mill X3 - User's Guide
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DSP Effects

About DSP - Digital Signal Processing

DSP logo

Reverb, Volume Wave, Fuzz, Echo, and Pitch Shifter.

Available only on SoundItems that use the Windows Audio (WA) driver.

DSP Effects 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 individual SoundItems in the Play Modifiers panel. You can also assign one DSP as the Global DSP which can be used for playing all SoundItems.

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.

Locator: Sound List Editor > Tools > DSP Effects .

Menu Items

Global DSP

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

DSP Behavior Modes

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

Locator: Sound List Editor > Behavior > DSP Mode .


DSP Effects Editor

Volume Setting Tip

If you are just toying 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 1. DSP Effects Editor
Figure 1. 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.


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 2. Wave Form Types
Figure 2. Wave Form Types