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White and pink noise

White and pink noise

In the recording world, noise is often perceived as an undesirable effect resulting from the use of poor quality equipment or unforeseen production errors. Opinions vary, but the dominant view is that excess noise degrades recording quality and should therefore be eliminated as much as possible.

However, noise in music carries much more meaning than it might seem at first glance. It’s not limited to just background white hiss or static. In fact, noise can play a key role in creating the emotional mood and dynamics of a composition, enriching transitions and adding depth to the sound.

Noise has many facets, surpassing the common understanding of it as simple analog hiss. Of particular note are white and pink noise, which are the two main types widely used in music production for their unique properties and ability to enhance sound textures.

Next, we will explore the features of these two types of noise and methods of using them in the creation of musical works.

What is white noise?

From a physics perspective, white noise operates on a similar principle to white light, which is a mixture of all visible wavelengths. Thus, white noise combines a wide range of sound frequencies, covering the entire range perceived by the human ear – from the deepest to the highest, ranging from 0 to 20,000 Hz.

By reproducing all frequencies with equal intensity, white noise creates the effect of a continuous background noise, reminiscent of the hiss of a radio when there is no signal. This property makes it an indispensable tool for hiding or muffling unwanted sounds in various situations, be it improving concentration while working or creating a favorable atmosphere for quality sleep.

Due to its ability to cover the entire audible frequency spectrum, white noise is widely used in a variety of fields, including the music industry, where it is used to effectively fill the sound space, adding richness and depth to musical compositions and arrangements.

What is pink noise?

Pink noise differs from white noise in its unique structure: instead of having an even volume distribution across the entire frequency spectrum, it provides equal energy per octave. This means that as frequency increases, the intensity of the sound decreases, making high tones softer and more pleasing to the ear, while low frequencies are reproduced with more power.

Pink noise occurs in nature much more often than its “white” counterpart, which makes it more familiar and comfortable to the human ear. Examples of its manifestation in the natural environment are the sounds of rain, the sound of a forest or the surf, where each octave of sound is distributed in such a way as to create a feeling of harmony and naturalness. What makes pink noise special is its ability to mimic these natural soundscapes, providing listeners with a calming and relaxing effect.

What is the difference between white and pink noise?

White and pink noises have the ability to mask external sounds, which makes them indispensable assistants for those who seek to isolate themselves from extraneous noise. They are often used as background sound to improve concentration or improve sleep quality due to their ability to drown out irritating sounds.

White noise, which covers all frequencies that the human ear can detect, is an effective tool for creating a soundstage that can mask a wide range of extraneous sounds, from hums to whistles. This property makes it a preferred choice for creating an impenetrable sound barrier.

Pink noise, on the other hand, is preferred for its softness and gentleness of sound, which makes it less aggressive than white noise. Although pink noise cannot mask external sounds as effectively as white noise, its pleasant sound makes it ideal for those seeking peace and relaxation, despite its somewhat reduced ability to mask external noise.

How can producers use noise?

Many producers use noise to create a lo-fi effect in their tracks, embodying the atmosphere and warmth of vintage cassette recordings. This aesthetic, which values the unique qualities of vintage audio equipment with its technical limitations, has become a desirable effect in modern music. The use of white and pink noise adds an antique feel to the compositions and gives them a sense of depth and density that is not available in pure, high-quality reproduction.

By using these types of noise, you can effectively thicken the mix and give a richer sound to individual instruments in the composition. Noise, even faintly noticeable against the background of other elements, can make the sound of a track more cohesive and rich.

The use of noise in working with beats is especially interesting: white or pink noise superimposed on drum parts can give them additional mass and volume. At the same time, the main drum sample retains its originality, but due to the addition of noise it sounds more powerful and voluminous, enriching the track with invisible but noticeable depth.

How unison can help

When looking for the perfect addition to your mix’s sound, finding the right instruments isn’t always easy. In addition to using white and pink noise to enhance the richness effect, Unison offers unique solutions to enrich the musical canvas. Unison’s MIDI collection can add significant depth to your arrangements, while Unison’s Serum collection of presets opens up new horizons for creating intriguing and complementary sounds in your compositions.

By turning to Unison for tools and resources, you’ll find many opportunities to inspire and enhance your creativity as a producer, allowing you to reach new heights in music production.

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