a time it took racks full of bizarre transistor-ridden contraptions
to make the astounding voice effects heard in Dr Who. Fortunately
nowadays technology has advanced sufficiently that the same
voices can be recreated at home on your PC using a sound editor
such as Cool Edit 96
to say as a joke that the BBC only ever had one effect which
they used to do all their "alien" voices. This isn't
of course strictly true. They've had two effects since
the Seventies when the Cybermen changed their voices. The
two effects in question are pitch shifting and ring-modulation.
the effect responsible for the Daleks, Morbius, K9, Zygons
and Davros amongst others, is in essence really just the multiplying
of one low frequency wave with the voice waveform. Depending
on the modulating wave - it's frequency, levels of harmonics
and shape, the effect would vary from metallic grating to
a strange bubbly sound. You will be pleased to learn that
Cool Edit 96 has a ring modulation feature too for you to
recreate these classic sounds.
have recorded your voice, highlight it and then go to Generate
then Tones. Check the Modulate button in the bottom right
and you're away! The waveform you create will be applied to
your voice. To get a basic "Dalek" sound choose
a triangle wave of around 40 hz with few high-level harmonics.
One click of OK will render your sound. Experiment using different
sorts of modulation wave to get different effects.
Cyberman voice is achived with the BBC's second voice effect
- pitch shifting. This allows a voice to be deepend in pitch.
A similar effect can be found in Cool Edit under the Transform->Time
and Pitch menu. The cyberman voice is in essence two differently
pitched voices over the top of each other. The end result
can also be enhanced a little by adding a warbling flanger
effect on top. I suppose that should count as the Beeb's third
to remember when doing such voices is that the sound is as
much in the performance as in the effect. If you don't do
a pretty good impression of a Dalek to begin with, no amount
of Dalek "effect" will improve it.
demonstration voices you can download as automatic scripts
for Cool Edit here. There is a
Dalek and a Cyberman included. Save the file in your Cool
Edit directory and use it through Options -> Script and
batch editing. This script works with Cool Edit 96 and Cool Edit 2000. Their use can be heard in the FloorTen Audio
stories "Regeneration of the Daleks" and "Jubilee".