White noise is a type of noise signal characterized by its equal energy distribution across the entire frequency spectrum. This means that all frequencies are represented equally, resulting in a random, dense, and “hissing” sound. White noise is often used as a sound source or modulation signal in modular synthesizers for various purposes.
White noise can be generated by a dedicated noise generator module or as an additional output on some oscillators. The applications of white noise in modular synthesis include:
- Percussive sounds: White noise is often used to create drum and percussion sounds, such as snares, hi-hats, and cymbals. By shaping the white noise with envelopes, filters, and VCAs (Voltage Controlled Amplifiers), you can create a wide range of percussive elements.
- Sound effects: White noise can be used to create sound effects like wind, rain, or ocean waves by modulating its amplitude and filtering it to emphasize specific frequency ranges.
- Texture: Adding white noise to other sound sources can introduce texture, helping to fill out and enrich the overall sound.
- Modulation source: White noise can be used as a modulation source for other modules, such as filters or oscillators, to create random, unpredictable, and organic-sounding modulations.
- Random control voltage: When used with a sample and hold module or other CV processing tools, white noise can be converted into random control voltage signals to create generative or aleatoric patches.