Morph 2, made by the german company Zynaptiq, is based on the original Morph plugin made by Prosoniq years ago. It applies a very simple but powerful concept: creating a hybrid between two different sounds fusing together timbre and dynamic characteristics.
Let’s see what the plugin offers plus some sound design examples.
Morph 2 works by combining two mono or stereo tracks into a new stereo or quad auxiliar track. In the screenshot there, you can see two stereo tracks being used as sources. This is the method recommended by Zynaptiq.
There is also a side-chain option but it only supports mono sources.
Features & Interface
As you can see, the interface is quite clean and simple. Let’s see which features Morph offers:
The X/Y Section
This central section combines a crossfade and morphing control in a X/Y type interface. This may look simple at a first glance but it has some interesting properties. So starting at the bottom left corner and moving vertically upwards you would be morphing from the first sound (A) to the second (B). If you do the same on the right side you would be morphing from B to A, which would result in a different result. The directionality (from A to B vs from B to A) is relevant and will affect the output.
As far as I can tell, Morph is taking the timbre profile from the first sound and applying it to the second’s timbre and dynamics. Because of this, it is good practice to experiment with all possible combinations when designing a sound, since the results are going to be quite different, as you can hear below.
On the other hand, the X axis is simply a crossfade or blend between those two asymmetrical morphings. So remember, the Y axis (vertical movements) control the morphing while the X axis (horizontal movements) crossfades between them.
Here is an example using human voice and a metallic sound to create a sort of robotic, vocoder-ish sound. The first two sounds are the basic components we are using. The ones below are the morphed result with the X-Axis all the way to the right or to the left but in the middle between sources A and B in both cases.
As you can hear, the right side result is probably what we were looking for: we keep the speech dynamics but use the metallic tonality, while the timbre is a mix between both. The other result is kind of a reversed image of that, we keep the voice tonality but we hear it with a dark, metallic timbre and using the metal impact dynamics. Maybe not what we were looking for in this case, but as I said before worth checking both possibilities while creating sounds.
Of course, since this is a two-dimensional pad we could also use a custom blend between these two results.
This simple section lets you add some of the unaltered original sounds to the output, while also controlling the level of the morphed signal.
Solo and bypass controls are also included.
There are 3 basic algorithms to choose from, each of them offers a different behaviour.
Classic is a good starting point with the highest frequency resolution, sacrificing time resolution. So it is best to use this option when timbre shaping is the main goal.
Interweave retains more of the first sound character instead creating morphed features. This may help to create more natural sounding results. So if the classic algorithm gives you a result that feels too extreme you can try this one instead.
The Tight algorithm offers the best time resolution so it works well with percussive sounds. This of course is in detriment of the frequency resolution but this doesn’t need to be a bad thing, the result could be interesting.
Additionally you also have lower latency versions for the classic and interweave algorithms.
This section offers 3 additional controls to shape our design.
The Formants trackball slider applies formant shifting up or down which can be handy when doing vocoder type sounds or just any sound in general. It kind of works as a pitch up/down control.
Amp Sense will adjust the maximum level of the newly combined (morphed) audio timbres while using the classic algorithm. You can reduce this value if the resulting combined sound is too harsh or resonant. For the other two algorithms, the sliders acts evening out the levels of the loudest and quietest component, making them more balanced.
Finally, the Complexity slider is connected to “the resolution” of the whole processing. Higher values give more detail but if both sounds are very different, reducing this may help and will introduce larger sections of the original sound in the final output.
Here is the same morphed sound but using different levels of complexity. As you can hear, it almost works as a tonality vs noise slider in this case:
We can also find a simple reverb module in Morph with controls for Wet/Dry mix, size and damping for high frequency attenuation.
This is handy for giving designs a quick listen in a relevant acoustic context or just giving sounds some extra flavour.
Now that we know the basic inner workings of the plugin, let’s see some more examples that I created while playing around.
This is probably the most obvious case use for Morph: mixing two timbres together into a hybrid that keeps features from the parents but has a new life of its own. Here is an alien computer SFX, for example:
Or we can create a funny cartoony engine using an old car recording and a vocal sample:
Or some sort of steampunk machine malfunctioning:
A different use we can give Morph is to “capture” the dynamic characteristics from one sound and applying them to the other. In this case, the resulting timbre is almost a 100% coming from one of the elements only, although some blending can also be cool.
As you can hear in this example, we are using the helicopter’s rhythmic footprint and applying it onto the drone’s timbre to create a morphed sci-fi engine element. The Formant slider was handy to alter the “size” of the sound.
Or we can use a car’s passing-by dynamics to shape the stereo image and amplitude of a water recording and create some sort of water element for a spell, for example.
Voices & Creatures
This is another use we can give Morph. If we combine a human or animal vocal sound with any other element, we can create otherworldly voices and creatures. If the sound we use has a constant tone, the result will be similar to a vocoder.
Here is a simple example with a human voice and a metal resonance:
We could also create a rock monster morphing growls and rock sounds:
Or create a scary voice. Is impressive how much you can change the original source by playing with blending layers, formants and the complexity slider:
Although simple in concept and features, Morph 2 is a very good tool to have as a sound designer. Morphing two sounds together is a very intuitive way to approach audio creativity. Is not always the case that you get something unique but when you do, is a great feeling to “give birth” to a new sound that shares timbre or dynamic features from the parent sound but stands on its own too.
I just gave a few examples on what you do with it, but I’m sure much more if possible. If you are interested, you can pick up the demo in Zynaptiq’s website.