Sound design: digital glitches

Last Monday a jamming session was programmed with my friend Nay7.
Once everything was plugged, he found out his Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP was deaf to the incoming MIDI signal. I proposed to try switching off then on the soundcard, and while the MIDI connection was back, every sound that was output by the audio out 3/4 was turned into beautiful and powerful glitches.

He was of course pretty annoyed cause it was not what he meant to output, but I just was in awe with this raw and pure digital sound!!
While I was in the process of recording them as a reference for later research, he just rebooted his computer… And just like that, the marvelous glitches were gone forever…

Designing such sounds is not something I have already done in the past.
I mean, I have introduced glitches and dirt in samples more than once, but the path to designing such pure and raw digital bliss from scratch is unknown to me.

Please provide me articles, Max patches or whatever idea you can come up with so that I can know where to look to create this.

As for what the sounds were like, it’s very hard to describe.
Think Raster Noton, feedback/overload in the digital realm… Not really the feedback you get with Zoom video sessions, more like analog feedback. But with digital purity.


I was just watching this by Perplex On yesterday:

I was quite amazed at the sound he manages to coax out of his PO-32 (which is a terrific machine) by messing up the clock.


Holy cow. Gotta find some new batteries for my PO-32!
Awesome, thanks.


White noise and sine waves is a very good source for that …

I do not know, if IOS is an option (or if this is not what you are looking for) but I have gotten many great digital glitch-scapes out of this amazing app. (The name is totally misleading - it is mostly a tool for generative digital scapes for me.)

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dude is a master


I used to have a lot of fun pushing an old laptop beyond what it could handle to get crazy glitched out sounds/ sequences. I remember doing it with a Toshiba satellite pro 460 running an old version of fruity loops (which was already too much for that laptop) and later doing it with a janky Mac laptop running the original arturia arp2600 emulator. The Mac one was extra cool because I could record through the internal mic (picking up the internal speakers) to get feedback and “play” the screen to control feedback amount and general pitch.
Also, circuit bending digital stuff can yield good results pretty easily by wiring up some feedback loops through pots and then messing with the clocking.


Sorry, did you say that you were able to capture any of these glitches in your “jam session?”

Regardless, I’m really digging this “Third Portal” collection of tracks.

By the way, I’m surprised Autechre hasn’t been mentioned yet.
Certainly, they’re the most prominent progenetors of what we now call “glitch music.”

They have stated often that feedback is a huge component of their modern music, and necessarily, a part of filter design for their more “synthy” sounds.

Search for “autechre max patch” type of thing on here and I’ll bet you’ll get some hits.

Another thing: there’s no rule that says you can’t turn harsh, digital stutters and glitches into more palatable sounds in the analog realm. I often use weird spectral efx with extreme frequency ranges , then tame them by throwing the Analog Heat at the end of the chain.

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Back in the 20th century we used to spraypaint CDs to get them to play erratically.


I can see why a very snappy envelope on an analog filter would would get the wine bottle opening sound, in parallel with some high frequencies/ HP filtered. I have to find this sound!

Thanks everyone for the ideas. Getting snappy feedbacks, might be there as well.
:thinking: :yum:

Sweet ! Love me some glichy bpms :sunglasses:

Same technic as editing an image file with a text editor to get pure glitches : I think there is a way to convert an MP3 file into a RAW file, then opening it on Photoshop, make some minor random edits on the picture and then reconvert it into mp3

may i suggest Audacity for this?
you can import „raw data“ very easily
hm, check this short example:

maybe it‘s the right direction


Thanks for the technique to generate glitches. Sampling them is a way indeed.

But what I’d like, really, is to understand how to craft/synthesize such soundscapes…
Discover what makes such glitches beautiful to my ear :tongue:

Having a waveform as a target might make things easier, though…

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As a mistake i listened to erica bassline firmware update file on iphone lately. Don‘t have it, just by browsing. Luckily didn‘t have headphones on…
( they sell the digital noise module for example now for ukraine help)

The beginning of this maybe i recorded last year (befaco rampage on vcv)

Granular effects vsts maybe
As a younger person i spent many hours with one cristina aguilera mp3 and audiomulch on my dads pc. I miss it but expensive and only 32 bit now. I think buzz tracker is still alive for old dirty digital maybe.

…hoooooolyyyyy gnarlyyyyyy cowz indeeeeeed…

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I listen to the updates too, too bad for the empty passages between the data blocks
(I guess) but otherwise it’s very experimental every time.

Le dernier tube d’Erica…
(Ne le faites pas écouter à un Db01 àprès les prochaines mises à jour :upside_down_face:)

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Love what Fennesz is doing with his guitar and Max. Personally I’ve never achieved anything I’ve liked with digital glitching. I’d need to put a lot of time into it & am more interested in analog feedback.

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@blushresponse did a great video on the Infernal Noise Machine, which would be an endless glitch exploration machine:

Also all X1LE machines are extremely versatile for glitch tasks:

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Don’t underestimate Digitone