If a reverberated delay chain is left running unattended all day, does it make a sound?

Yes, it does make a sound. A very caustic, interesting one.

I left the house today, and in doing so forgot to disable a considerable DSP chain of various delays and spatial effects in a project I’d worked on this morning. When I returned home, I didn’t hear it at first (the studio is far from the entrance I typically use to enter the house).

The sound is generated from an unknown source (it could’ve been any number of VST instruments, synthesis, or samplers, as all are present in this particular project). I’m guessing the culprit was the primary signal, a series of textural modifiers that generally follow this architecture:

[source] -> [1-16 digital delays, consecutively chained] -> [last few delays looped back into the first delay] -> [reverb effects]

When I returned home, I became aware of the sound through a series of graduating realizations:

That’s an interesting siren…police? No. An ambulance? Definitely not. What the hell vehicle is that?

I then approached a window in the study to see what machinations were responsible for making such a bizarre structure. As I got closer to the study, I in tandem approached the stairs leading to the studio.

My hearing then corrected for the spatial assumptions the brain had made in order to fit the sound into the nice little version of reality in which I resided upon first hearing it. Then I knew.

I knew it was coming from Buzztracker. I knew I’d forgotten to at least turn down the volume. As it turned out, I’d thankfully not destroyed any monitors or other devices.

Digital audio feedback is difficult to assign a flavor, or even coax with any surety. You can get baseline behavior, of course, but calculating the behavior and shapes of longer-living structures (such as this) are, in environments as complex as modern electronic music composition, a solid, non-logical axiom against a sea of chaotic variables. It’s great.

Note – this is a very< in your shit sound, and may damage your hearing if you listen too loud. This is an mp3 at 320kbps (or an ogg, if using FireFox). See below for the .wav.

Here’s the wav, feel free to use it for anything you’d like.