SoundDoodle – A Brief Video Intro To A Free Sound Design Tool For Your Mac

A Simple Interface - Huge Functionality

I’m always looking for functional, free, and standalone programs that give me an excuse to turn off the familiar interface of Ableton Live and dive into something different and inspirational.  The excellent Paul Stretch is a perfect example of this sort of thing, and SoundDoodle definitely follows in those same footsteps.

A Mac-only app (as of this writing), SoundDoodle accomplishes a lot behind its unassuming interface.  In brief: You load up your sound, process it through 4 flexibly routed effects units, and record realtime parameter modulation by mousing around in the interface.  Your movements leave little trails that are then followed when you choose to play back the modulation either looped or one-shot.  It reminds me a bit of using a Korg groovebox like the ER-1 where you are recording a realtime modulation “performance” rather than dialing in exact values as you would in a DAW.

The result is a huge dose of inspiration with absolutely no barrier to entry in terms of either cost or ease of use.  I can’t recommend this tool enough to anyone with a Mac and some interest in sound design and processing.  I put together a video showing off the features of the program below, although there’s still more to explore that I just didn’t have time to get to:

Many thanks to the creative people who contributed to building this software!

Download and read more about SoundDoodle from this post on the Sound + Design blog:


SoundDoodle - A Brief Video Intro To A Free Sound Design Tool For Your Mac by

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19 Responses to “SoundDoodle – A Brief Video Intro To A Free Sound Design Tool For Your Mac”

  1. Zachary ReeseJuly 17, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Thanks for posting this! I had never heard of the software before. The granular module looks awesome.

    • NickJuly 17, 2011 at 5:21 am #

      Yeah the granular function is unlike any I’ve seen before. I have a feeling that SoundDoodle is going to be a go-to tool in my arsenal for a long time!

  2. AndrewJuly 17, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    Hey Nick,

    I’m the dude who wrote Sound Doodle, and it’s so nice to see someone else interacting with it 🙂 I was worried how users will interact with it, or if they’ll even “get it”, especially with an interace that users may not be used to. But you totally did, and now you’re sharing – thanks!

    That’s such a well made tutorial btw. It’s so much clearer than my awful attempt! Thanks for doing it.

    • NickJuly 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Andrews, that’s very kind of you to say and it’s my pleasure. Your software is really important to me and I want to make sure as many people know about it as possible! Thank you for writing it and sharing it with the world as you have.

  3. Adam WartskiJuly 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    I’ll be honest, I was a bit unsure of this when I first saw it, but it looks like its a really functional tool.

  4. Adam WartskiJuly 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Hit submit before I was finished! Was gonna say that it’s a functional tool that I think I’m going to enjoy using in the future, being free is a bonus too!

    • NickJuly 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

      Definitely an understandable reaction, Adam. I often have the same reaction because I have become very skeptical about a lot of the “unitasker” sound tools out there that all do one really obscure thing and take up room on my hard drive. Thankfully, SoundDoodle is more like a self-contained audio processor that represents a different way of thinking about mangling sound. I can open it up and just enjoy how the effects interact with the interface elements. In my opinion, the best tools are enjoyable aesthetic experiences on top of being useful!

      • Adam WartskiJuly 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

        Well I normally use Logic, and have fun drawing automation lines all over stuff, this looks like a similar approach but with a different GUI. I reckon that will just make me think about things in a different way. In the same manner as playing music on different instruments I play in different styles.

        • NickJuly 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

          “I reckon that will just make me think about things in a different way. In the same manner as playing music on different instruments I play in different styles.”

          That’s exactly what it does for me.

  5. Joshua BodenJuly 17, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    This is app is brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing Nick! Good to see your still doing your thing here. We haven’t heard from you in a while. Nice beard by the way. LOL!

    • NickJuly 17, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

      Haha, thanks for stopping by, Joshua. Glad you liked it 🙂

  6. fredJuly 18, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Absolutely great bit of kit
    and its free WOW!!!!!
    i got the e-mail thought i would check it out pleased i did… great job Nick

    • NickJuly 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      Glad you liked it, Fred. It really is an amazing piece of software that is too easy to overlook amongst the noise of bigger brand name plugins that are being released every day.

  7. JeffJuly 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    THanks Nick!

    What program did you use to make this tutorial video?

    • NickJuly 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

      My pleasure. I use Screenflow for my tutorials.

  8. steveJuly 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    Another great tutorial Nick – and uber cool app

    thanks for this!

    • NickJuly 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      Cheers, Steve.

  9. Fran CottonApril 15, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    If it’s standalone, how can I use it with Ableton?

    • NickApril 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

      Hi Fran,

      I export the sound to a wav file and import it into Live for further mangling.

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