What’s a modulation matrix? The way it works?

If you happen to’re undecided what precisely a mod matrix is, on this article we take a deep dive into the mod matrix in SynthMaster 2. We’ll take a static sound, add rhythm and motion whereas explaining the way it all works.

The modulation matrix (extra generally generally known as the mod matrix) is the place info is out there for all of the modulation sources and locations of your synth. Consider it as a spot to maintain monitor of any fluctuations. The primary modified matrix appeared on the Oberheim Matrix 12 within the mid-Eighties, and issues have gotten extra sophisticated since then—so sophisticated, actually, that they are often complicated for learners. That’s a disgrace, as a result of mastering the mod matrix and utilizing it so as to add motion and curiosity may also help your sonic creations come to life.

In these Synth Secrets and techniques we might be utilizing the KVR331 Audio mod matrix SynthMaster 2 to boost a static word with rhythmic pulses and different modulations.

Wish to observe? Obtain SynthMaster 2 totally free to repeat the steps.

Right here’s what we goal for:

NB: We advocate following together with headphones or studio displays as a few of these outcomes could also be imperceptible. As at all times, click on on every picture to view a bigger model.

SynthMaster 2 Modulation Matrix Overview

SynthMaster 2 has highly effective modulation capabilities, with a full vary of sources (the issues that do the modulation, like envelopes and LFOs) and targets (the elements which might be affected like cutoff or quantity). Every modulation task is displayed within the Modulation Matrix column on the best facet of the synthesizer. Right here you can’t solely view your modulation connections, but additionally make changes.

There are two methods to assign modulations in SynthMaster 2.

  1. The primary is to right-click on the goal and choose the supply from the pop-up menu. That is the tactic we desire.
  2. The opposite approach is to pull a supply modulation tab onto the goal knob. As soon as it’s set a technique or one other, you may management the quantity of modulation by adjusting the gold ring across the goal knob or through the quantity knob within the mod matrix itself.
Set modulation sources by right-clicking on the target parameter.  You can also drag the name of the modulator onto the control.
Set modulation sources by right-clicking on the goal parameter. You may also drag the identify of the modulator onto the management.

SynthMaster 2 has many modulation sources and locations – too many to listing right here – however following alongside right here will provide you with a good suggestion of ​​what’s out there.

This tutorial will focus fully on the mod matrix. We assume that you’re already acquainted with the opposite sections of SynthMaster 2 equivalent to Oscillators, Filters and Results. If not, rise up to hurry with our earlier synthesis tutorials:

Creating an acid bass line with SynthMaster 2

Utilizing SynthMaster 2 to program a piano utilizing additive synthesis

Step 1: ADSR and quantity

We begin by organising the wavetable oscillator in eight-voice unison mode, including a Moog-style ladder filter, and hooking up some results (delay, reverb, distortion).

We additionally draw some notes. Our final aim is a pulsating and rhythmic line that enhances the rhythm and bass line of our drum and bass monitor.

The primary modulation hyperlink is the ADSR envelope and the amplitude or whole quantity. That is carried out routinely by SynthMaster 2. We are able to see that it’s already listed within the mod matrix on the best. All that is still is to form the envelope to our liking.

With an ADSR envelope assigned to the amplitude:

Step 2: LFO 1 and Wavetable Index

Let’s shake issues up. We selected a wavetable oscillator for our sound supply particularly as a result of it affords numerous modifiable parameters. We’ll begin with the wavetable index or participant place.

Proper-click the Index knob and choose LFO 1. We’ll persist with the default sine wave. Then we slide the gold bar across the Index knob to extend the quantity. We don’t need a huge, swaying impact, just a few refined motion, so we scale back the quantity of the LFO by turning down the Quantity knob. Subsequent, we hit the Sync button and alter the Beat Multiplier setting to 1/1 for a gradual and simple flutter by means of the wavetable.

Modulating the wavetable index with LFO 1:

Step 3: LFO 2 and Voice Pan

Let’s strive modulating the stereo picture subsequent. Within the Voices part, right-click the Voice Pan knob and choose LFO 2.

We wish a pan that strikes from left to proper, so we choose a noticed wave from the waveform pop-up menu (click on on the waveform identify within the waveform display) and ensure it’s set to bipolar. This manner it should cross by means of the zero level or heart of the soundstage.

We sync it to the DAW with a 1/1 beat. Lastly, we refine the quantity in order that it’s not too extensive.

With LFO 2 modulating panning:

Step 4: Sequencer 1 and filter cutoff

Modulating the filter cutoff ought to give us extra work. As an alternative of simply an LFO, let’s arrange a modulation sequence to make it extra fascinating.

We right-click on the Cutoff button and choose Sequencer 1 because the supply. It offers us a collection of eight sharp sawtooth waveforms. We form them to offer us a pleasant, pulsating impact and sync it to the tempo of the DAW with a 1/8 beat. Adjusting the quantity of Lag permits us to play with the push and pull of the sequencer beat.

With Sequencer 1 modulating the interrupt:

Step 5: LFO 3 and Delay Combine Quantity

Let’s transfer on to the results. Within the Layer 1 results slot, we have now Delay and Reverb modules already arrange. They add results, however they don’t seem to be dynamic, they’re static. Let’s take a look at this with modulation.

We are able to relate the quantity of delay to the LFO. We do that by right-clicking on the Combine knob within the Delay module and deciding on LFO 3. As an alternative of the standard waveform, let’s use one thing a bit extra esoteric this time. We click on on the waveform and choose “Fr4 – ARP 2600 1” from the drop-down menu, a single-cycle waveform pattern from the ARP 2600. We sync it to the tempo at a gradual pace of 4/1.

Lastly, we carry the modulation charge all the best way up on the Delay Combine dial. Now the quantity of impact relative to the dry sign adjustments relying on the waveform of the ARP 2600.

LFO 3 Modulating Delay:

Step 6: Multi-Section Envelope 1 and Reverberation Room Measurement

Subsequent, let’s modulate the Room Measurement parameter of the Reverb module to create a implausible reverb impact that periodically expands over time.

Within the Reverb module, click on on the Measurement dial and choose Multisegment Envelope 1 from the Envelope menu. In contrast to a typical ADSR shell, a multi-segment shell has as much as 16 nodes that you may freely alter. We’re making a ramp form as we wish the scale of our reverb to extend over time.

Multi-Section Envelope 1 Controlling Reverb Measurement:

Step 7: Sequencer 2 and Distortion Drive

For the ultimate impact, let’s modulate the bus 1 distortion module drive circuit so as to add rhythmic saturation. Only for enjoyable, let’s do it with a sequencer.

Proper-click the Drive knob once more, choose Sequencer 2, and draw some modulation curves. We strive completely different sync tempos and discover that 1/8 works finest. Lastly, we scale back the quantity of modulation on the Drive knob to maintain the sound from being overloaded.

Prime tip: Add extra drive for a grimy, distorted sound.

The drive is modulated by a sequencer:

Step 8: Pace ​​LFO 4 and Sequencer 1

There’s nothing extra enjoyable in synthesis than modulating a modulator. Let’s revisit Sequencer 1, which impacts the restrict sum, and see if we are able to’t make some changes to it to alter the rhythm.

We begin by opening Sequencer 1 (right-click on the SEQ tab to pick out) after which right-click on the pace knob on the backside.

We choose LFO 4 because the vacation spot. A barely diminished quantity sine wave LFO works properly, inflicting the pace of the sequencer to alter together with the rise and fall of the LFO. We are able to then alter the diploma of modulation to style.

LFO 4 modulating the pace of Sequencer 1:

Step 9: Module Wheel and Filter Resonance

For the ultimate step, let’s use the mod wheel on our MIDI controller to manually carry up the resonance as every word progresses. As earlier than, we right-click on the Resonance knob and choose CC01-ModWheel from the MIDI menu within the pop-up window. Now we are able to allow the MIDI monitor in our DAW to document and re-record the modulation.

With handbook resonance modulation:

Right here is our completed sound within the context of a drum and bass monitor with loops from Splice packs Useless Drop 002 – Bass and Toolroom Academy – Uncooked Drums plus some additional manufacturing:

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Creator Adam Douglas
September 30, 2022

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