Assignment 2: Absynth Patch Programming II
What we’re trying to do
- Get familiar with the characteristic sounds and parameters of simple
two-operator FM synthesis.
- Learn how to work with looping envelopes and MIDI controllers.
- Create a short piece that consists of one long note played on an Absynth
patch you design, while you shape the sound in real time using knobs or
faders on a MIDI controller.
What to turn in
The basic process
- Do the last Absynth
Tutorial (part 3, on FM), using the standalone Absynth app.
- Make a single patch, built from scratch, that uses LFOs and looping
envelopes to make a complex, slowly evolving sound.
- Configure the patch so that you can send it multiple MIDI control change
messages from an external fader box (either the Behringer BCF2000 or the
Korg nanoKONTROL2, available in MC304).
- Perform your piece by starting the note and then making fader moves.
Think about what you’re going to do in advance; don’t merely
move the faders randomly.
- Aim for a performance of roughly a minute.
Make a patch that satisfies the following conditions.
- The sound evolves slowly when you press and hold a mid-range key on the
PC88 or Absynth’s on-screen keyboard. Design it so that we can hold
the key down for a minute or more and never hear a literal repetition
of any segment.
- To accomplish this, you’ll have to use several looping envelopes,
each with a different duration that does not align simply with the others.
(For example, make one 2.13 times longer than the other, rather than 2
times the other, which would cause the total pattern made by the two to
repeat literally after only two iterations of the shorter envelope.)
- You can make a sound that projects a basic pulse (via looping amplitude
envelopes that have a series of sharp attacks — try Grid mode), or
a more out-of-time sound that changes gradually and with subtlety.
- At least one of the oscillators should use FM mode, with
a changing modulation index, accomplished via an envelope or LFO.
- Provide MIDI control for some of the parameters, and set it up so that
you can control the patch from the BCF2000 or nanoKONTROL2.
Before this will work, you need to enable MIDI input from the controller.
Choose File > Audio and MIDI Settings, and press the
MIDI tab. Scroll down the list of inputs until you see BCF2000
or nanoKONTROL2, and set its status to On.
To specify a mapping between faders and Absynth parameters, use the
Perform > Assignments page.
- Click on one of the lines in the Macro Controls list on the
left side of the window.
- In the list to the right, click on Add to select the
parameter you want to control. (You can control more than one
parameter with a given fader.)
- Now you need to tell Absynth the MIDI CC (continuous controller)
number that will operate the selected macro control. Click the
Learn button, and move the fader/knob until Absynth lists a
new MIDI CC number. (If the BCF2000 is using its Preset 1, then the
faders emit CC’s 81-88.)
- Go to the Controllers tab to see your assignments and the
sliders that the MIDI CC messages control.
- To start your note, press the Hold button to the left of the
on-screen keyboard, followed by a key on the PC88. This will let the
note play without you having to hold the key down on the keyboard,
freeing you to perform moves on the fader box.
- Use one of the effects, possibly controlling the wet/dry mix via a fader.