LFO Tips and Questions

edited February 2016 in Tricks and Tips
So I was experimenting with LFOs recently. It started as an attempt to recreate a certain pad sound, but I got derailed in an interesting direction. Try this:
  1. Open FM synth.
  2. Choose Element as the LFO (or should I say modulation?).
  3. Choose microphone as source.
  4. Choose 'note and dynamic' thing as destination and set it to green channel.

This made one of the most "ambient" sounds I've gotten out of OP-1 so far. It's like getting an entirely new synth engine. (Am I exaggerating? Try it, tell me what you think. Add Grid for additional awesomeness.)

Interestingly, I was not able to reproduce this on some of the other engines I tried. It seems like the effects of modulating the green channel are different for each engine... except I know that when using other mod sources it always changes pitch.

Another thing I found out is that "microphone" mod source does not necessarily get its sounds from the physical microphone. It is whatever you choose in the "microphone menu". Maybe it is obvious for other people, but it really surprised me in a pleasant way. This means microphone is not just one mod source, but three. And radio is a really cool way to modulate, especially if you tune into some talking channel.

Now, I have two questions. What is sigma LFO source? What is "note with speaker" LFO destination, really? It behaves so differently in different contexts...

Comments

  • I'm guessing note&speaker is pitch & volume(amplitude) like on the tremelo. Only with audio input is follows the wave form so fast(fast envelope follower) that it sounds like the waveform it's following. Then the different destinations vary mixes of original and mods signals(-still not fully familiar with all 4 settings).
    The Sigma..now total speculation. Isn't that everything summed together?or multiplied together..?
  • I really want to know what sigma is too...
    What's the official from TE?
  • AFAIK Sigma is the output of the synth engine (i.e the level of the signal from the synth/drum section); if you play two notes, you get a higher LFO value than a single note, which can be an interesting/fun non-linear sort of modulation.
  • So if Sigma Element is synth output, maybe Ear could be a good source for Tape modulation of the synth voice.Maybe get some interesting pumping sounds on a pad ,with a drum tape track feeding Ear Elememt..? -Thinking out aloud here.
  • Sadly Ear is what you're currently hearing, so AFAIK there's no way to inject a second side-chain sound that modulates without being audible.

    However, I've written before to ask TE to add a "duck/follow" LFO (like Element but the source is one of the tape tracks); I don't think it would work to just add Tape 1-4 as sources in Element, nicer to have a dedicated LFO type since the additional parameters would be useful for setting the threshold/sensitivity (i.e tuning the ducking to the input material).

    I bet if more people write to ask, they'll consider it ;)
  • It would be useful to be able to mod with Ear.It would be like Sigma plus Tape output ,so a loud bass drum,click track or metronome would be effecting our synth engine,but wouldn't be recorded onto our new track.Sure the synth would be modulating itself,but if that's a quiet pad compared to our bass drum there should be some good movement in our synth voice.
    I just tried it.Ear has absolutely no effect in our Element LFO.Its disabled ,while mic and radio can switch in fine.I'm sure this would be a interesting option if it was enabled.Strange.
    I suppose an input (set to Mic) feeding the OP with a beat source would be similar -jus set Mic to the off position.Not self contained though.
  • After some testing:

    When controlled by G (gravity) 'note and speaker'  affects:
    Blue channel - current envelope level.
    Green - frequency/pitch.
    Red - reverse of amplitude. Farther from zero means higher amplitude, which is added to the sound (or multiplies its own).
    White - normal amplitude, which is either subtracted or divides amplitude of sound.

    When controlled by other things, including crank and bend they behave rather weirdly. I need to buy crank.

    ...

    It seems you can mod by ear. Choose microphone and set input to ear. It does something, but what it does makes no sense, given what I wrote above.

    ...

    Modding with radio is cool. Here is a track where I added a bunch of noises made that way:

    http://soundcloud.com/sjgambler/noises

    Anything that sounds like breathing, screaming, moving cars, clanging metal - all of that was made via FM engine modulated by radio. The weird screeching part at the end as well.
  • Good stuff @Gambler for your researchin and this thread had me thinking .I'm liking/listening to your tune now aswell.Yes definately a nice track(-I'd buy it).
    With the Ear as Mod source I had concluded it was doing zero.Totally disabled.I checked on a effect and envelope -Radio and Mic clearly moved the destination ,Ear didn't and had no effect on the sound (switching off sounded the same).Check it for us if you get the chance.I did email TE but waiting reply.
  • Gambler said:

    After some testing:

    When controlled by G (gravity) 'note and speaker'  affects:
    Blue channel - current envelope level.
    Green - frequency/pitch.
    Red - reverse of amplitude. Farther from zero means higher amplitude, which is added to the sound (or multiplies its own).
    White - normal amplitude, which is either subtracted or divides amplitude of sound.

    When controlled by other things, including crank and bend they behave rather weirdly. I need to buy crank.

    ...

    It seems you can mod by ear. Choose microphone and set input to ear. It does something, but what it does makes no sense, given what I wrote above.

    ...

    Modding with radio is cool. Here is a track where I added a bunch of noises made that way:

    http://soundcloud.com/sjgambler/noises

    Anything that sounds like breathing, screaming, moving cars, clanging metal - all of that was made via FM engine modulated by radio. The weird screeching part at the end as well.

    Great sound mate!
  • Holy cow I just thought of something that blew my mind: what if an LFO could control tape functions like tape speed or loop start point? It's probably been brought up before, but man would that rule. 
  • edited January 2016
    Another tip: you can use crank LFO with "sound" (speaker icon)  destination to do static effects. Just dial them in. I believe blue pram can make your synth a bit louder in certain positions, which can give it a much needed boost without messing with anything else. White has a position where it sort of amplifies the sound with weird distortion. It is quite different from what they do in Element.
  • Gambler said:

    Another tip: you can use crank LFO with "sound" (speaker icon)  destination to do static effects. Just dial them in. I believe blue pram can make your synth a bit louder in certain positions, which can give it a much needed boost without messing with anything else. White has a position where is sort of amplifies the sound with weird distortion. It is quite different from what they do in Element.

    Thanks, this is awesome. Definitely adds a fair bit of power to the sounds, I'll be using this a lot I think.

    Just tried it with the Bend LFO too and it appears to have to same effect on the sound with the blue and white, just applied in that sort of decaying pattern. Still yet to figure out a good use for Bend. Was playing around with it and noticed that shift + red encoder changes the side to which it bends. It doesn't change the effect but you can twist the other way if you want haha.
  • Thanks, Gambler!

    At first I was disappointed with the results I got following the directions in your OP, because I was expecting "ambient" sounds like on Brian Eno's Apollo album or something, but then I realized you were actually going for noise which is cool too.

    Not a New Year' resolution or anything, but I've been having fun trying to learn how to use the LFO slot to add more "life" to synth sounds.
  • A slow, deep LFO applied to the end point of a looping sample is pretty cool too!
  • edited January 2016

    At first I was disappointed with the results I got following the directions in your OP, because I was expecting "ambient" sounds like on Brian Eno's Apollo album or something, but then I realized you were actually going for noise which is cool too.

    Actually, there is another LFO trick you might find useful. I thought I mentioned it, but apparently the only thing I did was to post a now-broken link to a demo track.

    You can take some pad sound, apply Tremolo to it and then adjust the frequency to go into the sonic range. Affecting volume and pitch with such LFO can give you a variety of effects: growling, screeching, metallic overtones and others that are difficult to describe. But the point is that you can take a static, bassy, mellow pad and add much needed higher frequencies and some movement to it.

    Here is a messy demo where I switch between vanilla and modified sounds:

    http://soundcloud.com/sjgambler/hf-tremolo-demo-2/s-XMbLr
  • Nice demo!  And thanks for the additional tips!

    Been enjoying mucking about with the Tremolo LFO on a couple of pad patches.  Hope to make a track soon.
  • Any tips for using an LFO to vary the loudness of drums when played by sequencer or Tape?

    Also, is there a way to add the "Tips and Tricks" tag to this thread?
  • You could try Gyro as element LFO. Set it to speaker/pitch, then shake your OP-1 with fingers holding key sequencers.
  • You could try Gyro as element LFO. Set it to speaker/pitch, then shake your OP-1 with fingers holding key sequencers.

    That was the only "trick" I could think of as far as using an LFO to vary the loudness of a drum track.  Hopefully there are more out there.
  • edited February 2016

    Any tips for using an LFO to vary the loudness of drums when played by sequencer or Tape?

    You might try randomizing the envelope. It's a bit weird, but it definitely adds some variation to the sounds, if that's what you're looking for.
  • Thanks @Gambler!

    I want to experiment with Euclidean patterns in Endless using drums as part of my interest in creating drum parts that do not attempt to imitate a human drummer in any way.  Random LFO might be just the ticket for that.
  • A while ago @bolandross asked a question about one-shot LFOs (i.e. simulating a second envelope). Back then I said I can't think of anything aside from using slow Tremolo with fast decay. Well, turns out there is at least one other trick you can employ.

    Apparently, the key-triggered Value LFOs (i.e. the ones without letter F) are triggered separately for each key. Maybe it's an obvious thing, but I assumed they work differently. With this property in mind, it's possible to dial down the frequency of Value oscillator such that it only goes up during the attack and release phases of your envelope. (This assumes sustain is set to 0.)

    You can achieve some rather interesting effects this way.
  • edited April 2016
    Just tried the original suggestion from Gambler, nice one dude, sounds great! Really fizzy/crackly then with Nitro I got some crazy ambient drone/wind thing happening. I'm a new user but so far the OP seems almost purpose built for ambient/field recording vibes. Amazing for that stuff :)

    I'll check out rest of this thread asap, seems like some great ideas/info in here.
  • That envelope following lfo is simply awesome! I've been running external synth sequences inside DNA with it... I created really cool melodic noise that way. It's possible to get interesting FM modulations in Pulse as well. Thanks for the tip!
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