MODULATIONS . please explain

edited September 25 in General

Would anyone like to offer a brief primer on how 'Modulations' works in BM3? I'm confident with my skill level in Beatmaker 3. Even before the app was officially released I was watching videos some of the beta-users were making. I read the manual before buying the app and I refer to it if I'm stuck on something (which rarely happens anymore ). This forum has, of course, been a wealth of information. BM3 is hands down my favorite ios app and I feel like I have a pretty solid understanding of all it's functions ...with one exception...'Modulations'. Any information anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

«1

Comments

  • Tip - try adding “please” to the thread title ;)

  • edited September 26

    Here's my attempt at a primer....

    what is a modulation?

    In simple terms, a modulation is any setting that causes a specific parameter to change, either over time, or in direct response to some other trigger.

    The most basic example, which is present in real world instruments, is when volume (GAIN) is modulated by how hard you play the note (VELOCITY). What this means is that the harder you hit or play the note, the louder it sounds. This is such a common modulation that BM3 automatically assigns it whenever you load a sample. You can see it for yourself by loading any sample and switching to the modulation tab, like so...

    You'll see above that by default, BM3 assigns 3 basic modulation settings to each sample. I've marked the middle one with a green X. This is the modulation that changes the volume based on how hard the note is played. At the moment, the effect is set to 100% sensitivity, but if you were to lower this to 50% you are making the gain less responsive to velocity. If you lower the slider further, so that it goes into the negative region, you have inverted the effect. In this case it would mean that the softer you play a note, the louder it plays - and hitting a note hard would actually play it softly.

    If we look at the other 2 'default' modulations which are applied to every sample these are (1) GAIN is also 100% affected by the Amp envlope (also known as the ADSR) and (2) that the PITCH of the sample is affected by the Pitch bend wheel by +/- 4 semitones.

    Some examples of common modulations

    • a sample that pans left and right gradually over time (using an LFO)
    • A filter cutoff that rises and falls based on an ADSR envelope
    • A sample that changes tune based on how hard the note is hit

    How do I create a custom modulation setting?

    To get started, find the dial or controls for the parameter you want to modulate and double-tap it. For this example we are going to choose TUNE.

    1. Locate the TUNE dial on the main sample tab
    2. Double-tap and select MODULATE >
    3. Choose what will be controlling the modulation. In this example we are going to choose LFO > New LFO
    4. Switch back to the modulation tab, locate the new modulation you've just created (row 4) and tap on the word LFO1. You should now see the following...


    .

    Can you tell how this modulation will work yet? Let's investigate...

    This new modulation will affect the TUNE of the sample by +/- 24 semitones (same as 2 octaves) based on the shape and speed of an LFO. The LFO settings (LFO1) are shown at the bottom. This particular LFO is still at it's default setting, which is a sine wave that is set to 1hz (1 full cycle per second).

    This means that when you play the sample now, its tuning will go up and down by 2 octaves every second.

    Using the knowledge you've built up so far, it should be possible for you to change how quickly the LFO changes (known as it's Rate), and also configure how much the TUNE is affected by this LFO. Try making the rate faster, and lower the modulation amount. You might also consider enabling the SYNC option for the LFO, which means that it repeats based on the tempo of the track. If you do this the rate settings switches from a Hz value to a beat division, such as 1/4. This means the rate is linked to the length of 1 beat (note / crotchet) At your song's chosen speed (eg 120bpm)

    This should be enough of a primer to get you started. Work through what I've explained above, and let me know if you have any questions.

  • Thanks for the primer @tk32 ! Nailed it !

  • My modulation 101
    Ever turned a dial on a synth ?
    Then you modulated that control.
    Modulators are devices you can send to controls to do the turning for you, triggered in various ways ;)

  • @mathieugarcia said:
    Thanks for the primer @tk32 ! Nailed it !

    Thanks Mathieu - i just added the finishing touches ;)

  • edited September 26

    Hi,
    Great tut tk32! Has there been any inquiries about adding velocity to sample start point as a modulator? That would be awesome. ESP on drums....makes one sample sound like multiple variations in a natural way.

    Edit..wait..I haven’t tried looking at sample start to see if it’s already in there! My God, I’m loving bm3!

  • @FlowingRobes said:
    Hi,
    Great tut tk32! Has there been any inquiries about adding velocity to sample start point as a modulator? That would be awesome. ESP on drums....makes one sample sound like multiple variations in a natural way.

    That would be amazing.. but it's not possible at the moment. (It has been requested numerous times over the last year)

    This won't be nearly as good, but you could try experimenting with mapping AMP ATTACK time to Velocity by -100%

    This would mean the attack time gets shorter the harder you play the note. Might work nicely for snare drums if applied subtly.

  • Hi,
    Thanks tk,

    You’re right...not nearly as good😃
    Back in the “good old days” of sample ram of 512 kB being large that was the only only way to fly.

    Again, that tut above is really well done. No smoke blowing, just coming from a guy who’s read a billion manuals thru the years. From the terse kurzweils to the entertaining Mackie and Kawai product advice guides.

    Thanks

  • That's high praise indeed. :blush:

    Glad you found it useful, and thanks for the feedback

  • tk32,

    I had hoped you would be one of the people responding to my post as I always find your explanations extremely useful and easy to comprehend. That primer is definitely manual worthy. Thank You so much for the time and knowledge applied to an excellent tut. I really truly appreciate it.

    I understood modulation as a concept but I didn't understand how it applied to this [DAW], reading your explanation makes me think of processes I came across when borrowing a bandmates keyboard workstation... like the M1. It makes much more sense now though I'm sure I'm only scratching the surface. Your primer also really worked because I was working in BM3 and wanted to modulate the tune of a sample so I had double tapped the tune knob and created a modulation and because I could MANUALLY affect the pitch/tune of the sample from the modulations tab I then wondered if I could 'record' that manual movement...which I don't think is possible, is that correct? I ended up achieving a pretty satisfactory result using automation but it made me realize I needed to understand the Modulations section more thoroughly. I'd be into any kind of next level situations that can bettered using modulations.

  • @tk32 said:

    @FlowingRobes said:
    Hi,
    Great tut tk32! Has there been any inquiries about adding velocity to sample start point as a modulator? That would be awesome. ESP on drums....makes one sample sound like multiple variations in a natural way.

    That would be amazing.. but it's not possible at the moment. (It has been requested numerous times over the last year)

    This won't be nearly as good, but you could try experimenting with mapping AMP ATTACK time to Velocity by -100%

    This would mean the attack time gets shorter the harder you play the note. Might work nicely for snare drums if applied subtly.

    That technique works well on instruments, a better technique for sharp transients such as drum hits is to assign velocity to a pitch envelope on the sound, that hardens the attack as the velocity rises, that is how most analogue drums are generated and it works well on samples.
    You can look at my 909 kick synth for an example in B3.

  • edited September 26

    Thanks for the wonderful feedback @BitterGums

    The greatest reward comes from knowing you found my information helpful. Perhaps I'll write a few more primer articles like this. Any suggestions?

    I have some good news...

    It IS possible to record your manual adjustment of the TUNE dial, but this is known as PARAMETER AUTOMATION in Beatmaker3, rather than MODULATION.

    An easy way to understand the difference between these similar features is to realise that MODULATION is a calculated effect that follows some kind of a pattern, whereas AUTOMATION is a more manual type of adjustment and often recorded using your hands and in real time (though it is possible to draw automation directly into a midi pattern).

    To explain how to record parameter automations properly would require another primer, but in essence it is as follows..

    1. Enable automation recording from the transport bar (top of the screen). This is always OFF by default so you don't accidentally record automations when you don't intend to. The default resolution of 1/16 is fine for most purposes, so leave as is.
    2. Create a midi pattern that your automation will be recorded to, and set is length to be long enough so that it captures as much as you need. I would suggest minimum 4 bars.
    3. Apologies for stating the obvious now, but don't forget to actually fill the entire length of your midi pattern with enough actual midi notes, otherwise there will be nothing to automate. If you are working with long samples, you may only need a single note at the start of each bar to trigger the sound to start.
    4. Now, use one of several methods to put your pattern in loop mode* (see below), then press RECORD and start moving the TUNE dial in time to the music.

    Voila!

    * several methods to put your pattern in loop mode...

    Method 1 - Load the pattern onto one of the Scenes in the Scenes mode and start playing that scene
    Method 2 - Switch to Song mode, open the Pattern Helper (aka Pattern List) and tap on the pattern you want to record automation inside. When you press Record/Play this pattern will just loop continuously, ignoring whatever is on the timeline for this BANK. To switch back to normal playback mode there is a little play button on the far-right hand side of the bank lane, which stops the pattern loop and re-activate the song lane.

  • Great stuff tk.

    You asked for suggestions? :) How about:
    Step Modulator 101 [FREE Mode, PITCH (Chromatic) Mode, etc.]
    LFO 101 [Reset at note-start (Mode=MONO), free-running (Mode=POLY); unipolar & bipolar; phase, delay, etc.]
    How to Tempo-Sync Modulation Sources.
    How to use MIDI CCs as Modulation Sources, and how to record them from your MIDI Controller.

    Others ( with photos):
    A run-down of all of the filter & EQ types, & when to use them.
    When to use the All-Pass Filter & Channel Invert effect for Phaser FX, etc.
    When to use Cross-fade looping (Stereo samples, problematic samples, creative looping, etc.)

    I can help with some of these ...for the lurkers.

  • I wrote a full manual for the EQ, i just never posted it because the EQ has a bunch of bugs that need fixing first.

  • edited September 28

    Thanks @TONBOGIRI

    Some great ideas there.

    I think probably the best next step is to create a dedicated Primers Reference Wiki (either here or elsewhere) then flesh out the modulations section a bit more with information about the modulators (LFO, Step, etc) and some recipes to help new users on their way to both sampler and single-cycle mastery.

    Once that's done I think I'll start one on signal and effects chains: Inserts, sends, aux channels, pre/post send fades, fake buses using aux, etc.
    Not the sexiest subject, but extremely essential to know.

  • Absolutely loving the idea to have Wiki ! Sound design ideas, tips'n'tricks, etc. Great incentive, guys !

  • edited September 29

    Just wanted to let everyone know I have started writing more PRIMERS, and will begin posting them very soon.

    Note - I am very happy to take requests, suggestions, submissions and corrections from anyone, so please get involved if you feel like it.

  • @tk32 I know modulations well, but your explanation was the clearest I’ve ever seen them explained, I think a lot of what confuses BM3 noobs is scenes and patterns, maybe give them a shot?

  • Thanks for the suggestion (and kind words) @funk

    I'll give it a shot :)

  • edited October 1

    I'll send you some submissions later @tk32 .
    It seems some folks struggle with the fundamentals. Like when getting a new complicated piece of hardware or software, i.e.-I always struggled with the MPC workflow (used since the 60), and prefered the ASR-X and love Maschine/P5/BM3's flow. Those just clicked with my way of thinking. Good thing there are other options in case one option just doesn't work out in the long run for some folks.

    @5pinlink said:
    I wrote a full manual for the EQ, i just never posted it because the EQ has a bunch of bugs that need fixing first.

    Would love to see this. I've seen your MVerb & FX Routing PDFs. Also-are the links to your manuals consolidated on this forum somewhere? I now recall you working on these a year ago....and wonder what happened.

  • Good thread. I'm curious as to how one does a basic wobble bass using BM3.

  • edited October 8

    @The_Bro said:
    Good thread. I'm curious as to how one does a basic wobble bass using BM3.

    If you're making it with a synth, look for LFO and modulation controls inside the synth. The modulations above only work with sample-based and single-cycle pad sounds.

    The best AUv3 synth for that kind of bass is definitely Cyclop (by Sugar bytes)


  • If you want a basic wobble you can just load a sinewave in the sampler

    If you want to go a bit more heavy and brostep, then remember that brolines are never live synthesizers, they are folders full of pre made wobble loops chopped in to new sequences, the average 4 bar broline can have up to 16 different synth sounds from various loops chopped in and out, add to this the filter wobbling and you have a broline.

    Electrohouse and other less hectic wobble lines, just turn the LFO amount down, right downso that it is very subtle, then make sure the wobbles are sidechained to the kicks and snares.

    Cyclops as listed above is cool, i have it on desktop, i have never used it live in a track, i always sample it personally.

  • Thanks gang. I'll look into Cyclops. I don't really wanna make brostep - just subtle wobbs ha ha.

  • Cyclops is no good for subtle wobbles, watch the video, just use a sine wave and LFO.
    Cyclops is designed for complex wobbles.

  • Yeah, why not try following 5pin's awesome video @The_Bro

    Building banks like that with single cycles and cool modulations is seriously addictive (and educational)!!

  • Also, @The_Bro , in case you didn't know, this is a good thread in the resources category on this forum that contains lots of banks to download, including @5pinlink's Synth banks, which include the single cycles in the video he posted.
    https://intua.net/forums/index.php?p=/discussion/5637/banks-11-09-18-uk-09-11-18-us

    Download them all! But the single cycles are in the Synth 02 download.

  • edited October 9

    That guy @ronji is like the teacher's pet ;)

    He's always being super helpful and posting links so people don't have to go do the searching themselves.

    By the way @The_Bro .. we hang out in the Discord chat most days and happy to give you live help if you fancy joining the group chat.

    (Oh, and just to be clear, Ronji knows I'm a big fan of his, and don't mean any offence with my comment about teacher's pet)

  • What is dischord? Am I missing out on something?

Sign In or Register to comment.