Now, the REAL Multi Oscillator tutorial is here on the Propellerheads web site in the "Discovering Reason" series. I'm not going to go into too much detail , and I am going to put my own spin on it to (hopefully) make this relevant to those of us with a wind controller. By the end of the tutorial, we will have created a classic 'blown pipe' EWI sound, but using nothing but the Multi Oscillator in Thor. A natural type sound, created via synthesis only!
- Waveform selector - first, you want to select the waveform of your detuned oscillators. You have a choice of 5.
- Detune Mode - you can select between Random 1 or 2, Interval, Linear (which tends to get really detuned really quickly), fifth up (which detunes 4 of the voices gradually up a fifth), Oct UpDwn, which spreads the voices until they are an octave up and down) and Octave.
- Amt controls how much detuning to apply.
For our EWI sound design purposes, you will probably want to keep the detune amount somewhere in the 24-44 range, at least when using the Random 1 and Random 2 detune modes. Just use your ear and listen for what sounds good to you.
Building the Patch
The heart of our tone should be something pure, similar to a triangle or sine wave, with not too many harmonics. For the breathiness, though, I stumbled onto something really cool. This is one of those 'happy accidents' that I ran into one day just playing around with the multi-oscillator. I noticed that the square wave, with a medium to medium strong amount of detune using Random 1 or 2 detune modes had an 'airy' or 'hollow' quality to it. Perhaps this could be used to add air or space to an existing patch? Why does it sound like this? It probably has something to do with the randomness of the detuning turning into noise at a certain point. We can mix in this 'airiness' with another oscillator to provide some life to a sound. It certainly sounds like detuned square waves, but there is a swirling, noisy sound in the high frequencies. There is a certain tonal, not quite vocal, quality to it that is different than the noise oscillator, and I rather like it.
A= 17.4 ms
D= 4.35 sec
To accomplish this we will use LFO 1. LFO stands for Low Frequency Oscillator, but thats just a fancy way of saying 'modulate a parameter with this repeating pattern.' In the MBRS I set Source to LFO1, Amount to 56 and Dest to Amp Gain. In the LFO 1 section, I'll keep the waveform a sine wave (the default). There are 3 parameters we can adjust here.
- Rate - how fast the pattern cycles, in this case, the sine wave.
- Delay - how long to wait from the start of the note to when the LFO kicks in.
- KB Follow - Keyboard follow. when this is 0, the rate is the same for high notes and low notes. As you move this knob to the right, the rate is scaled faster the higher on the keyboard you go. So higher notes get a higher rate - faster vibrato in this case.
Here are the values I am going to use for our diaphragm vibrato:
- Rate: 3.02 hz
- Delay: 465ms
- KBD Follow: 59
Here is the completed patch and a little sample of me playing it. Have fun and make great music!