Hip To Be Square

Now we turn our attentions to the second oscillator in Analog. This time we’ll use a square wave:

Pic 7a

For now we’ll listen to Osc2 on its own to get a clear idea of its timbre. We’ll also bypass the Chorus and Filter Delay devices for now. Here’s how the raw square wave sounds:

The sound is then thinned out by setting Filter 2 to band-pass mode and setting the filter envelope to create slow, subtle timbral movement over the course of long, sustained notes.

Pic 8a

LFO2 is routed to the oscillator’s pulse width parameter to create additional interest. Enabling Sync mode and tweaking the Ratio setting creates a colder, more metallic sound. At this stage we can also add some of the same modulation applied to the sine oscillator, then re-engage the Chorus and Filter Delay effects.

Pic 9a

Come Together

With both elements of the sound in place, it’s time to combine the two oscillators. Reactivating Osc1, here’s our sound:

The noise generator can also be used to add an icy background texture, with the Color parameter dictating the amount of high-frequency content.

Pic 11a

We’ve deliberately looked at the two oscillators separately as we built up this sound in order to demonstrate the principles of layering different elements to create a more complex end result. There’s no limit to the potential of this layering approach. You could, for instance, combine this pad with another to create something more complex. Here we have an Operator-based synth running into Live’s Distortion, Ping Pong Delay and Phaser effects. (Click the image to enlarge in order to see the details of this patch.)

Pic 12a

Here’s how it sounds:

The modulation wheel is routed to the Tone parameter of the distortion, allowing us to control the timbre. Here’s the extreme setting with maximum modulation:

Finally, we can layer the Analog and Operator synth patches. The result is something even more complex and emotive:

Author Bruce Aisher
4th December, 2013

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