Virtual Instruments in Logic Pro
Illustration by John Hersey

Exploring the ES2 Oscillators and Mix Triangle


Virtual Instruments in Logic Pro

with Brian Trifon

Video: Exploring the ES2 Oscillators and Mix Triangle

Let's take a look at the Oscillator section of ES_2. To make this more visually interesting, I'm going to pull up an oscilloscope so we can view the waveform as I'm experimenting with the oscillators. So if I go here to Audio Units, I have one that's a third-party plug-in that's called s(M)exoscope. So I'll load that up. and it's actually a free download. If you go to, you can download the Audio Unit version, and install it. And it's really a good way to visualize what you're hearing.
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  1. 6m 59s
    1. Welcome
      2m 21s
    2. Setting up Logic Pro for using virtual instruments and configuring MIDI controllers
      4m 5s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 21m 50s
    1. Getting started with the ES M
      1m 13s
    2. Understanding the signal flow of the ES M
      2m 18s
    3. Using the oscillator
      3m 4s
    4. Tone shaping with the lowpass filter
      2m 59s
    5. Using the volume controls
      3m 5s
    6. Using the Filter envelope to adjust cutoff
      3m 22s
    7. Composing with the ES M
      5m 49s
  3. 26m 16s
    1. Getting started with the ES E
      1m 15s
    2. Understanding the signal flow of the ES E
      2m 5s
    3. Selecting a waveform
      2m 9s
    4. Using the Vibrato/PWM dial
      2m 15s
    5. Using the ES E lowpass filter
      2m 43s
    6. Shaping the amplitude with the Attack and Release envelope
      3m 10s
    7. Shaping the filter with the Attack and Release envelope
      3m 55s
    8. Using the Chorus and Ensemble settings
      2m 1s
    9. Composing with the ES E
      6m 43s
  4. 39m 0s
    1. Getting started with the ES P
      1m 54s
    2. Understanding the signal flow of the ES P
      2m 22s
    3. Balancing the oscillator levels
      4m 7s
    4. Enabling key follow on the filter
      6m 9s
    5. Shaping the volume with the ADSR
      6m 20s
    6. Modulating the cutoff with the ADSR
      3m 48s
    7. Using the Vibrato/Wah control
      3m 23s
    8. Tweaking the Overdrive and Chorus settings
      2m 34s
    9. Composing with the ES P
      8m 23s
  5. 1h 19m
    1. Getting started with the ES1
      2m 8s
    2. Exploring the signal flow of the ES1
      3m 31s
    3. Using the oscillator and sub-oscillator
      3m 58s
    4. Tweaking the filter
      6m 36s
    5. Using key follow on the cutoff
      5m 25s
    6. Exploring the amplifier section and ADSR
      7m 42s
    7. Modulating the cutoff with ADSR
      4m 9s
    8. Creating movement with the LFO
      14m 18s
    9. Using the Modulation envelope to add contour
      13m 31s
    10. Using the Glide and the Global Voices settings
      4m 30s
    11. Using the side chain input and LFO external feature
      4m 34s
    12. Composing with the ES1
      9m 21s
  6. 48m 10s
    1. Getting started with EFM1
      1m 52s
    2. FM synthesis basics and signal flow
      3m 21s
    3. Setting the carrier pitch
      2m 56s
    4. Changing timbre with the modulator
      6m 2s
    5. Using the volume and modulation envelope to shape the sound
      9m 55s
    6. Adding movement with the LFO
      3m 0s
    7. Using unison, detune and sub osc for thick sounds
      3m 22s
    8. Randomize, do you feel lucky today?
      3m 47s
    9. Assigning MIDI controls to FM
      3m 38s
    10. Composing with the EFM1
      10m 17s
  7. 46m 5s
    1. Getting Started with EVOC 20
      2m 9s
    2. Vocoding Basics: Making your synth sing!
      3m 14s
    3. Exploring the synthesis section
      4m 48s
    4. Managing the Global voice settings
      4m 39s
    5. Using the filterbank section to shape the vocoded sounds
      5m 34s
    6. Tweaking the formants and adding movement with the LFO's
      5m 26s
    7. Getting more intelligible results with U/V detection
      3m 52s
    8. Making your beats melodic: vocoding drums
      3m 38s
    9. Composing with the EVOC 20
      12m 45s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Getting Started with ES2
      3m 33s
    2. Exploring the ES2 Oscillators and Mix Triangle
      9m 8s
    3. Tweaking the ES2 filters to shape expressive sounds
      7m 11s
    4. Series or Parallel?
      6m 34s
    5. Understanding the amplifier effects
      3m 45s
    6. Bringing life to ES2 with the modulation router
      4m 50s
    7. Creating rhythmic movement with the LFO's
      10m 8s
    8. Using the 3 envelopes to give shape to your sounds
      8m 13s
    9. Create evolving sounds with basic vector modulation
      5m 37s
    10. Looping with the vector envelope
      8m 17s
    11. Voice parameters and global settings
      7m 15s
    12. Making changes to your macro and MIDI controls
      3m 29s
    13. Composing with the ES2
      10m 26s
  9. 1h 15m
    1. Getting Started with EXS24
      3m 29s
    2. Create your own sample instruments the easy way
      5m 4s
    3. Exploring single zone sample instruments
      4m 29s
    4. Creating multiple zone instruments
      5m 9s
    5. Adding dynamics with velocity layers
      5m 46s
    6. Organizing zones with groups
      7m 4s
    7. Advanced zone editing and looping
      5m 21s
    8. Using the filter section to shape your sampled sounds
      7m 3s
    9. Using transpose and glide to add expression to EXS24
      5m 22s
    10. Adding life and expression with the modulation
      7m 34s
    11. Further shaping with the envelopes
      6m 35s
    12. Adjusting Global voice settings
      3m 14s
    13. Composing with the EXS24
      9m 5s
  10. 59m 45s
    1. Getting started with EVB3
      3m 59s
    2. Synthesizing with the Drawbars
      3m 10s
    3. Utilizing the Preset Keys and Morph Wheel
      4m 31s
    4. Adding Vibrato and Percussion Parameters
      4m 43s
    5. Customizing the Pitch and Condition Parameters
      7m 0s
    6. Adjusting the Organ and Sustain Parameters
      6m 6s
    7. Using the EVB3 effects
      5m 43s
    8. Modulating sound with the Leslie Rotor Cabinet
      7m 49s
    9. Setting the extended parameters
      5m 17s
    10. Composing with the EVB3
      11m 27s
  11. 19m 52s
    1. Getting Started with EVP88
      2m 46s
    2. Selecting a piano model
      1m 17s
    3. Adjusting the model parameters
      2m 38s
    4. Setting the tuning parameters
      1m 54s
    5. Adding effects to thicken the sound
      4m 40s
    6. Musical example
      6m 37s
  12. 29m 15s
    1. Getting Started with EVD6
      2m 29s
    2. Choosing the instrument model
      3m 41s
    3. Customizing the string parameters
      4m 25s
    4. Adjusting pickup configuration and position
      3m 49s
    5. Using the EVD6 Effects
      5m 24s
    6. Composing with the EVD6
      9m 27s
  13. 1h 57m
    1. Getting Started with Sculpture
      4m 53s
    2. Setting the string characteristics with the Material Pad
      8m 26s
    3. Exciting the string with objects
      8m 52s
    4. Adjusting the Pickups and Global Voice Settings
      8m 10s
    5. Shaping sound with the Amp Envelope
      4m 24s
    6. Saturating sound with the Wave Shaper
      3m 42s
    7. Sculpting with the filter
      7m 37s
    8. Adding depth to the stereo delay
      5m 18s
    9. Understanding the Body EQ
      6m 34s
    10. Modulating with the LFO's
      8m 9s
    11. Using the Vibrato, Velocity and Controllers
      6m 40s
    12. Introducing the Control Envelope
      6m 15s
    13. Recording the Envelope Shape with a MIDI Controller
      5m 57s
    14. Looping with the Control Envelopes
      5m 46s
    15. Transitioning between settings the Morph Pad
      6m 10s
    16. Employing the Morph Envelope
      9m 48s
    17. Composing with Sculpture
      10m 52s
  14. 2h 4m
    1. Getting started with Ultrabeat
      2m 54s
    2. Exploring the Assignment section
      6m 22s
    3. Importing settings into Ultrabeat
      4m 19s
    4. Synthesizing with Oscillator 2
      7m 42s
    5. Using Oscillator 1 and the noise generator
      4m 36s
    6. Shaping with the envelopes
      7m 21s
    7. Filtering and setting distortion
      8m 36s
    8. Adding movement with the LFOs
      8m 23s
    9. Refining the sound with EQ in the Output section
      6m 10s
    10. Building a kick drum
      8m 18s
    11. Synthesizing a snare drum
      8m 31s
    12. Creating a hi-hat
      4m 34s
    13. Introduction to the step sequencer
      5m 54s
    14. Sequencing in the step sequencer
      7m 18s
    15. Working with the playback options
      5m 1s
    16. Sequencing automation in Step Edit mode
      5m 3s
    17. Utilizing the side chain
      9m 2s
    18. Composing with Ultrabeat
      14m 13s
  15. 7m 24s
    1. Introducing and composing with the Klopfgeist
      7m 24s
  16. 1m 12s
    1. What's next?
      1m 12s

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Watch the Online Video Course Virtual Instruments in Logic Pro
13h 10m Intermediate Nov 09, 2011 Updated Mar 14, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join author Brian Trifon as he shows how to improve music and audio productions using virtual instruments in Logic Pro. This course tours the program's virtual instruments, including the ES2 hybrid synthesizer, Sculpture physical modeling synthesizer, EFM1 FM synthesizer, the EVOC 20 vocoder, the Ultrabeat drum synthesizer, and the EXS24 sampler, and shows how to achieve various effects with each instrument's parameters. The course also covers working with oscillators and filters, understanding signal flow, creating custom synthesizer patches, adding effects, synthesizing speech, creating a library of custom sound samples, and much more.

Virtual Instruments with Logic Pro will be updating on a monthly basis, eventually covering all the virtual instruments in the application. Look for the latest movies here and on the blog.

Topics include:
  • Setting up Logic Pro for using virtual instruments
  • Configuring MIDI controllers
  • Composing with virtual instruments envelopes
  • Tweaking the overdrive and chorus
  • Creating movement with LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators)
  • Understanding FM synthesis basics
  • Changing the timbre and shifting the formants of the vocoder
  • Constructing custom sampler kits
  • Exploring the tonewheel organ, electric piano, and Ultrabeat drum synthesizer
Audio + Music
Logic Pro
Brian Trifon

Exploring the ES2 Oscillators and Mix Triangle

Let's take a look at the Oscillator section of ES_2. To make this more visually interesting, I'm going to pull up an oscilloscope so we can view the waveform as I'm experimenting with the oscillators. So if I go here to Audio Units, I have one that's a third-party plug-in that's called s(M)exoscope. So I'll load that up. and it's actually a free download. If you go to, you can download the Audio Unit version, and install it. And it's really a good way to visualize what you're hearing.

It doesn't actually affect the sound at all; it's just a visual aid. Okay. S, now when I play, you can see the waveform here on the oscilloscope. So in the Oscillator section, the first thing that you want to do is make sure that your oscillator is on. So for each oscillator there's a little on and off button here. So I just turned off Oscillator 1. I can turn it back on, and here's the one for 2 and 3, and you can see it's got this fancy animation when you turn them on and off. I can adjust the balance between the three oscillators with this very clever mix triangle.

So this top corner would be Oscillator 1, 100% mix, this would be 100% listening to Oscillator 2, and 100% listening to Oscillator 3. And then of course, you can get any kind of balance between them. So it's a very clever way of balancing the levels between the oscillators. The first thing we'll do is talk about the tuning for Oscillator 1. You can adjust it in semitones, +36 or -36 semitones, that's a three-octave range.

If I want to reset this back to its neutral position, I can Option+Click on it and that'll reset it. Then I can do a fine-tune adjustment +50 or -50 cents. So remember, cents is a semitone split into 100 divisions. If I want to reset this one, I can Option+Click on it as well. So in terms of this oscillator, we've got a number of different waveforms. So there's a sawtooth waveform. That's what I'm on right now. (music playing) I can set this to a triangle waveform here, so it's a little bit more subdued.

And then down at the bottom here, it says sine, but we actually have 100 waveforms right here. So if I scroll up with my mouse, you can see it's going to go through a number of different waveforms of all different types. If I want to see this as a menu instead of just scrolling up and down, I can Ctrl+Click and you can see it's got all of them listed here. So if you wanted to load up iron2 instead of scrolling through a hundred of them, you can just select it, and then you have the iron2 waveform.

So, moving these up here, I've got a square waveform, and right next to that is a similar one. This is a pulse waveform. So it's basically like a square waveform, but it's not symmetrical. So you can see that one of the sides is closer together than the other. Then at the very top here, we have FM modulation. So if I only have Oscillator 1 on, all I hear is a sinewave, and this dial, this range here doesn't control anything. However, if I have Oscillator 2 on, the Oscillator 2 is going to frequency modulate Oscillator 1, and this dial is going to control the intensity. So let's check that out.

So I'll turn on Oscillator 2, and notice that my mix is still set 100% to Oscillator 1, so all we're hearing is Oscillator 1. But now when I adjust this FM intensity amount, you can hear that Oscillator 2 is modulating Oscillator 1. And if I change the waveform in Oscillator 2, it's going to affect the sound as well. So if I change this to a pulse wave here, it's going to affect how it sounds. So that's definitely something to explore.

Try all the different waveforms of Oscillator 2 frequency- modulating Oscillator 1. So let's actually take a look at Oscillator 2. So we'll adjust our balance here, all the way to Oscillator 2, 100%. And so let's start with where we are here. We have this pulse waveform up top that gives us control over the pulse width. So right now it's a perfectly symmetrical square waveform, but I can adjust the pulse width, and make it much more narrow, and you can see that it's not symmetrical at all. It's very narrow. (music playing) So I can leave this in a static position or we can modulate that.

So in the modulation router, I can set up a routing called pulse width modulation where it will modulate the width here. So the other things we have in Oscillator 2 is the sawtooth waveform just like we had in Oscillator 1, triangle waveform as well, and then we've got this square sync waveform. So what that's going to be is it's actually an interaction between Oscillators 1 and 2. So what it's going to do is it's going to force Oscillator 2 to reset its phase with every cycle of Oscillator 1, even if Oscillator 2 is at a different pitch.

So if I change the pitch of Oscillator 2, (music playing) it's re-synchronizing with every wave cycle of Oscillator 1. So it doesn't actually sound like a pitch shift because the fundamental frequency is still the same, but it's like a texture change. So I have the square sync, and then I also have a saw sync that's right beneath it. You can see it shares the words sync there between the two. (music playing) So, slightly different sound.

Then next we have ring modulation mode for Oscillator 2. So what that's going to do is it's going to take the signal from Oscillator 1 and multiply it together with the square waveform of Oscillator 2. And so you end up getting kind of metallic sounds and some interesting things happening with that. So first, what I am going to do is just reset our tuning on Oscillator 2 back to just 0 here. It's good with a ring modulation to experiment with the tuning of both oscillators 1 and 2. (music playing) So you can get some pretty crazy sounds.

You can also get some pretty stable sounds as well. And one way to explore is to actually set Oscillator 1 to a sine waveform. (music playing) That's kind of the more traditional ring-modulated sound. And it's also fun to experiment with the tuning of Oscillator 2 as well when you're ring-modulating. So you get different interactions between the two oscillators, that some sound better than others. Then also like we saw in Oscillator 1, we've got these digi-waves, the same 100 that you can choose here.

So let's take a look at Oscillator 3. Oscillator 3 is pretty much the same as oscillator 2. The only difference is that it has a noise generator as part of it, and that's what makes it different from Oscillator 2. So if we go here, we can generate white noise, and everything else about it is the same as 2. You have the synchronization, the hard sync, and it's going to synchronize with Oscillator 1. So oscillators 2 and 3, when they're in sync mode, they sync with oscillator 1. So one other neat thing that you can do with the oscillators is detune them, and it actually has this mode here, this constant beat detuning, where it's going to detune the higher range and lower range of the keyboard so that you get a constant interaction between those different ranges.

So first, let's explore just a simple detuning with this constant beat off. So what I'm going to do is just set this mix balance between Oscillators 1 and 2 to somewhere around 50-50. And I've got these both set to sinewaves and they're playing the same frequency. (music playing) So when they're playing the same frequency, you don't really hear it as two oscillators; you just sort of hear one sound. Now, if I offset the tuning by a couple of cents on Oscillator 1, you can hear that there's now this pulsing between Oscillators 1 and 2.

When I play different keys, so if I play higher, higher than that, the beating happens at a different rate. So it's happening faster higher, and now when I'm playing lower, it's slower. So this constant beat detuning allows you to have a constant rate of that beating happening. So if I set this to 100%, so I play at this range here, and if I play higher, that beating is at the same rate with the detuning and if I play lower, it's the same rate.

So it's pretty cool. And you have a range here. You don't have to set it at 100%; you can set it somewhere in between and it's worth exploring that. But essentially what's happening is it's deviating from equal-tempered tuning. So when you have this off, you have an equal temperament tuning and when you turn this on, it's the high octave. So anything above C3 is detuned and anything below C3 is detuned so that they correlate with each other more than if you just have it equal tempered. So once you have your sound set in this Oscillator section and you get a good mix balance with your mix triangle here, probably what you want to do is shape the sound with the Filter section, so let's explore that next.

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