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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 lynda.com blog.
One of the most important aspects of drum sounds is the envelope shapes. Fortunately, Ultrabeat gives us four envelopes per voice that are really tailored for creating percussion sounds. So let's pull up the EMPTY patch. So I'm going to go to the Settings menu, go to Load Setting, and we'll go to the Desktop/Exercise Files/Ultrabeat. And then I'll go to the Preset folder here and choose this Ultrabeat_EMPTY. So I'm going to be working with this first voice, and that's going to be C1 on the keyboard. It's a sine wave right now. (music playing) I'm just going to increase the volume of this Oscillator 2.
(music playing) And just the overall voice volume as well. (music playing) Okay, that's a little better. Envelope 4 is always a going to be the amp envelope. It's hard-wired to the voice volume. So let's take a look at the features that it has. Right now, taking a look at it, you can see that it has an attack which is instantaneous and then decay. And so I can zoom in by clicking right here and moving my mouse, dragging left or right to zoom in or out. Or if I want to zoom to fit, I can press the Zoom button.
That makes it a little bit easier to see. So what I can do is drag the decay to make it shorter or longer. And when I let go, it's going to zoom to fit again. So we can see it's centered it. If I want to just focus on the attack portion, I can press this A button right here and then I'm just looking at the attack. Or if I just want to see the decay, I can press D and there we've got the decay portion. And once again, zoom to fit. So, one of the really cool features of this envelope is that you can really customize the curvature of each stage.
So for the decay, I can just click and drag here on the envelope itself. You can see I'm changing the curvature of it. And as I do that, you can see that two handles appear here. These just are tools to help you basically shape it more precisely. So you can really customize it and the same is true with the attack portion as well. You can go in there and shape it. And that really makes a difference, especially for drum sounds, and we'll see that in a moment as we dig in further. The other feature that we have here is Sustain.
So if I want there to be a Sustain portion, I can press the Sustain button. What that will do is when I play a note, as long as I hold it, it will sustain at that level. (music playing) So I can set that here. So typically you're only going to use the Sustain portion on the 25th voice, so that's the one up here that where you can play chromatically any note above C3. So usually you'll have a bass sound or some kind of synth sound and that's where you'll want Sustain. But for most percussive sounds, it's not necessary. It's actually usually more useful just to have only attack and decay.
So in addition to shaping the volume of the sound, we can also use the envelopes as, say, a pitch envelope. So I'm going to use Envelope 1 and I'll have it modulate the pitch of Oscillator 2, because I'm going to create a kick-drum-type sound. So what I'm going to do is, over the Pitch parameters, which are here, I've got this little Mod menu. So right now it's set to Off. And beneath that I have this Via menu. So under Mod, I'm going to select Envelope 1. You can see now that this little blue flag appeared on my Pitch parameter here.
In this Via menu, I can choose something to scale the amount of my pitch modulation for this envelope. So I can choose Velocity, but I'll do that in a moment. So taking a look at this Pitch envelope, I can set the Range here. So I'll set this +39 semitones as the range. (music playing) So you can hear I have this little chirpy-type sound now. And I can adjust the shape of this envelope and make this shorter. (music playing) This is a really short-- (music playing) --kind of click to the sound. And let's bring down the pitch of all of this, make it more in a kick-drum range.
(music playing) There, you can hear it kind of has a thud. And what we'll have to do actually is make our Amp envelope a little bit longer with its decay. It's too short right now. (music playing) Okay, so that's actually starting to sound like a kick drum just as it is. So going back to our Pitch envelope here, we can tweak this a little bit further. So if I make the decay of the Pitch envelope longer, it's more like a synthetic-type kick-- (music playing) --where you can hear the Pitch Envelope. Whereas, if I make this shorter-- (music playing) --it sounds a little bit more natural.
And I'm going to zoom in on the decay portion. We can really shape this. (music playing) You can hear how little adjustments really affect the shape of the sound. So I can adjust the range if I want it to have more of a click. (music playing) And you can even take that really far and it sounds, once again, more synthetic, or you can get more of a nicer balance, somewhere in the middle like that. So one thing we might want to do is actually scale the amount that the envelope is modulating the pitch with velocity, like I had mentioned before.
So I'm going to set that here. So I'll set this to Velocity. And then you can see we have a green flag here, and we can set the range that Velocity is going to scale or modulate the intensity of this Pitch envelope. (music playing) And so this is really going to just change the character of the attack, depending on how hard I'm playing the note. So that can be pretty useful. Another area where we might want to use an envelope is on the Saturation parameter. So what I'm going to do is use Envelope 2 for that. So I see that it has this Mod menu right here, and so that means I can assign an envelope, so I'll choose Envelope 2.
And we'll also scale that with Velocity. So when I do that, you'll see this green flag appears on the right. And then I can set the range of these, so I'll set the Envelope amount--how about the Full amount?--and same with Velocity too. We'll have Velocity control to Full amount. (music playing) So that's definitely a little bit more distorted now, because we have more saturation, but we can tailor this envelope to make it more focused of a sound. So I'll adjust the decay. (music playing) There we go! That sounds like a pretty decent synthetic kick.
So as you can see, you can keep tweaking and adjusting the envelopes to get things just right. And it does actually take quite a bit of work to get decent sounding drums, but it's certainly a rewarding process. So one other aspect that's important to think about when you're using these envelopes is actually modulating the shape of the attack and decay. So you can do that with Velocity as well, and that's this parameter here. So Attack Time could be modulated via Velocity here. So here's where we adjust the intensity of that. And essentially what that means is if you play with greater Velocity, you're going to have a longer attack, and if you play with less Velocity, you get a shorter attack.
And then in terms of the shape of the attack, if you play with more Velocity, you're going to get a convex-shaped attack, whereas, if you play softer, you get concave. And the same is true with the decay. You can modulate the Decay Time with Velocity and the Decay Shape as well. So sometimes that's a useful way to also have the Velocity affect the shape of your envelopes. So now that we've explored how the envelopes function and how we can use them to shape the volume, pitch, and saturation to emphasize the attack qualities of sound, let's dive in and see how we can use the Multimode filter to further craft the percussive characteristics of a sound.
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