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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.
So we've got the amplifier section here, and with the volume knob, we can control overall output level of the instrument. So if I'm playing a note, I can adjust the output level here so it's softer. And like we saw before with ES_E and ES_M, I can use the velocity on the keyboard to control that level. And so I use this Velocity-to-Volume knob here. So I'll set that somewhere in the middle. And so now when I play softly, I get a softer note; when I play loudly, I get a louder note.
So it's responding to velocity, whereas before when I had this all the way to the left here, if I play softly, it's that volume; if I play with more force, it's the same volume. So this allows me to be more expressive with the dynamics of my playing. So, attached to the amplifier we have this ADSR envelope. So it's going to control the contour of the volume of the sound. We've seen simplified envelopes so far in ES E and ES M where they were Attack and Release, or in the case of ES_M, it was just the Decay parameter.
So this is a four-stage ADSR envelope. This is typical in a lot of synthesizers. Not only in Logic, but any synthesizer you encounter, a lot will have this ADSR format. Basically, what it is is the four stages are attack, decay, sustain, and release. So attack is essentially the amount of time it takes the sound to go from silence to its maximum level. Decay is the amount of time, once it reached its maximum level, for it to either fade back down to silence or to fade or decay down to whatever your sustain level is.
Sustain is not amount of time; it's a volume level. So it's the amount of volume that, as long as you're holding the key in the keyboard, that it's going to remain at that level. And Release is once you've let go of the note, the amount of time it takes for the sound to fade back down to silence. So let's explore all of these up close, and we can actually view them on the oscilloscope over here. So I am going to turn down the velocity sensitivity, just so we're getting a really strong signal. And I'm actually going to turn down the Sustain because that's the one that's new.
We haven't looked that in any other synth yet. So we'll kind of take a look at that last. So let's explore Attack. Right now, our attack time is set to 0. So I'll play a note and you can see in here, it starts immediately. If I give this a little bit more time, the sound is going to fade in. So watching the oscilloscope, you'll see it fading in. (music playing) So you could see the sound was fading in there. I can make it even longer and have a really long fade-in, so a very long attack time. So that's Attack. (music playing) Decay is the amount of time it takes for the sound to basically fade down to silence, in this case, because the sustain level is at 0.
So I'm going to set the decay time to something that's pretty short. So you can see it decays very quickly. We can have an even shorter decay, just a little click impulse sound, or it can have sort of medium-length decay where it's just, as I'm holding the note, it's just fading out. So let's take a look at Release, and then we'll come back to Sustain. Release is once I've let go of the note, how long does it take for it to fade down to silence? So I'm playing the note. I'll let go, and it's still ringing out, and it takes a moment for it to fade down.
So if I have a long release, it will take a longer amount of time. So I've already let go, but it's still fading out. So that's the Release parameter. Sustain, it's a constant level. So what I'm going to do is set my Sustain to a particular volume. So if I have my Sustain at 0, it means silence. If I have this set all the way, it's going to be the maximum volume wherever I have this volume control set. And so what that means is if I'm going to play the note now, as long as I hold the note, it's going to sustain its full volume. (music playing) In some ways, having my Sustain all the way up like this, it overrides the Decay parameter, because there's nothing for this decay to decay down to; however, if I set this somewhere in the middle, what's going to happen is the attack will be instantaneous, the decay will take the maximum level, and it will fade down to my sustain level, where as long as I'm holding the note, it's going to remain at that level.
Let's watch that in action. (music playing) So I'm going to try to capture that on the oscilloscope over here. Okay, so here you can see the shape very clearly. Over on the left, you can see the attack where it's happening immediately. Then you can see that it's fading down from that maximum level over sort of the medium period of time, and then it's just kind of levels out. That's the sustain level, and it will stay at that volume as long I'm holding down the note.
So this kind of gives you a good visual representation of the shape of the volume of the sound, and that's all that this amp envelope is doing: you're shaping the volume. So the ADSR envelope as applied to the amplifier is really one of the most important aspects, in terms of determining how your sound functions. For example, the way you can determine if something is a pad sound or short plucky sound really has to do with the shape of the volume. So if I wanted to make a pad sound, typically the envelope shape for that would be a longer attack and a pretty long decay and even a full-on sustain, full level, but a long release, so it kind of fades in and fades out.
So let's hear what that sounds like. So it fades in, and then I let go, and it takes a while for it to fade out. So that would be the shape for a pad sound. If I wanted to make a pluck, I have an instantaneous attack, and you imagine plucking a string. So the onset of the sound is very quick, but it decays very quickly as well. So maybe what I would do is set a shorter release time, set my sustain level to 0, and set a shorter decay. So that's more of like a pluck sound. So as you can see, the ADSR is really useful for shaping your sound.
So next, we'll take a look how we can use this ADSR envelope to modulate the filter cutoff as well.
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