Virtual Instruments in Logic Pro
Illustration by John Hersey

Using the Modulation envelope to add contour


Virtual Instruments in Logic Pro

with Brian Trifon

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Video: Using the Modulation envelope to add contour

So another really useful tool in ES 1 is this Modulation envelope. In some ways it's similar to the LFO in that you can choose what you're going to modulate, and in some ways, it's also kind of like this ADSR envelope in then it has Attack and Decay parameters, but it's also its own unique beast. One of the easiest ways to figure out how this works is to use pitch modulation. So I'll set the destination here in the Router to Pitch. Remember, with the LFO, we chose the destinations over on the left side.
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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

Using the Modulation envelope to add contour

So another really useful tool in ES 1 is this Modulation envelope. In some ways it's similar to the LFO in that you can choose what you're going to modulate, and in some ways, it's also kind of like this ADSR envelope in then it has Attack and Decay parameters, but it's also its own unique beast. One of the easiest ways to figure out how this works is to use pitch modulation. So I'll set the destination here in the Router to Pitch. Remember, with the LFO, we chose the destinations over on the left side.

For the mod envelope we'll choose them on the right. So I've checked pitch here. So I'll play note right now, and there's no modulation happening. So I can increase the intensity with this slider right here. (music playing) So notice right now it's just a static pitch change. (music playing) That's because I have this Mod envelope set in the center here, set to full, and so that's just going to do a constant offset. (music playing) Actually the one way that this can be really useful is that with this slider here, I can split this so that velocity controls the intensity.

So this allows me to change the pitch via velocity. So you can see that the slider is labeled here Intensity via Velocity. So when I play softly, I get a certain pitch, and when I play harder, I get a higher pitch, and everything in between. So you get a lot of interesting-- (music playing) I'm just playing one note on the keyboard, but I'm playing it at different velocities, so I'm getting different pitches. That's because of this range that I have here. Of course, I could set this to a smaller range so that there is less range between the different pitches. (music playing) So it almost becomes microtonal, where if I have this range really small, it's just a slight detuning that I'm getting depending on what my velocity is.

So if I want a more dramatic pitch change, I am going to use the Attack and Decay parameters of this envelope. So what I can do is if I turn this to the right, it's going to function as an attack. (music playing) I have to make sure that I have my Intensity enabled here. (music playing) So you can hear the pitch ramps up, and that happens over 1,300 milliseconds. So this tells you the amount of time. When I go further to the right, it's a longer amount time of time, so it's a longer attack.

So that's the way you want to think about, is further the right the longer attack, and as I go closer towards the center it's a shorter attack. So I'm really close to the center. It's almost instantaneous, 16 milliseconds. I can barely hear that. But if I set this to 2500 milliseconds, 2.5 seconds, we can hear this pitch change happen over 2.5 seconds. And if I increase the Intensity here, it's going to be a wider range. So this will start lower and go higher. (music playing) So that's pretty cool.

Another thing is we can actually have Velocity control that. If I split this apart here then my Velocity is going to adjust the intensity of this modulation. So if I play softly, I'll get a certain pitch glide; if I play harder, I'll get a more extreme pitch glide. And I can set this to a smaller range if I wanted. (music playing) And if I want to move this as a unit--I want to keep this separation-- I can take my cursor and put in the center and it will keep the offset.

So any time in Logic where you see these sliders where they can split apart like that, if you want to keep the range that you have, just click and drag in the middle and that will keep the offset. (music playing) So in addition to having attack where the pitch is bending up, I can also have a decay, so it's going to be the opposite; it's going to bend down. And the closer I'm to the center with this, the longer the decay is going to be. When I go to the left, you can see it's shorter, so -74 ms. Close to the center, I can get a 1,700-ms decay. (music playing) So it's going to pitch down.

I'll get rid of our Velocity range for a moment, just make this really easy to hear. (music playing) So I've got that pitch descending. And if we want to make that shorter, I'll go further to the left. (music playing) Even shorter. (music playing) So it's working as a pitch envelope, and that's pretty cool because it's very simplified. So the next destination that we have is Pulse Width. So just like with the LFO, if I'm modulating Pulse Width, I want to make sure that my oscillator up here is set to a square waveform, or a Pulse waveform. And I'm going to adjust the Mix all the way to the Primary oscillator, because that's all I want to hear right now.

And then what I'll do is give this an attack. So what should happen is over the course of one second the Pulse Width will change. (music playing) Now you can hear it stays at its destination position. So basically this Pulse Width, over the course of one second, it's sort of fading up over the period of that attack. Then it gets to the end here, and it just stays there. So I'll set this back. And if I want it to travel less range, so I wanted a little bit less Pulse Width modulation there-- (music playing) I set the Intensity to something less. Or of course, we can have that control by velocity, by splitting this apart. (music playing) Then I can get the full range.

Of course, I can do in the opposite direction as well. I can have this be a decay. So when I'm closer to the center-- (music playing) So it takes a moment for that to happen. Or I can make it happen over a shorter period of time. (music playing) Over longer period of time. (music playing) So in this case, what's happening is the Pulse Width is going from this narrow back to more evenly spaced. The next parameter we have is the Mix destination.

So what this allows us to do is use this envelope to adjust the balance between the primary oscillator and the sub-oscillator. So if I set this to attack, then I can set this Mix slider somewhere in the middle, and we'll hear it transition between the sub-oscillator and the main oscillator. (music playing) It's kind of subtle sometimes. You can adjust this balance and find the sweet spot. (music playing) And of course, I can have that work in the opposite direction as well, where we'll decay, and so we can have that happen over about a second. (music playing) We'll try to find the point where this works best. (music playing) So there I can hear that change. (music playing) So sometimes it's a little bit abstract and you have to have to experiment with, again, this Mix slider in the right spot where you can hear the transition.

Something like Pitch, it's usually easy to tell and filter cutoff, but some of these other ones we can explore a bit. So the next destination we've got here is filter cutoff. so I'll select that, and I'll set this to Attack. So what that means is wherever I set my filter cutoff--I'll set to its minimum-- it will open up from there over about 1100 ms. (music playing) So you can hear that happening. I can make it longer. Make it more dramatic. (music playing) Or I can have that work the other direction.

So where it's going to decay. And remember, it's easy to forget that the closer you're to the center, the longer the decay is going to be. So if you go further to the left, it's going to be a short decay. So I want it to be kind of a long decay. (music playing) So you can hear the filter is closing down, because remember, decay is how long it takes once it reaches its maximum level to then go back down to its initial setting. (music playing) So that's what's happening here. Then of course, I can set this in the middle and just have the filter cutoff be velocity-reactive. So I'll split this slider here so that I've got a velocity range, and now what happens is when I play softly-- (music playing) I get less filter modulation and then if I play harder, the filter cutoff is offset a bit more.

So it's basically my velocity right now is directly controlling the filter cutoff position. So it's definitely a very useful thing. So next we've got Resonance. And I can kind of do the same thing with this middle setting, set to full. I can have Velocity just control the resonance. (music playing) So right now it's a bit filtered down, so it's just getting the low end of it. (music playing) So depending on how hard I'm playing the note, I get more or less resonance. (music playing) Or I can actually set that up with the envelope.

So we'll have the Resonance fade in - (music playing) Or I can have the decay out. (music playing) It's a very useful feature. Then the next thing we can do is apply it to Volume. (music playing) So it's just kind of like this amplifier envelope here. It's just simplified. (music playing) Right. Those are all the normal parameters that can also be assigned by the LFO.

There are two additional ones for this Mod envelope here: there is filter FM and this LFO Amplitude. So filter FM is kind of interesting. Basically, what that is it means that the triangle wave from the primary oscillator is going to modulate the filter cutoff. So instead of it happening with the LFO, so happening at a low frequency, it's going to be happening at an audio rate. So you have to imagine that if I'm playing A 440 Hz that that would be modulating this filter cutoff 440 times a second.

So this cutoff now would be moving really fast. So instead of it sounding like filtering, it's going to a timbre change to the sound. Let's do a little bit of that. (music playing) So you can hear now there is kind of a distortion sound that's happening, that's fading in over this 2300 ms. (music playing) And if I get rid of that, you'll hear without-- (music playing) So we'll hear this distortion fade in. (music playing) So that's filter FM. That's this cutoff being modulated really fast by the triangle waveform.

Of course, you don't see it happen, but you can hear it happen. So I'll have it go the other direction. We'll have a Decay. (music playing) So in this case it starts distorted, then it becomes less so, so we get more filter FM modulation happening, and then it decreases over the length of this decay. (music playing) And actually, with the filter FM, you really notice it more when you have a higher resonant amount. (music playing) We are almost getting these clangorous, metallic tones out of it.

I'll increase the drive and filter as well. (music playing) So pretty interesting stuff! So we can have that fade in. Or of course, once again, if I set this in the center, I can select a Velocity range here. And depending on how hard I play the note on the keyboard, I'm going to get more or less of this filter FM effect. So last but not least, we've got this LFO Amplitude. That will modulate the intensity of this LFO over here.

So probably the best way to hear that is if we set this LFO to modulate the pitch, and I'll just give it sort of a medium intensity, and I'll set it to a triangle wave. (music playing) And let's have a little bit less of a clangorous sound. I'll turn down the Resonance, open up the filter. (music playing) Okay, so we've got our siren sound. So I can have this Mod envelope modulate the intensity of this LFO, and that's what this is here.

So what I'll do is I'll have Intensity fade in, so over 2.5 seconds. What you'll hear is less modulation, and then it will slowly fade in. (music playing) So you hear that Pitch modulation increasing over time. That's because this envelope here is controlling the intensity, so that's this slider here, for the LFO. If I go in the other direction, I can have the pitch modulation be more extreme and then fade down to being less extreme. (music playing) So you hear how the pitch modulation lessens over time. And then once again, if I got this set in the center, I could set a Velocity range here. (music playing) Depending on my Velocity it's going to control the intensity.

And of course, when you have an attack you can also use this Velocity Split here. It's set High and Low, it's not only something used in the center. (music playing) So, very useful stuff for adding movement to the sound and just getting everything modulating and moving. So next, we'll explore the global section of ES 1.

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