The amplifier section is where we control the output level and the shape of the volume of the sound. So the first thing we'll want to take a look at is this Master Volume control here. This is just going to be the output level. So if I play a note and I bring this down, it just decreases the volume. (music playing) So this is just a volume knob. The next thing that is actually very important in terms of distinguishing the characteristic of the sound is this Decay parameter. So decay is basically a very simplified envelope. What that means is that once the signal reaches its maximum amplitude, or its maximum volume, it's how long it takes for it to fade out, to go back down into silence.
So if I have a very short decay time, it's going to fade out very quickly. If I have a long decay time, like I have it set now, the note will just sustain forever. So if I play a note, it stays the same volume as long as I hold it. If I move this Decay parameter over to the left, so I give it sort of a medium decay, you'll see that it will fade out quickly. So if you look on the oscilloscope, you can see it fades out. So if I give this a little bit longer decay, it will take a longer time, once it reaches its maximum volume, for it to fade out. (music playing) And we can set the decay really short, and it's just an instantaneous little impulse kind of sound.
So the reason why decay is really important is because it tells you what type of function the sound is going to serve as. So is it a cluck sound, where it decays really quickly, or is it a long sustaining pad, where it's going to play as long as you're holding the note? So that's one of the most important elements is figuring out, what is the envelope or the shape of the volume of the sound? And all the synths we look at, we are going to explore their different envelopes. The next important parameter is the Velocity control. So what this allows us to do is to modulate the volume based on how hard we're pressing the key on the keyboard.
So right now having this Velocity set at 0-- I'm just going to increase the Decay so you can actually see that-- so I can play with a lot of force, and it's one volume, and if I play really softly, guess what? (music playing) It's the same volume. So that's a little less musical. So if I increase the amount of velocity response, it's going to allow me, when I play softly, to get less volume. Or I play with greater force and it's louder volume. So that's what the Velocity control does, and it's a way to add more expression to your sound.
And in the last part of this volume section, or amplifier section, is the overdrive. This will saturate the signal, make it a little more distorted and crunchy. So let's crank up the overdrive a little bit. (music playing) You can see it also increases the amplitude or volume quite a bit. So when you're doing that, it's a good idea to turn down your volume knob here. So let's set that somewhere in the middle. (music playing) So you can hear it's a little more saturated. I'll bring down the Overdrive so you can hear it without. (music playing) So there's a difference there.
So as you'll see in the next movie, the overdrive also really affects how the filter cutoff reacts in the filter envelope.
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