Vacuum is a Monophonic Analog-style Synth with a sonic control. Modeled after classic synths, it has one control per parameter and no menus. Let's take a look at it. On the left side it has two Vacuum Tube Oscillators or VTOs. All sounds originate here. The Range sets the octave for the VTO, while the Fine parameter varies the pitch up or down 7 semitones. Let's take a listen using the 12 Dirty Reso Lead preset. (Music playing.) Shape continuously morphs the VTO between several wave shapes and Env 1 To Shape controls the modulation of the current VTO wave shape by Envelope 1.
Next, we have the Mixer section and I'm going to load up a different preset here. We'll go to 23 Marky Mark. The two oscillator signals the VTO 1 and VTO 2 are mixed in the mixer section. The Drive adds distortion and the RingMod creates a ring modulation effect by multiplying the VTO 1 and VTO signals together. I love this effect. Let's take a listen. (Music playing.) That node sure does have a lot of sustain.
Next in Vacuum we have the High Pass Filter and the Low Pass Filter section. These guys do exactly what their names say. They either let high frequencies pass through or low frequencies pass through. The VTOs volume levels drive these filters. Use the mixer volume at a low level for cleaner tones or boost the mixer volume for more distorted tones. Let's check out some of these Filters parameters. First we have the Cutoff and this is the frequency where the High Pass filter or the Low Pass filter begins to cut off the frequencies. The Slope sets the curve of the filter slope.
Higher values mean higher slopes and more frequencies are cutoff. Reso refers to resonance, which is the amount of signal that's fed back into the filter circuit. Let's check out some of these things. (Music playing.) Env 1 controls the amount that the filter cutoff frequency is modulated by Envelope 1. When it's centered, no modulation occurs, move it right for positive modulation or left for negative modulation.
Key Track controls how the pitch affects the filters cutoff frequency, there is no effect at 0% but at 100% the frequency is directly related to the keys played. The Saturation control adds saturation to the resonant feed back loop. Below the Filter section is the Envelope section. Envelope 1 modulates each filter's cutoff frequency over time while Envelope 2 modulates each filter's amplitude over time, or you can assign them to modulate other parameters using the Modulation Routing section over here on the right. Use the Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release controls to adjust the modulation envelope shape.
The Modulation Routing section enables you to change up the signal routing within the synth if you want to dig deeper into designing sounds. Choose the source and the destination, then choose the depth to set the amount of the source that modulates the destination. Let's move up to the Age section and I'm going to reload Marky Mark here. Use the Age controls to add pitch drift and dirt to the sound. At low levels, drift can actually thicken the sound, while higher levels can detune the sound heavily. Dust adds noise to the sound mimicking how real dust might affect an older Synth. Let's check out the Drift parameter. (Music playing.) Pretty nasty. The VTA or Vacuum Tube Amplifier section sets the master output volume with this control right here. Let's move down to the Arp or the Arpeggiator section, but first let me change this sound to Story Teller and here is the Story Teller sound without the Arpeggiator on yet. (Music playing.) If we turned it on you will see the rhythmic pausing and then I can add notes and you will hear a chord, but it will pass through each note of the chord depending on the rate and the mode that we have set here. (Music playing.) Lots of fun right there with the Arpeggiator.
Next, we have the Pitchbend and the Modulation Wheels. Let's check out the Pitchbend. You know what that does. (Music playing.) It changes the pitch. I'm going to turn off the Arpeggiator. The Modulation Wheel can affect a number of things. We can turn on Vibrato, Wah, or Tremolo and we can adjust the rate of those right here with the Rate knob. So let's hear what the difference is. (Music playing.) Click the Setup button over here to access the Glide, Pitch Bend range and Envelope Retrigger settings. Let's try this. We'll change the Pitch Bend Range to 24. That's going to mean that we have two octaves of Pitch Bend Range. Now let's see what happens. (Music playing.) You knew that was coming. Finally, spend some time looking through and listening to the roughly 200 preset patches that we have up here. We have got a bunch of leads, base sounds, arpeggios, percussive sounds and effects.
Vacuum is obviously a pretty deep instrument. Spend some time testing out and reading about its parameters. The time will be well spent as you explore the sonic possibilities that this instrument has to offer.
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