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Xpand 2 is a virtual workstation synthesizer that has almost everything you need to make about any kind of music. It's got multi-sampled instruments. It also employs various types of synthesis. Xpand 2 is multi-timbral, has up to four parts per patch or four individual MIDI channels, all with separate mix, arpeggiator, modulation and effects controls. In other words, this thing is powerful. Let's look at the interface. First off, we can check out all the patches. This thing has over 2300 patches broken down into 29 separate categories. At the top of the window we have the Smart Knobs. Smart Knobs are preassigned to the important parameters of a patch and they map to your MIDI controller so you can control these parameters easily.
On the left side, we have A-D and the Easy button. The Easy button applies these same parameters to all of the parts that are listed down here and we have four different patches or parts listed down here. However, if we want to work on the controls for specific part A-D, then click A-D up here in the Smart Knobs and you'll get controls that line up better with their parameters. As you can see as I scroll through here, the parameters change depending on what the patch is down here.
To the right of the Smart Knobs is the Smart Display. This display shows information about the selected patch or part. To the right of the Smart Display is the Master Level control, which controls the overall output of Xpand. Let's dig into the Part controls. First we have the On/Off switch for this part and you can see that it's shown down here when we click on a button. So, I'm going to turn this back on and I'm going to select that part, and you'll see that it switches up here in the Smart Knobs as well and the info about this particular patch is there too. Here we have the MIDI channel, we can click on this and change it from 1-4. We'll keep it on 1. We have the category of the part and the actual part name.
To the right of that we have the Level, which we can control by just clicking-and-dragging. We have the Panning and we have FX levels. Turn these up and this sound will be routed down here to this effect, which is a Hall Reverb. All parts share the same parameters here. We can control each one separately. On the right side, we have Patch Edit parameter switches. We've got the Play or the main parameters. We've got the Arpeggiator parameters and the Modulation parameters. Let's check out the play parameters.
First we have the TR/Fine. That's transpose or fine-tuning and that will change the pitch transposing it or finally tuning it just a little bit, in sense, as you can see down here. The HI/LO Key sets the instrument range. Now, it's set to the entire keyboard, but we could use this to split the keyboard and assign certain ranges for each part. So, I could set this instrument to play in the bottom half of the keyboard and then this one to play at the top half if I wanted to.
In the Voice Mode, we can choose between Mono and Polyphonic, and if we choose Polyphonic, we can choose the number of nodes that we can play at one time. Finally, we've got the Pitch-Bend Range and this is how many semi-tones the pitch can be bent up or down. So we can actually go to 12 if we want, and let's have a listen to that. (Music playing.) Let's check out the Modulation parameters. First, we've got the shape of the modulation. In this case, we can choose a Saw waveform, a Square wave, whatever we want, Sines. We also can choose the destination of the modulation, so we can change the part's pitch, we can adjust the waveform in various ways, we can adjust the filter cut off, the volume and the panning. The Rate is the speed of the modulation wheels, modulation, and we can adjust that by clicking-and-dragging. The Depth is how much of the signal is affected by the modulation. We can also work with Aftertouch or Pressure in this section, but I'm not going to go into that here.
Finally, we have the Arpeggiator parameters, and this is one of my favorite things. I love Arpeggiators! An Arpeggiator triggers notes played in rhythmic patterns. Now some parts like Action Pads or multi-track arpeggiators that we can choose here, like here is the Action Pads, those will have arpeggiators already on. But if you don't have it already on, then you just need to click this button and turn on the arpeggiator. The Latch key allows you to play the arpeggiator after letting go off the key until playback is stopped or another node is played. Let's actually listen to this part with the arpeggiator on. (Music playing.) If I hit the Latch key, I can just hit the keys once and it will continue to play on until I stop it. (Music playing.) Note that a sustain pedal can act as a temporary latch switch that will override what's set here. And that can be very helpful for a hands-off control.
If we go over here to the Mode, we can choose which Arp pattern that we want, and there is a lot of different ones. You can see, we can choose the Disco Bass. Let's hear what that sounds like. (Music playing.) The Rate refers to the note value. If we choose 1, that's a whole note. 16 is 16th notes, and if we choose anything with a T on it, that's for triplets. Finally, let's talk about the FX. We have two FX available to us and we turn them on or off using these switches. If you click on the name of the effect, you can see all the various FX that have at our disposal. There are tons of them. Use these parameters to change the sound of the effect.
Over here, we have an interesting knob. This is where we can send a percentage of the FX 2 back into FX 1. We can use this to create special effects like sending a delayed signal into a reverb for an even more spacey sound. Xpand 2 is an incredibly powerful instrument. I've created entire pieces of music for all sorts of clients simply using this one instrument. I'm sure you're going to love using Xpand 2.
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