Composing with Ultrabeat
Composing with Ultrabeat
So I have a musical example here that has a number of ultrabeats, and it's creating all of the percussion sounds and the synth sounds as well. It's a little bit of an abstract, strange piece, but it shows some of the possibilities what you can do with Ultrabeat. So let's check it out and then I'll talk you through the sounds. (music playing) Okay, so let me show you what's going on with this.
So the first ultrabeat I have here is playing triplets, and it's a multi-output instance of Ultrabeat; actually several of these are. So if I look here, you can see, set to Multiple Outputs. If I go to go the mixer, it's a couple of channels here. So it's these ones here. I'll solo them. I purposefully have this click muted and I'll talk about that in a moment. Let's just hear this triplet part on its own. (music playing) And I'll open the Ultrabeat interface. (music playing) So notice that I don't actually have the Step Sequencer turned on; I transferred all that information to the arrangement.
(music playing) So this pattern I have is set to a resolution of triplets. So if we look at the MIDI--and I'll zoom in here a little bit-- you can see that we've got sort of these triplet values going on with it. So part of what's happening with this particular piece, also, is the tempo is quite fast. It's set to a 190 BPM. Even though it has a slower feel, I wanted it to have a lot of busyness that's possible with it.
So sometimes it's a good idea to set your tempo double of what your target tempo is, because that gives you more room to program with greater density. As you can see, that's pretty busy, the sounds that are going on in here. And if I just play on the MIDI keyboard, because most of these sounds are just a first couple of voices. So like at C1--so it's just kind of strange electronic sounds. So if we go back to Ultrabeat interface and we take a look at some of these, there is a lot of FM synthesis going on, and that's why we have these distorted sounds.
The thing I want to point out though is that each of these sounds here, except for this kick, but these first three, are all going to the same voice group. So they are going to voice group 1. So that means any time that either of these three sounds trigger, they are going to cut off the other sounds in that group. So if you look at how densely programmed that is, it means all of these sounds on these different MIDI notes here are going to cut off the other ones. What I ended up doing was muting one of the sounds in here. I have this click sound and I realized that you know what? I don't really like that click sound in there, but I like the way that it was cutting off the other notes that share the voice group with it.
So that's why I left it in there and I muted the track, because it's still cutting off other voices in the same group, but we're just not hearing itself. So if I unmute it, you can listen to what I had there before. (music playing) These tiny, little clicky sounds. All right! I just like, you want what? I don't need those. So I muted them and that worked well for me, because when I got rid of it, just the way it cut off the other sounds just didn't work as well. So that's this first ultrabeat.
The second we probably have is another multi-output ultrabeat. So I'll go to our mixer and I'll select that. So we can hear what's going on with this one, because it has a couple of different sounds. (music playing) So it has this stabby kind of synth sound that's echoing. And that's voice 25, because I wanted it to change pitches. And then I've got like a kick and a clap. You can hear the clap cuts off.
That's because its in Gate mode. So sometimes it's for a very short duration, so it just cuts off very quickly. So if we look at the MIDI part here--and I'll actually zoom out here. So you can see I've got all the stuff at the bottom, which is the bottom voices and then for the 25th voice, that's the stuff that's up top. So if I just stop for a second and I click on one of these MIDI notes, you can hear, that's that echoey sound. If we take a look at the Ultrabeat interface--and I'll go to this 25th voice here. (music playing) All right, so the sound, it sounds pretty filtered down, and it is.
So if you look at this here, you can see that we've got the Low Pass filter engaged and it has a pretty low filter cut off, although we do have an envelope on it, so that's modulating the cut off. The waveforms that are going into the filter, so Oscillator 1 and Oscillator 2, are pretty distorted, because you can see I have quite a bit of saturation. I have some slope and asymmetry with Oscillator 1. So check out what this sounds like without the filter. It's a much harsher sound. (music playing) It's really bright. I also have an echo on it, and I will show you that in a moment.
But I like it more filtered down. Sometimes it's good to start with sound that's very bright, because then it's always easier to take away harmonics. We can always filter out the brightness, but sometimes it can be more of a challenge to add the brightness in a suitable way where you like how it sounds. So that was the thought process with that. So that's Part2, and let's check out what Part3 is.
So this is basically we've got a kick drum in here and then as we get a little further into it, you'll hear that it's a little arpeggio. So that's the 25th voice that's doing that. I just want to add a little sequence. So if I stop this for a moment and I just can play--this is the 25th voice that I've got-- you can see that basically I've just got the two oscillators here: I've got Oscillator 1 and Oscillator 2.
Notice that on their envelope 4, so that's the voice volume envelope, I used the sustain parameter here. So that's so that I can hold the note as long as I want, right, and it continues to ring out. So for the rest of the sounds, the percussion sounds, I didn't have to sustain because it's just better to shape it with the attack and decay. The sustain though is really good for this 25th voice, so that's why I have it. Other than that, there is a little bit of modulation happening. It's going to the Low Pass filter, so on and so forth. But, pretty much it's just a simple sound.
It's just the way that it's sequenced, so that we can take a look at its MIDI sequence here. So if I zoom out a bit, you can see, okay, here is the kick drum down here and then if I scroll up, here is our arpeggio. So, I just have that at the end of the phrase, and it kind of ties in well with the other sounds. Next, we have basically a snare sound. I did it in the step editor of the Step Sequencer. So there are some parameters being modulated with this.
So I have all of this stuff being modulated. Look at this list here. So FM amount and Lfo2 rate, it's a whole bunch of stuff. It's really just this one snare drum that I made that's up top, but it just has a lot of step automation that's going on with it. And so beneath that, what we have is the DeathNote sound. That's that weird, I don't know, growly sound, I guess.
So I'll show you what's going on with this one. So it's actually using the sample aspect of Oscillator 2. So I can play this. It's voice 25, so I can play it on my keyboard. And so let me play it to without any filtering, because the filter is a big part of this, and so is the Bit Crusher. so I am going to turn off the filter and the bit crusher and so you can just hear the raw sound. (music playing) So it's still kind of a weird sound. It's sort of a grainy stretched-out synth sound.
But what I have happening here is the filter is in Band-Pass mode and then that's being sent into the Bit Crusher, and the Band-Pass filter is being modulated by the LFO. So that movement in the Band-Pass filter's cutoff is what creates the vowel sound. It's because the Band-Pass going to Bit Crusher, it always, you get this lo-fi crazy vowel stuff. So, if I take a look at the actual sequence that we have here too, you can see that there is longer notes and then there's a couple of these shorter notes.
Those are those little stutters that you are hearing. So if I just go back and play this once again. (music playing) So you can hear there is little stuttery sounds, and there is the longer notes. I thought those kind of work well with the rest of this texture. And the last sound that we have here are these wobblers, that's what I am calling them. So that's this strange, I don't know how to describe it, wobbly sound.
So that has a lot of movement in it. That's also the 25th voice, so I can play that chromatically on the keyboard. So again, the filter is doing a lot of this. I have a lot of LFO movement on it. So I am going to turn off the filter, and let's just hear what this sound sounds like without filter. So it's pretty crunchy right, and it's also going through reverb as well. The filter though, with the LFO, adds quite a bit of movement. So you can hear the intensity of that cutoff modulation, which is being created by Lfo1. It's increasing over time, so it's ramping up.
And sure enough, if we take a look at Lfo1, you can see that for the ramp, I have this set to attack. So the intensity of that filter cutoff is fading in over 420 milliseconds. So, I just kind of like that. It feels like it's moving towards you. Other than that, it's basically there is some EQ with the sound, but it's mainly this sample and the filter that's creating the basis of it. So, let's just take a look at the mixer one more time, because there is a couple of other processing things that are happening. I just wanted to show you that with the multiple output instance of Ultrabeat that we have over here, so this was Part2, that on some of those sounds, the one that's that plucky stab sound-- so let me just solo that for you. (music playing) So that has two sends on it, and that's going to these busses over here that have a spaces and a reverb, and the other one has a delay on it.
So if I disengage those, you can hear it's pretty dry. So with the delay and the reverb, it really adds a lot of life to it. So, notice real quickly that I have an EQ in front of the reverb. I just want the high frequencies to come through. Then I have my space designer setting, which is like a--close to a three-second reverb. And then following that, I have another EQ, and this is to cut out some of the high frequencies, because I want it to be sort of a muted reverb sound.
So that's what allowed for that. Now with our delay I've got something sort of interesting going on. I have a High Pass filter, so that there's no low end coming through, and that's followed by a dynamic gate. So I set a threshold here and anything that's above this threshold of -36 will trigger the delay sound. So I have my delay here. So what that means is that only the louder volume notes that come through will trigger the delay. So that's kind of an advanced thing, but you can get some interesting effects exploring that kind of stuff.
So let's listen to that one more time, just with that plucky sound. (music playing) Cool, so that's that. And you can see for that wobblers sound that I had over here, I also have that sending to a reverb as well. So that's going to Bus 1, which is the reverb. And so let's just listen to that real quick. (music playing) So you can hear that has a reverb tail to it. If I get rid of that, it's more dry. So this adds a little bit of depth to it, which is nice.
So that's Ultrabeat in action. Let's check out this piece one more time in context. (music playing)
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