Explore time-based modulation of various FX devices using Step FX in Logic Pro X with producer and mixer Evan Sutton. Step sequencers are most commonly used with drum machines and synthesizers, but in this video, Evan creates an effect that plays and moves, creating new sonic textures and rhythmic voices.
- If you're like me you'll love a step sequencer. So let's take a look at step effects because I think that step sequencers have largely been slept on as far as effects are concerned. They're great when we use them with a drum machine or with a synthesizer, we see that all the time. But a step sequencer totally dedicated to effects is a really cool powerful thing. Let's take a listen to this Juno patch that I'd like to use it on. (bouncy music) And if you're hearing a little crackling from that, that's actually from the keyboard itself. I love the world of analog. So let's take a look at step effects here. I'm going to go ahead and turn all of my modules off while I talk about this here real quick, and basically, we've got a pretty simple device here as far as the effects are concerned, there's a gate, we have some panning, we have filters, things like that, there's all kinds of stuff in here that we can work with, and some of these devices that you see me moving around down here, you're not seeing up above as modules and that's because they're just modulation destinations. And so for example, we're going to modulate panning using the step sequencer perhaps, but we can choose that it pans before it hits the filter, or hits the exciter, or whatever. We can change the order of all of our effects down at the bottom, so for example, I could have it hit my delay before my filter, so the delays wet signal gets filtered down, the possibilities are literally endless. So let's just start with a really simple process like filtering. And if we go down here to the bottom we have a few different modulation sources, okay. We have three separate step sequencers. And all these step sequencers do is give us a different value at a rhythmic interval, okay, so right now, we have 16 steps and if I hit play on this you'll see. (bouncy music) We always have to turn the module on. (upbeat music) All right. (upbeat music) So you can see our modulation range that we have on our filter cut-off and we've assigned that over here using this drop-down menu. We have three different step sequencers, there's one that's assigned to gate mix right now and one that's assigned to pan that's why we see it down at the bottom, those two are turned off, but we can change the value of any of these steps very very easily. We can change the rate of it if we want, it could be, let's say a dotted eighth note that's dancy right? (bouncy music) Now let's use another step sequencer to modulate the filter resonance, okay. And there are different presets that you can grab in here. So for example, like double note length. (bouncy music) Different preset sequences that might be useful as starting points, one thing I want to point out is that we can turn certain steps on and off by clicking on their number, and we can also link them and turn them into one cohesive step by clicking on the little dumbbell in the middle there. You see? Okay. So, let me go ahead and reset this. (bouncy music) And I'm going to turn the depth of this one down a little bit, it's a little much for me on that resonance. (bouncy music) What if we make the depths negative, and I turn the resonance up. (bouncy music) Now, the third step modulator, I can go ahead and turn on. It's assigned to pan right now, I don't really want to do that, we can also, grab an LFO. So for example, if we grab the sign preset here, oh, it looks like we're already on that, but I'll just show you for example, we can grab the random square, so this is like a random square wave. We've got presets in here basically, that are again nice starting points, you can save your own if you want to, you can copy and paste between the different step sequencers, and you can also change the way each individual step reacts, if you've used step sequencers in things like massive, for example, this is really handy fun stuff. I'm going to turn this off and let's jump over to the X Y grid, this is a really fun way to create synergistic motion and automation with one click in one move, you can have up to four different parameters that move in conjunction with one another, which is a lot of fun, so let me go ahead and turn on a couple of other modules here and I'm going to turn their mixes all the way down, so we're hearing just the dry signal. And so for X let's go to reverb mix, and then let's go to delay feedback. How about that? And let's turn these ranges up so that they're going up, up, up, and then for Y let's use MOD effects mix, and do delay mix here. So let's take a listen to this as it moves. (bouncy music) Wow, lot of exciting stuff we can do with step effects have fun, this to me is not a mixed tool, this is something that we can use to build the identity of our sounds, but just remember that especially when you're creating electronic music, and poking around for new creative avenues, you can really transform a lot of simple elements into something that's really special. Because these processors and the movement can really impart something very musical and very exciting. All you have to do is look.
- Parametric EQs
- Analog-style EQs
- Vintage vibe compressors
- Distortion and resonance effects
- Chorus, ensemble, and flanging
- Filtering and fuzz
- Multi-fx units
- Performance fx
- Sequencer-based fx