The new Europa Shapeshifting Synthesizer brings wavetable synthesis into Reason in a powerful and creative way. Electronic music producer and audio synthesis educator Matt Piper demonstrates the ins and outs of this new virtual synthesizer.
- [Instructor] We are looking at Europa, Propellerhead's take on wavetable synthesis. So in standard subtractive synthesis, like an old analog synthesizer would give you, you have a static waveform, or maybe a few different types of waveforms. And then you filter that waveform, and you may add movement to your sound by adjusting that filter over time, for instance.
The interesting thing with wavetable synthesis is that the waveform itself can change over time. So within a wave table, you may have several different shapes of single cycle waveforms, and you can sweep through those different waveforms within the table. This will probably make more sense if I just show you. But first, I just wanna say, if all you wanna do with Europa is use the presets, that's fine, these presets sound great.
Here's the default one that it loads with. (synthesized music) But, if you're interested in trying to learn how this thing works and maybe design your own sounds, I hope this video will be a good start in the right direction. So, the first thing I am going to do is Control-click and reset device. So this gives us pretty much a blank slate, here, and when I look up and I see the waveform, I see that it is a sine wave, looks like an S on its side, and it sounds like this.
(blooping) Okay, and this is called basic analog. Now this shape control is going to take us through the wavetable, it's the position within the wavetable. So let's see what's going on in this wavetable. As I turn this, I see this turning into a triangle wave, let's hear that, here's the sine wave. (blooping, gradually morphing to sharper tone) There's a triangle wave.
I have some more harmonics, there. (synthesized humming) And then we've got a square wave. (synthesized humming) And finally, (synthesized buzzing) a sawtooth wave, okay? (synthesized blooping and buzzing) Okay. Now, since we don't want to just sit here with our hand on our mouse, moving things, we can use a modulator, okay? Modulate just means change.
So here, where it says "Env1", that's envelope one, I can choose these modulation sources. Okay, and right now, it has envelope one chosen, there, and I'm gonna turn up the amount of modulation, and let's see what happens. (blooping with intermittent sharp humming) Okay, and here is envelope one, see, it's selected there, envelope one.
(blooping with intermittent sharp humming) I can turn down its speed. (blooping with slower intermittent sharp humming) I can choose to have it not loop. So loop is on, here, I'll turn that off. (blooping with single sharp hum) Now it just triggers every time I press a key. And if I want, I can customize this envelope. I can double-click, and make break points, here, and then I can click and drag up, and create my own shape.
(various synthesized tones humming) Okay, so I've got a little bit of movement going on there, now. And if I press Preset, you can see I've got all these preset wave shapes. (various synthesized tones humming) Choose another one. (periodic buzzing and humming) Okay, let's choose a super crazy one. (random buzzing and humming) That's extremely crazy. Slow it down. (random blooping and buzzing) Okay.
I'm not sure how I feel about that, but we'll stick with it, for a moment. Okay, actually I'll turn down that amount, for now. We're back to our regular sine wave, here, and then I have these modifiers, okay, and I've got a dropdown menu. All these different kinds of things I can do to this waveform. So right now, this is a sine wave. It has no harmonics. But if I turn this modifier on, now it's set to "Fold", and watch what happens. (blooping morphing into humming) Okay, pretty interesting, right? And let's go ahead and let LFO one be our modulation source, here.
So I'll go ahead and turn that up. (various synthesized tones hum) And LFO one is down here, and again, I can turn down, or turn up, the speed. (various synthesized tones hum) Okay, and I'll do this again. (various synthesized tones hum) Okay, and I can also play with the harmonics, here. (various synthesized tones hum) I've got various kinds of spectral filtering I can turn on, here.
(various synthesized tones hum) Okay, and if I want to make this bigger, in the stereo image, I can turn on unison. (various synthesized tones hum) Okay.
And then I can turn up some effects, so down here, I have the effects, and they're all off, right now. So here's the reverb. (various synthesized tones hum) And the delay. (various synthesized tones hum and echo) And if I want to adjust the delay, I click up here. (various synthesized tones hum with more pronounced echo) Okay, I've got a phaser I can turn on. Let's hear what that sounds like. (various synthesized tones hum) If I wanna change the position in the signal chain, I can just click and drag Now the distortion's in front.
(various synthesized tones hum) I'll turn down the master volume, a little bit. (various synthesized tones hum) And I've got a filter section, here, too, that I can turn on, if I want. (various synthesized tones hum) I'll leave that off, though. Okay, so we've gotten pretty far from our original sine wave that we started with. (various synthesized tones hum) And look, we only have one engine on, okay? We've got three different engines.
Let's look at engine number two, and turn it on, and maybe choose a completely different wave table. How about Vocal Cord? Let's turn number one off, for now. (various synthesized tones hum) Get a little unison going on, there. (various synthesized tones hum) Okay, we'll turn that off, and for number three, let's see what we can turn on, here.
How about some FM? (various synthesized tones hum) And put a little LFO on that position. Low frequency oscillator. And we'll go to LFO two and turn down the speed. (various synthesized tones hum) And then I've got separate mixer-level controls for each one of these engines. (various synthesized tones hum) Okay.
I'll turn down the mixer, and I'll turn all of these on, and then bring 'em in. (various synthesized tones hum) Maybe I'll leave this one in the middle, and move this to the left. (various synthesized tones hum) And if you really wanted to dive into this, you've got a modulation matrix, on the bottom, where you can basically choose any modulation source you can think of, and route it to modulate any destination that you can think of.
You can get really deep and complex with this thing, if you want to. I hope that this little taste that I've shown you has whetted your appetite for diving in and being creative with Europa.
- Accessing function keys on the Mac
- Installing additional free content and instruments
- Recording audio and virtual instruments
- Working with the new Reason instruments
- Making beats with loops and the sequencer
- Editing audio
- Correcting pitch
- Automating tempo and time signature
- Mixing tracks in Reason
- Mastering the final recording