Clamping VCA in Reaktor 6 Primary

Building a “clamping VCA” in Reaktor for subtle distortion, imitating the envelopes in Roland TR-808.

Normally, an amplitude envelope for your synths are just that: a control envelope on the amplitude of the signal. When we use a “clamping VCA”, though, instead of controlling the amplitude of the waveform, we clip it at the desired maximum envelope. This means, when the VCA is all the way up, it sounds the same, but during the attack and release, we’ll get the addition of subtle (or perhaps not-so-subtle) distortion to our waveform.

I use the “Mod. Clipper” in Reaktor 6 to achieve this effect, stealing the idea from Noise Engineering’s “Sinclastic Empulatrix” module, which, in turn, stole the idea from from the Roland TR-808 drum machine’s cymbal envelopes.

0:00 The “Mod. Clipper”
0:33 Clamping VCA
1:25 Simple Sine Oscillator
2:03 Mod-Clipping the Sine Wave
3:51 Standard VCA for comparison
4:58 Pulse Wave
5:41 Sawtooth Wave
6:34 Adding a Filter
7:35 Next Steps

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Sample-Based Generative Melody in Kyma 7

Creating a 15-channel generative melody in Symbolic Sound’s Kyma 7.

I edited some pitches from the Schlappi Engineering Interstellar Radio into loops, and mushed some nature sounds together using Kyma’s SampleClouds. Now, by putting an amplitude generator on these two loops I can create a hybrid musical instrument of these two sounds. Take 15 pitches, 15 patterns of envelope, and send it to 15 speakers and we’ve got some Brian-Eno-style generative music with a constantly changing timbre.

This work was for my piece Perspectives of Place for Rolling Ryot’s “Ghost Line X Project”.

  • 0:00 What are we doing?
  • 0:37 Our looping samples
  • 2:32 Staring the Kyma Sound: Sample
  • 3:07 Adding an Envelope
  • 5:04 The Second Sample and Envelope
  • 5:54 Changing the Envelope
  • 6:48 Repeating Triggers with SoundToGlobalController
  • 8:12 Now do it 15 times (abridged)
  • 8:48 Listening to all 15
  • 10:36 Reducing the Density
  • 12:48 Checking the new version
  • 14:38 Closing, Next Steps.

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