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Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 | 13 comments

Generating Complexity in Max

Guest Contribution by Mark Durham

Wood_Grain_Crop_1

With this post I want to look at some strategies for generating control data in Max, or more specifically generating complex envelopes for controlling parameters. Now I expect that designing envelopes is nothing new for most Designing Sound readers; it’s been a staple technique for manipulating parameters on a timeline in most DAW’s, samplers etc for some time now. For me, learning to program the first version of Native Instrument’s Absynth was a real revelation with regard to designing complex sounds using envelopes. For anyone who has not tinkered with Absynth, it has a very well designed envelope section and it’s possible to control pretty much any parameter with an envelope. This lends itself very well to complex sequences where different parameters of the synth are being continually adjusted, with each of the parameters interacting to produce sound. Another interesting feature of Absynth is the breakpoint generation tool, which can be used to generate basic repeating envelopes with only a few controls. It’s a large influence on the device featured in this post.

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 | 0 comments

Dynamics Processors = Envelope Generators

Envelope Generators?!

Envelope Generators?!

Charles Maynes’ post earlier this month reminded me of an idea I had but never bothered to actually test out…using dynamics processors as envelope generators.

If you’ve ever listened to me rant at all in the last two and a half years I’ve been active in this online community, you’ve probably at some point heard me say, “Compressors don’t make things louder, make up gain does!” I stand by that comment…so much so that I tend to repeat it every couple of months. Technically, I just did it again. Compressors and gates, in and of themselves, don’t make signals louder, they do just the opposite. If you’re using a compressor (and disregarding make-up gain for the moment) it makes a signal softer when it exceeds a given threshold. Gates, for the most part, completely mute signals unless they exceed a given threshold. So, why not use those behaviors creatively?

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