Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sawmill

I have released new instrument at Kontakt Hub. It is inspired by the supersaw... In a broad sense, it doesn't try to emulate the classic supersaw sound. In fact, I don't particularly like the supersaw sound. But I think it's interesting how layering detuned oscillators turns a static waveform into something with evolving texture. I have been wondering how would it sound if you could detune other parameters, not just pitch. A filter, LFO frequency, effects... And here comes Sawmill, where you can detune... everything. For each oscillator.


There are seven oscillators in this instrument and it is quite like having a stack of seven synthesizers, with controllers conveniently grouped by type. Each oscillator has independent signal path with separate set of controllers, including effects, from filters to chorus or delay (with single exception of convolution processor, which would make it too much of CPU hog). So if you want tune a filter cutoff you have a row of seven knobs to deal with. It makes it easy to experiment with oscillator layering.
The instrument is build in Kontakt, but it's not quite a sample library. Rather a synthesizer with sampled oscillators. There are 32 waveforms, generated mostly with modular analog system and vintage analog synthesizers. The samples are fairly long to capture bits of analog drift and tiny electronic imperfections which makes it sound more alive. Each sample has been looped by hand without any additional processing, to preserve as much of the original flavor as reasonably possible. The waveform selection is focused mainly on different variations of saw, but it also includes other basic shapes, as well as some fancy waveforms you can generate in a modular by mangling the oscillator with rectifiers, ring modulators, inverters and the like, all in analog domain.
Sawmill includes nearly complete palette of what Kontakt has to offer in signal processing: full range of filter types, classic effects, different types of envelopes, LFOs with various shapes and frequency modulation.
Additionally there are several innovative functions. There is a sequenced modulator, which is a crossover between step sequencer and LFO - you can program a value pattern and shape it to LFO waveform. There are six patterns which can be combined and/or patched to different parameters, like pitch or filter cutoff. In fact, any parameter can be automated using MIDI CC. There is pitch glide function with adjustable acceleration curve. And then there is multi-arpeggiator, which is like having a stack of eight arpeggiators, which you can sequence or combine in different ways to create complex note patterns out of a simple chord.



It started from the supersaw, but it's not really just about supersaw. It can go way beyond it.

The instrument requires Kontakt 5.8.1 or newer (full version).
It it a 2GB download (unpacked samples take 2.75 GB, there are 2574 samples in wav format).
It is available at Kontakt Hub.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Kontakt multi-channel sequencer experiment

Common question about Cracklefield instrument is: Can I use it as a sequencer to play other instruments? It's tempting idea, Kontakt does output MIDI generated by loaded instruments, but the problem is, all messages are put on a single channel. As a workaround Cracklefield has MIDI recorder, so you can export it's output by MIDI clip drag'n'drop, but the clip has to be recorded beforehand and it's not quite as fun as live output.
I have been pondering this and came with somewhat convoluted solution, worthy of fairly confusing name. Kontakt has multiscript feature, you can run scripts on MIDI level before MIDI data is passed to individual patches. You can change MIDI channel for events with multiscript. So my idea was to prepare sequence data at sequencer instrument level, in a way which would include channel/cursor number. Send it to another instance of Kontakt, where it would be decoded to multichannel sequence on multiscript level. Lets' see how it works...


Maybe it's not very practical, but isn't that fun? You can make it work with Cracklefield 1.2 or Orchestra Enigmatica, both of which generate a kind of multi-channel sequence and include a function which prepares data for receiver/decoder multiscript. They convert notes to series of CC messages, which include note number, velocity and channel/sequence number and can be then interpreted by receiver multiscript.

If you'd like to try it, download the receiver multiscript here.

Mind you, this is experimental setup, not guaranteed to work for you. Also you may need a bit of advanced know-how with Kontakt and DAW configuration, for example, know how to connect one instance MIDI out to another instance MIDI in. Read included text file for more information. Have fun.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cracklefield update 1.2

I updated Cracklefield to 1.2, introducing introducing field animator, new function which can dynamically transform the whole sequencer field. The field can be scrolled, rotated or evolved using game of life family of cellular automata. Different transformation modes can be sequenced or combined for some extra generative fun.


Available at Kontakt Hub.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Orchestra Enigmatica

I released new Kontakt based instrument today. Orchestra Enigmatica is build around vintage orchestral analog synthesizer theme, a nod to times when emulating acoustic instruments with plain sawtooth wave was the thing. The base sounds come from Siel Orchestra (first version), 1979 Italian synthesizer, they are full of little quirks and imperfections, which makes them more alive. I tried to preserve their nature using long detailed samples. Sustained sounds are looped by hand without any crossfading, a task which proved to be quite challenging at times. Raw sounds can be combined and shaped in Kontakt, essentially this is more a synthesizer than a library.

In this instrument, I introduced multi-arp function, an advanced arpeggiator, which can populate up to eight patterns from a single chord. You can combine and transpose different arpeggio algorithms to create complex, evolving evolving dynamically, depending on notes being played.

Here's a sound demonstration video, where I play around with different patches:


And here's a small feature walkthough:




If you'd like to examine the details, please have a look at the manual:
http://www.fairlyconfusing.net/docs/orchestra_enigmatica.pdf

The instrument requires full version of Kontakt 5.6.6 or newer.
Unpacked files take nearly 2GB space, samples are in WAV format.
It comes with 56 snapshot presets.
The interface takes 1000x750 pixels of screen space (it is bigger than in standard Kontakt instruments).

It is now available at Kontakt Hub:
https://www.kontakthub.com/product/orchestra-enigmatica-kontakt/