Okay, an embarassing question or two

  • Okay, I've had my TI2 for a few years now. I've always been intimidated by sound design, so I've always been a preset guy, but in the last few years, I've also gotten much more serious about my music, so I need to really learn how to use these things.


    Last night, I spent a lot of time going through my presets and looking at the settings, trying to figure out what makes what sound the way it does. Informative, at times, but also confusing, at times.

    I do understand the basics of subtractive synthesis, but it starts getting tricky for me once I get out of anything simplistic. I've been able to have some luck with some simple sounds on my Moog Sub 37, but once it gets into anything complex, I get lost.


    So, two questions.


    The first is Virus specific, I looked at the manuals, and couldn't figure this out. To do the most basic thing... have a sine LFO sweep my cutoff filter.... do I need to use the matrix for that? I went through the LFO settings, couldn't see something straightforward... it's so easy to do this on my Moog. What am I missing?


    Second.... what I don't understand is, when making complex sounds, is it a lot of trial and error, or do you all actually know the results of these complex formulas? When I see something like a complicated matrix, having LFO 1 adjust LFO 2 to adjust the PWM, etc (or any number of things like that), do you know exactly what that sounds like, before you do it? It's what I've always wondered about modular folks, how they know what the 5 billion possible combinations will do. Like, when you hear a complex sound in your head, how do you know that you have to do three complicated routings to get it?

    I know this may sound ridiculous, but not knowing these things is really starting to drag on my creativity, and I just need to know how you figure out how the complex stuff is going to sound, with so many permutations possible.

  • 1. If using the VC plugin, there‘s two knobs in the LFO 2 section which apply LOF 2 to Filter 1 and Filter 2. Something similar should be available on the hardware but I don’t remember right now.


    2. Most of the time I don’t know exactly how to achieve complex sounds and I certainly didn’t know when I started out 3 years ago. But I learned so much about sound design and the Virus, watching sound design tutorials for days and weeks, and trying to roll my own, that I start with a good idea of what I want to achieve and what I could try to get there. Also, if I don’t get the desired results, I know of other techniques to try.


    Sometimes you get lucky. But most of the time, It’s a process. And a long one. All you can do is enjoy the journey. Look at sound design as an interesting and enjoyable journey, which sometimes brings you to places you wouldn’t have expected, but great ones nonetheless.


    And most important: Don‘t despair and don‘t try to replicate someone elses sound design (a rabbit hole, I‘ve been in).

    Bass Player and Synthesist.
    Virus TI2 Darkstar | Virus TI2 Desktop | Moog Sub 37 | Blofeld | Machinedrum | Monomachine | Analog Four | Digitone | MPC Live | NI Maschine
    Mac OS X 10.14.6 (Mojave) | Cubase Pro 10.5 | Ableton Live 9.6 | Logic 10.4 | MainStage 3.4 | NI Komplete 12 | RME Fireface UFX+

    Edited once, last by oliAtBass ().

  • All very valuable advice, thank you. I'm trying to see if I can do most of this with the hardware, mostly because I find the VC somewhat unreliable, my eyes can't always read the small fonts, and considering it does, by all accounts, seem that Access has more or less given up on updating VC to something that looks like it was designed in the last five years, I want to not have to rely on it, as I can easily envision it not working in some future Windows update. I really wish they'd release some code, as I suspect there's a bunch of people who would design a standalone editor that is extensive, efficient and contemporary. The alternatives I've checked out, thus far, don't really cut it for me.


    I do need to just dive in and learn more about sound design... between gigging, playing and practicing bass and synth, and composing, it's hard to squeeze it in, but I need to.

  • I think with learning any craft nothing beats spending time and experimenting.


    Easiest thing to experiment and learn a lot of functionality is just to have one dry sawtooth oscillator (init patch) and then start manipulating it. I heartily recommend doing this at the same time as looking at the waveform on an oscilloscope, it effectively let's you SEE sound, and therefore what you hear is reinforced by what you see.


    You are correct in the modulation matrix being required to modulate cutoff with LFO. However the Virus' LFO 2 already has dedicated Cutoff1 and Cutoff2 destinations already set up for you to use, which is a short cut, and frees up a modulation matrix slot.