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Sound Design Tip: Add Variability and Slop with U-HE Diva Synthesizer Trimmers

diva-trimmers

This month I’ve been focusing on writing presets from scratch with Diva. While I’ve had Diva for a  while I’m just now getting around to doing some proper programming from INIT. Diva has a reputation for crushing your CPU so it’s worth mentioning that 1.1 release uses up to 40% less CPU. The 1.1.1 update adds Mountain Lion support and some other bug fixes so make sure you update

One of my favorite parts of Diva is the “Timmers” panel. (P. 29 of the Manual)

This panel is the most ‘esoteric’ part of Diva – from the user’s point of view at least. As well as detuning voices (individual and/or stacked), a variable degree of slop can be applied to cutoff frequency, envelope times, pulse width and glide times.

Using Trimmer to Detune Voices

So lets walk through a simple example to get you going with Trimmers. In this example we’ll use the trimmers to detune voices.

1 – Load the template preset INIT Minipoly

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2 – Got to the Trimmers panel and set voices to 2.

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3 - Now with ever note press, Diva will round-robin between voice 1 & 2. The corresponding LED will light so you know which voice is sounding.

4 – Now turn the VCO1 Trimmer knobs for “VCO Voice Detune” in opposite directions detuning both voices up and down from center.

5 – Start playing notes and you’’ll hear the voices detuning with ever other key press.

More Ideas

Now that you know the basics here are some more ideas to try.

  • Use more voices to add more variability
  • Try stacking voices
  • Use the “Voice Map Modulator” as a modulation source
  • Walk through the factory patches with the “Trimmers” panel open to learn how these sound designers took advantage of these features
  • ….

Wrap Up

As you can see using voice allocation as a modulator with these trimmers can add both predictable and unpredictable results (especially when playing polyphonically). So add this to Diva's fantastic analog modelling and you get a very organic synth that can sound very cranky and interesting.

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Mark Mosher
Synthesist, Composer, Performer
Boulder, CO
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

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