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Sound Design Tip: Precise Sync to Picture and Long Envelopes with Absynth Break Point Time Control


In addition to dragging the breakpoints of an envelope in Absynth, you can also enter precise time values for each break point. P. 116 of the manual explains the different types of time control.

Abs/BP Time control: Determines the Breakpoint’s position on the time axis. Enter the duration in seconds. Depending on the setting of the BP Time Toggle on its left, you can either enter the duration since the previous Breakpoint (Bp sec) or since the beginning of the Envelope (Abs sec).

Being able to type in your envelope times allows you to not only be precise, but also allows you to create extremely long envelopes much faster than dragging the break point with your mouse. This makes Absynth ideal for sync to picture work where you want to bake automation right into a patch.

Boulder Creek Ascent (Timelapse with Absynth Synthesizer Soundscape) from Mark Mosher on Vimeo.

I just used this technique in a short video I just put together called “Boulder Creek Ascent“. The video is of mountain bike ride up Boulder Creek Trail. It’s shot with GoPro and the first 30 seconds is a timelapse with a shutter speed of 5 seconds compressing a 40 minute ride to the creek down to 13 seconds. The second part of video at the creek is running in normal video mode.

The soundscape for first 13 seconds was produced entirely with the Absynth using only camera audio from the creek video footage in the latter half of the video. The screen shot above shows a view of some of the envelopes used.

For Oscillator A, I used granular synthesis to compress the 1:00 long ambient audio recording down to only 13 seconds. I also use a 13 second envelope segment to sweep the pitch of the sound up for the entire ascent.

For Oscillator B, I use the same sample in Sample mode so you hear some of the original water character. Oscillator C is a copy of B to thicken things up a bit.I also use an envelope to sweep the filter and added some LFO modulation to one of the envelope segments.

I use only the built-in Absynth Echoes effect with three echo lines with surround panning automation running. I also use LFO1 to modulate master panning.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician | Composer | Sound Designer | Performer
Boulder, CO