Posts categorized "Tutorial" Feed

Tutorial: U-HE ACE Analog FM Synthesis Using Cross Modulation and ADSR 2

There are many ways to achieve Frequency Modulation (FM) in ACE. The "Cross" knob adds "cross modulation" which is equivalent to analog FM. This knob can be a bit confusing because if you turn up the knob after initializing a patch you'll hear no effect. This is because the knob controls how much VCO1 modulates VCO2 and when you initialize a preset the "VCO Mix" knob is set so you only hear Oscillator 1. So always remember to to turn op the "VCO Mix" knob so you can hear the effects of the "Cross" knob setting.

Example – Using “adsr 2” Envelope to Modulate “Cross”

Of course things get much more interesting when you modulate "Cross". In this example let’s use modulate "Cross" with the "adsr 2" envelope.

  1. Turn "vco mix" so it at 12 o'clock so you'll hear a mix of VCO1 and VCO2
  2. Tweak "adsr 2" to give it a log attack and release. Add more time to the release stage of "adsr 1" which will allow you to hear the FM modulation change after key release.
  3. Patch output of "adsr 2" to the "Cross" input. Turn up the gain of "Cross".
  4. The patch will be a little hot volume wise so use "volume" knob to cut the overall volume of the patch

Experiment with tweaking #3 "cross", #1 "vco mix" to adjust to your taste. Also try turning "vco mix" all the way up so you only hear "vco2" then change the pitch of "vco1" to hear how adjusting "vco 1"'s frequency changes the harmonics.

Here is an audio example of what this preset sounds like

Happy patching,

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

Absynth Tutorial: Modulating Filter Frequency with Keyboard Scaling

Happy New Year! My resolution last year was to go deeper with fewer synths. It’s one of the few resolutions I managed to keep – lol.

Absynth is one of the synths I focused on in 2012. While it was my first virtual instrument (started using it back in 2002 when I started migrating to computer-based music), some elements remained a mystery to me. After a year spent writing presets to use features I’d not touched, reading and re-reading the manual, watching tutorials,  and forcing myself to use it it for for single-patch projects (Tracks 3 & 4 on my last album, and for this soundscape) Absynth has now become my go to “axe” for programming from INIT. Even after all these years it’s simply an amazing synth.

With all that said, I thought I should kickoff 2013 by sharing an Absynth tutorial to help you discover some of the interesting features of Absynth.

Goal: Change the brightness of a sound so the sound gets less bright as you play higher on the keyboard.

Step 1: Add a master low pass filter to a patch.


Step 2: Select Performance>Note>Param and select “Filter Freq Master”.


Step 3: Use your mouse to draw a curve. You'll notice you can use your mouse to get feedback and key and scaling value. Now if you play a a note you'll hear the sound gets less bright towards the higher end of the keyboard.


Tip: If you want to be even more accurate, you can do per note scaling. Click the keyboard button, then play a note on your MIDI controller (or use the keyboard at the bottom of Absynth. While you can now set the precise modulation value for that note.


Note, the following parameter groups can be modulated by keyboard note values.


Happy modulating,

Mark Mosher

Tutorial: How To MIDI Sync Your Tenori-On with Ableton Live

In this post I offer some tips on setting up the Tenori-On for use with Ableton Live as a Synth Rack. I’ll also cover how to compensate for MIDI Timing Issues.

When I use the Tenori-On with Ableton Live, I don’t use it’s internal synthesizer engine. Instead, I route MIDI output from Tenori-On layers to corresponding virtual instruments hosted out of Live.

  • To mute the Synth Engine in the Tenori-On use menu Preference Menu->Local Control and set the parameter to “OFF”
  • To configure Tenori-On as a MIDI Slave use menu Preference Menu->Syncrhonize and set the parameter to “SLAVE”
  • I then send MIDI to Ableton LIVE via a the MIDI ports on my Novation nio 2|4 Sound card. Any MIDI port that Ableton Live can see will do. The nio is configured to receive MIDI input, output and sync. image

Each of the 16 layers within the Tenori-On transmit on a different MIDI channel.



In Live, I configure corresponding MIDI tracks for each layer on the Tenori-On I want to receive MIDI data from. In the example on the left, you can see that I’ve created three tracks within Ableton Live with and instance of Gladiator, and two instances of Alchemy. Note that the MIDI from is set to the nio 2|4 and a specific MIDI channel is used for each device to isolate MIDI note data for each track.

Don’t forget, you could also use Instrument Racks, Sampler, or drum racks to map multiple samples and/or instruments to Tenori-On notes.

Continue reading "Tutorial: How To MIDI Sync Your Tenori-On with Ableton Live" »

Image Line Drumaxx Tutorial - Routing Pad Output to Separate Audio Tracks in Ableton Live


Drumaxx Released Name Your Price
Image Line has just released a new Percussion Modeling Instrument called Drumaxx made by Maxx Claster. Drumaxx includes 130 drumkits, 900 drum patches, 200 drum patterns. If you use Sawer, Sakura, Morphine, Poizone, or Toxic Biohazard instruments, then you are familiar with Maxx’s work.

Image Line is offering Drumaxx as a “name your price” download for limited until March 31st,2010 with a minimum price of $13 USD with $1 going to support Haiti earthquake victims. With a deal like this I thought it was a “no brainer” so I picked it up.

One of the coolest features is that each of the 16 physically modeled drums can be routed to individual tracks within your host so you can add additional effects. Below I’ll show you how to set this up on Ableton Live.

Routing Pad Output to Audio Tracks in Ableton Live
To illustrate how this works, I’ll show you how to route a snare to a second Audio Track.

1) Insert Drumaxx into a MIDI track in Live
2) Insert a second audio track in Ableton Live called “Snare”. We’ll route the Snare pad to this track.


3) Click the name of the instrument you want to route – in this case “Snare L”.

4) This pops up a menu that allows you to select bus routing. I selected “Bus 1”. Note you can also place multiple pads on to “Groups”.


5) In the audio track called “Snare”, you can now change the input routing so signal comes from Drumaxx on Bus1. Then select Monitor to “In” and you’ll hear just the snare coming from Drumaxx. Now that you’ve isolated this pad on the Snare audio track, you can add native Ableton Live FX and VST FX to this track.



Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer

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FAW Circle Synthesizer Tip: 1.0.2 Update and How To Reduce CPU Load


Future Audio Workshop has released the 1.0.2 update to their fantastic Circle Software Synthesizer. You can download it here. According to FAW:

In this update we have included a CPU economy mode in the setting pane. This allows Circle to use less CPU for a minimal reduction in audio quality.

Behind the scenes, there have been some updates to the OSC messaging and a bug related to the mouth filter clicking during modulation has also be fixed.

The CPU economy mode is off by default. To enable it, click the "Settings" tab at the bottom, then click the "CPU econ. mode" switch to set it ton "on" as shown in the image above. Note, don't set the mode till after you've selected the patch you want to use as changing to another patch seems to turn the setting off.

Another way to reduce CPU load is to freeze tracks in your DAW host software so that the clip in question is rendered to the hard disc prior to playback. Note not all DAW's support this but off the top of my head Ableton Live, Sonar, Cubase, and Logic do.

Mark Mosher

Ableton Live Tutorial: How to Use an External Audio Editor to Tweak Samples Within a Clip

In this tutorial I'm going to show you how to configure an external audio editor within Live, then invoke this editor to tweak audio within a clip.  In this case I'll be using the external audio editor to a normalize the audio within a clip, but you can use the audio editor to make any edits you wish. This tutorial assumes you have some sort of audio editor application already installed on your system.

First you need to configure Live to specify the external audio editor you who want to use.  To do this, use the "Options-> Preferences..." menu, then click the "File Folder" tab. Click the "Browse" button in the Sample Editor section. You can now browse your system for the executable of the audio editor you want to use.  In the case of this example, I've selected Sound Forge.  Close the preferences dialog box.  The editor is now configured for use within Live.


Now, double-click on an audio clip you want to edit.  To invoke the editor, right-click the waveform in the "Sample Display/Note Editor" window then select the "Manage Sample File" menu option. 


This causes the select "Replace Sample Files" window to open.  Click the "Edit" button for the sample you want to edit. 


This launches the external audio editor and loads the sample into the editor.  Note that this also takes the sample off-line within Live. 


You are now free to perform any edits you wish -- and in this case I used Sound Forge to normalize the audio.  Once you're done editing the audio save it using the appropriate commands from within the external audio editor.

Now return to Live (you can leave the audio editor open if you like). You'll notice that in the "Replace Files Window", the "Edit" button is illuminated for the sample you've been working on. Click the "Edit" button to reload the sample into Live and bring it back online.


As you can see from the waveform display below, the sample has been normalized and has a much higher amplitude.


Happy external audio editor tweaking!

Copyright 2007, Mark Mosher