Understanding NI Absynth Oscillator Modes
The base of most of your sessions in Absynth will center around the oscillator modules, and to really get the most out of your ideas you need to understand exactly what the various NI Absynth oscillator modes are and how they function. This insightful lesson sheds some light on this topic and will help you along the path of mastering this incredibly deep synth.
It begins with looking at the default Single mode, where a waveform is played one time repeatedly. This is the most basic of the NI Absynth oscillator modes. In this mode, you can use the Voice parameter on the Uni tab to increase the number of voices used on any given oscillator, in addition to the tweaking you can do on the Main tab.
Next up in our exploration of NI Absynth oscillator modes is Double mode. This allows you to do all the same things that Single mode does, with the added bonus of introducing a second waveform in the same oscillator module. You simply need to click on the Mod tab to set it up. This tab gives you the same interface as the Main tab with the addition of the Balance parameter which allows you to crossfade between the two waveforms being used.
Although FM mode is skipped in this lesson it is a very powerful, yet somewhat complicated, option available to you. We have plans to share more about this mode in-depth in a future posts, but we will break it down on a basic level for you real quick. FM mode is based upon Frequency Modulation Synthesis and it allows you to control the frequency content of one waveform with another wave. Sound simple enough, but it gets complex pretty quickly and definitely deserves it’s own tutorial. RingMod is also skipped in this lesson, but it basically allows you to multiply two signals to via amplitude modulation or frequency mixing. This too deserves it own future lesson to fully understand. Remember that this tutorial is merely an introduction to the various NI Absynth oscillator modes to help you gain a basic understanding of what they are.
The next of the NI Absynth oscillator modes to be explained is the Fractalize mode. This is one of the more unique features that Absynth provides. It allows you to apply fractal theory to create new sounds by superimposing waveforms on themselves, thus changing the shape of the wave and the sound it generates. This approach quickly changes the way you see sound design and can lead to some very interesting new sounds full of harmonics.
You can also use Absynth as a sampler by running an oscillator module in Sample mode. You can either choose one of the sounds included in the factory content library or load one of your own sounds. Of the NI Absynth oscillator modes covered here, this is one that we will probably revisit most in future sessions. It unleashes nearly infinite possibilities for your sounds!
The last of the NI Absynth oscillator modes touched on in this lesson is Granular mode. Basically this mode allows you to play sounds in bits, or grains, rather than in their entirety. Pulling small parts of a sound out of the original waveform and playing them in a new order is the idea and it can lead to very cool new sounds or a chaotic mess. It is a mix of both art and science in this synthesis playground called Absynth. The random approach to this type of synthesis gives you the power to change things ever so slightly or completely with the click of your mouse.
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