Quick & Easy Series: How to Use Key Tracking in NI Massive
What the Heck is KTr?! Good question, and one I get all the time. KTr stands for Key Tracking.
[aside title=”Tips & Tricks!“] Sometimes it’s the little programming tricks that makes all the difference![/aside]
This installment of the NI Massive Quick & Easy Series will hopefully help to demystify one very cool feature of NI Massive that many people are simply baffled by, intimidated by or perhaps are even unaware of. AND we will show that you do not need to be using a midi controller of any kind to take advantage of it, which is a common misconception in many circles.
Simply put, key tracking allows you to automate the modulation of certain parameters in relation to the notes being played. So if you were to control an LFO through key tracking, by default the lower the note the slower the rate of modulation and the higher the note played, the quicker the rate of modulation. Massive also gives you the ability to change how key tracking behaves, but for this quick tutorial, we will stick to the basics so you can begin playing around with it right away, without introducing too much confusion.
[supertagline] Sometimes you just need to experiment a bit to really get things going in a song.[/supertagline]
Let’s start by choosing something we want to control through key tracking? For this example I have decided to go with an LFO, as I feel it is the easiest to understand for most people already familiar with Massive and how it works. All you need to do is drag n’ drop the KTr icon onto the empty slot below the Rate knob on the 5 LFO tab. Set a starting point (maybe no too low) and then set the end point to max (for ultimate effect).
Now we need to assign our LFO to something. I went ahead and set up OSC 1 with the A.I. wavetable (because it gets overlooked a lot) and assigned our LFO to the Pitch control. You can already here the effect when you begin playing notes. It’s really that easy to set up! Check out the audio sample below the image.
[audio:https://www.massivesynth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/KTr-Example-1.mp3|titles=KTr Example 1]
You can also control parameters directly with the KTr feature, rather than going through a controller like an LFO. For instance, we can add it to modulate the Wt-Position of OSC 1. As you will hear in the audio sample below, it has begun to automate the parameter right alongside the Pitch modulation that the LFO is controlling.
[audio:https://www.massivesynth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/KTr-Example-2.mp3|titles=KTr Example 2]
Take things one step further and you quickly see just how cool this feature can be for adding a little more character to your projects. Let’s set up a couple Filters, in a Serial fashion. I selected Daft for Filter 1 and Comb for Filter 2. I then assigned our LFO to Cutoff and Pitch, respectively. A small adjustment to the Resonance and Feedback knobs and we have a totally different effect than if we chose to automate these parameters any other way. You can hear it in action in the audio example below.
[audio:https://www.massivesynth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/KTr-Example-3.mp3|titles=KTr Example 3]
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this lesson, we will not be getting into the more advanced options of key tracking in Massive, but if you want to poke around a bit, you can check out the KTR FLT tab and do some experimenting. As always, I am available for questions on this and any other audio production relating to NI Massive and just about any other program. So if you have one (or a ton) drop me a line or leave a comment below.