I’ll show you a few of my favorite techniques to get your synths to be more expressive on analog synths like the Mopho or plugins.
I have been playing a lot of keyboard again and wanted some super expressive leads and basses. Luckily my Mopho SE has tons of modulation flexibility.
- Not only can velocity affect the VCA Envelope amount which affects overall volume, but you can also assign it to change the attack time. I like to set lower velocity notes to have a slightly slower attack. I also assign higher velocities to take my sustain down just a bit,making the initial attack transient appear louder in relation to the sustained note. The whole note is still louder than lower velocity note because velocity is affecting the VCA Envelope amount. This example has velocity affecting attack, sustain and envelope amount.
- This example is similar to the first, but I reduced the intensity that the velocity affects VCA Envelope amount, so that low velocity and high velocity notes have about the same apparent volume. Velocity has also been routed to release to allow low velocity notes to have a more “pad” type sound, while high velocity notes gives you a quick attack and release as well as the quick transient spike from the previous example. This allows me to have two distinct “voices” for a patch when I play quiet or loud.
- Assign aftertouch to control your vibrato. The Mopho vibrato is not default, so you must set up an LFO to affect pitch with a default amount of 0%. Then assign Aftertouch to the intensity of that LFO.
- Aftertouch can also be routed to the Filter frequency so that as you “dig in” a little more the filter opens up.
- The Mopho has an auxiliary envelope that can be routed to the noise volume. This can give you a nice little noise “chiff” at the start of higher velocity notes. By routing velocity to the envelope amount you get a “chiff” that happens on louder notes. You could also set velocity to effect the decay time of this envelope and instead have a very quick “chiff” for low velocities and a longer “chiff” for higher velocities.
- This is similar to the previous example, but instead of a “chiff” you can set the auxiliary envelope to affect depth of an LFO which is affecting the Oscillator pitch. This has the effect of adding a quick pitch warble at the beginning of the note. If velocity is affecting this envelope then the warble amount gets more intense with higher velocities, but just like the noise example above, you could choose to have velocity also affect the decay time, which would make higher velocity notes have a longer warble.
This is just a handful of techniques that can be used to get more expressive synth patches. If there is anything specific you are wondering about, please contact me.