MicrowaveXT/II Vocal Sound Workshop
Part 2

Originally published at:

Author: Snyxol (Alexander Eslava)
English translation: vanHouten (Fabian Logemann)
Final English proof: Carbon111 (James Maier)

"How to make your MWII/XT sing, moan or belch..."

Some sound patches described within this text are available for download at the bottom of this page.

2) Pseudo comb-filter

...we pick up the track of part one at "Alexander’s Choir", but without the applied wavetable-modulation via keytrack. One can „morph“ the formants of the wavetable by not detuning the oscillators. This way their phases will stay in a constant position and Osc2 will act as a very short delay of Osc1. Thus depending on the phase-shifting some of the upper harmonics are dampend more than others or even vanish completely. This effect is similar to a positive comb-filter. The frequency-response of our low budget comb-filter will look like this:

(Whereas „H“ is the transmission function,  (omega) is the cycle-frequency

 And      is a constant value derived from complex mathematics.)
But don’t be intimidated by the mathematics ,because that’s not the reason why we're here.

As can be seen in the plot, there are equidistant gaps noched into the spectrum, which get narrower according to the amount of delay. The spectrum gets "combed", creating new formants.

Let’s go to work then, fixing the phase-length of the oscillators. By activating "sync", we would force the phase-shift to zero.....so we avoid doing this!!
If the arpeggiatior is active, switch on poly-mode as well! The reason is that the arpeggiator or even playing legato in mono mode and normal/dual assign lets the oscillators run freely and thus out of phase. This would hinder us from starting the phases with the note-on-event. To keep the sound fat enough, we choose dual assign & detune=15-30 while engaging both chorus effects, just like we did last time.
                                  -> osc1+2: detune=0 ;
                                      mixer: wave 1+2 = 63
                                      wave1: phase=003°

...then playing around with the phase of wave2, we can hear the change in the sound as it is altered by our "low-budget-comb".
Example: if  wave2 phase = 183°, all odd harmonics are swept away.

3) ringmod, waveshaping

a) expl. 1: HyperSweetVox1

WT: 12 (WinsSyn)
Wave1: 0

This wave sounds oboe-like, hardly a voice. We can change that by ringmodulating it with a square-wave:

Wave2: square
Mixer: ringmod=127, all others zero

Set the tuning of the two oscillators to an equal value. Detuning of the oscs would create strange, rough distortion. The ringmodulated signal only sounds smooth and voicelike with a square, if the oscillators are humming in certain phases:

Wave1/2: startphase= 003°
Wave2: startphase= 93°

For fattening the sound, one can use UnisonoAssign or use the methods of the first part of this workshop.
For a filter, let’s use the Sin(x)->LP: CutOff= 127 , so nothing will be filtered at all but distorted instead. The Sinus-shaper is a kind of an overdrive which is positioned after the mixer and before the 12dB-LP-filter; If the mixer-output-signal stays beneath 64 (half the maximum), the shaper provides a smooth saturation; as the mixer-signal increases beyond this threshold, the wave peaks will no longer be flattened, but inverted: e.g. a sawtooth-wave will be morphed to a sine-wave. The spectrum of this distorted signal depends mainly on the input-signal-level.

The higher thte ringmod-amount, the more "smokey" and "wooden" the sound of the voice. At lower levels (<63) the distortion is hard to recognize, but is a usefull little gimmick for recording as the volume of the sound is increased, unlike with the 24dB-filters.
You can modulate the ringmod amount through key-velocity for example:

Mixer: Ringmod= 36
ModMatrix: Mod1: velocityàRingmod  amount=+63

Feel free to use e.g. a triangle for wave2 and sweep through the startphases. Rising from 3° to 93° the result reaches from muffled to bright and misty.

b) example2: ResoVox1

trigger2menu: mode=poly
Assign= dual
(Send-)Chorus= on
FX: Pan-Delay= 1/8 [80]; 53; 90:37
WT: 25 (ResoHarms)
Wave1: startwave=30
Wave2: startwave=30

We will sweep through the startwave-positions via the Lfo’s with a triangle shape. For more agility, let the LFO-phases of the two voices (DualAssign) drift out of sync with each other. Which means e.g. LFO1 to be assigned to two different phases within the both voices. And due to the voices being spread with stereo-panning, wave1 will play a different wave on the right speaker than it does on the left side.
To get this effect, LFO1/2Sync has to be switched off while Humanize= ~40.

ModMatrix:  LFO1 -> Wave1Pos; amount=+55
                     LFO2 -> Wave2Pos; amount=+55
                     LFO1: Speed=29; startphase=3°
                     LFO2: Speed=40; startphase=107° (as you wish, try...)
Tuning: both oscs equal, all parameters set to zero

                    Filter1: 24/12dB-LP or even no filtering activity at all
                   Filter2: HP; +55; +50%...to dampen the heavy bass-section.

...use the ModWheel as a cross fader to shift between RingMod and Wave1+2:

Mixer:  Wave1/2= 63
  RingMod= zero

ModMatrix: ModWheel -> RingMod; amount= +63
                    ModWheel -> Wave1Mix; amount= -56
                   ModWheel -> Wave2Mix; amount= -56

that's all for now, folks!
Have a nice day and `till next time
Examples for download: http://www.amazona.de/waldorf/Vocal.zip