Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Sound-Design Synthesis Additive-Synthesis Granular Physical-Modeling

Creating Synthesis Methods in Bitwig Grid: A Comprehensive Tutorial on Oscillator Shapes and More.

Tutorial | May 11, 2020

In this video, I discuss different methods of synthesizing sounds inside the grid, including subtractive synthesis, additive synthesis, frequency modulation, physical modeling, and granular synthesis. I provide detailed tutorials on how to create your own oscillator and change the waveform over time using modules like steps, phaser, and value. I also demonstrate how to create an additive synthesizer by adding multiple sine waves with different frequencies and how to use a filter to modify the sound. Additionally, I show how to use granular synthesis and a resonator to create interesting sounds. Overall, the goal is to encourage viewers to create sounds for their projects rather than focusing on designing instruments. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, and don't forget to subscribe, like, and support the channel if you enjoy the content.

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Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:


1. What are the different synthesis methods available in the Bitwig grid?

The different synthesis methods available in the Bitwig grid include subtractive synthesis, additive synthesis, frequency modulation, phase modulation, physical modeling, and granular synthesis. These methods can help to create different oscillator shapes or sounds that can be used as the basis for a track.

2. How can you create your own oscillator using the Bitwig grid?

To create your own oscillator using the Bitwig grid, you can start with a waveform generator or oscillator module and then use different methods to modify the waveform or create new oscillator shapes. One example of this is using a step module to draw in a waveform shape and then using a phaser module to scan through the waveform. Alternatively, you can use a value module, merge module, and phaser to create your own step module, where you can more easily modify the waveform shape using modulators. For additive synthesis, you can use sign partials harmonics and mix them together to create a new waveform.

3. What is physical modeling and how can it be achieved using the Bitwig grid?

Physical modeling is a synthesis method that aims to recreate the sound of physical instruments, such as guitars or pianos. To achieve physical modeling using the Bitwig grid, you can use a noise generator, ADSR envelope, and a comp filter with high resonance. By opening the filter with the keyboard input, you can create metallic string-like sounds.

4. How can granular synthesis be achieved using the Bitwig grid?

To achieve granular synthesis using the Bitwig grid, you can use a sampler module in texture mode with the freeze option on. By changing the grain size and motion parameters, you can create granular sounds that can be used as an oscillator shape. A filter with high resonance can also be applied to modify the sound.


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00.000] So I'm back from the grave and I thought maybe it's time for another
[00:03.540] crit tutorial to explain how you create some of the usual synthesis methods inside the grid.
[00:12.280] Maybe how to create your own oscillator and explain everything along the way.
[00:18.080] So let's start.
[00:23.840] Use my code polarity in the shop to save 10% on the price and support my channel.
[00:29.840] So this is basically the simplest form of yeah subtractive synthesis and it works quite well.
[00:40.080] So you can exchange your oscillator or the waveform generator to something else, pulse,
[00:47.880] sawtooth, triangle, phase 1 or swarm or something like this.
[00:53.720] And then of course you can change the knobs here to change the waveform.
[00:57.600] But there are other methods to create waveforms or wave tables or how you want to call them.
[01:04.360] So when we remove here this swarm actually we can implement something like the steps
[01:12.700] module here.
[01:13.700] And that's something I showed you I think in some of my last videos, you can highlight
[01:18.920] here the module itself, go to the left pane, click to bipolar, which changes the values
[01:25.280] here to actually negative and positive values, so you can dial in both of these types.
[01:32.600] And then we change here to interpolation mode, so we have some kind of interpolation happening.
[01:38.720] And then we hook this up to the ADSR and use this as an oscillator.
[01:43.400] And you can see here the line is scanning through the waveform oscillator shape pretty
[01:49.600] slowly because we are using the pre-cord here and the pre-cord is the phase signal of the
[01:55.920] transport from Bitwig Studio itself.
[01:58.240] So we have to deselect this, so it's now stopping.
[02:01.960] And now we have to use this input check here to drive the scan line.
[02:08.600] So we use the phasor module, which looks like this.
[02:13.840] And this produces basically the same signal as before, but this time we can change the
[02:18.800] speed or the frequency of the playback.
[02:21.600] So we hook this up.
[02:23.000] And also we have a pre-cord here, as you can see, there's a small keyboard icon.
[02:27.440] And now we can change the pitch of this phasor by using the notes.
[02:36.080] So our keyboard now decides how much or how fast the frequency the phasor is playing.
[02:40.880] And then we're getting this using the signal to drive here, the scan line through the
[02:46.160] step-smot and the step-smot then creates some kind of oscillator shape.
[02:51.920] So when we use here an oscilloscope, we can see we have a nice waveform generated by
[03:01.320] the step-smot.
[03:03.040] And you can draw in everything you want here.
[03:06.280] And you can also use here maybe more steps by raising the step-count here of the left side
[03:10.840] in the left side of the info pane and get more resolution, basically, to draw in shapes.
[03:23.960] But one problem is you can't change the shape on the fly.
[03:27.200] You have to draw it in.
[03:28.840] You can't use here, for instance, a random modulator, use the modulator handle and change
[03:35.760] some of the bars here and some of the shape parts here with the modulator.
[03:43.880] That's not possible.
[03:45.200] So we have to kind of remove this and build some kind of steps mod by ourselves.
[03:54.240] And you can do this by using a value module or at least two of them.
[04:02.880] And then we use a merge module, which looks like this.
[04:08.360] And we hook just here the inputs or the reconnectes to with the two inputs.
[04:14.960] And then we use the output of this as an oscillator.
[04:18.080] So let's go here to the oscilloscope so we can see what's happening.
[04:24.800] And now we can use the phaser to oscillate between these two inputs.
[04:29.640] And this also generates a waveform, as you can see here, this is a sawtooth.
[04:35.640] And of course, can reverse this and can kind of draw some shapes, right?
[04:43.680] So these are just two inputs and also rocking with pitch because of the phaser.
[04:53.800] Now we can use more inputs maybe for and just copy these two here.
[05:01.280] And now we have a much more complex waveform.
[05:05.920] But this time, as you can see here, we can change the waveform by changing the values.
[05:16.080] And as you might notice is that we not really have a waveform yet because we are only going
[05:23.160] from 0 to plus 1, so we have to make these values b polar to going from minus 1 to plus 1.
[05:30.560] To make this happen, we have to select your value module and go to the left info pane
[05:35.840] and select b polar.
[05:39.080] And this should do this for all modules at once.
[05:47.080] And now we can dial in values from minus 1 to plus 1.
[06:01.760] And now we can also just modulate these values again to change over time.
[06:10.760] So maybe let's go for this, use a random modulator, dial in here some values, maybe go for hertz,
[06:21.520] go for free and that's it.
[06:24.880] Maybe we use the macro so we can change the speed of multiple random modulators, so we
[06:30.320] go in here, go to zero modulators, okay.
[06:35.840] So now we have one random modulator.
[06:37.680] We can change the speed of the random modulator by this macro and we can use the output of
[06:42.680] this random modulator to modulate here one value, okay.
[06:49.120] Now we can duplicate this random modulator and modulate second value, duplicate this,
[06:55.920] modulate the third value, duplicate this and modulate the fourth value.
[07:03.120] Now we have four values here that generate a waveform and we can dial in here to random
[07:10.400] modulator amount to change the waveform over time as you can see here now.
[07:23.640] Maybe it's good to actually don't modulate the first and maybe the last value here.
[07:31.920] Because we need some positive and some negative values to actually have a nice sound.
[07:44.280] So as you can see the waveform is a bit edgy.
[07:48.760] We can change this by of course using a low pass here after the oscillator and we can
[07:54.960] make this a bit more round, round this up.
[08:20.680] And then you click the simple here on the phaser, this plus and minus, you actually generate
[08:26.760] two phaser signals, one for the left channel, one for the right channel and we can just
[08:37.800] attune them so we have some kind of stereo effect.
[08:51.480] Then we can use another random modulator here, dial in some settings, can use what you want.
[08:59.960] We use the people option and then we just modulate the pitch of set slightly.
[09:27.320] So now we created this, it's only monophonic.
[09:32.560] So we need more voices to change this, we click on the empty space here in the polygrid
[09:38.720] and go to the left side to voices and we just click and drag here and maybe choose 16 voices.
[09:48.040] And now we can play multiple keys at once.
[10:07.280] So this is a more advanced kind of poly synth where you can change the waveform over time
[10:15.640] with the random modulators, pretty easy to set up and easy to build yourself I think.
[10:23.760] So let's disconnect this here from the speaker output and we move this down and create
[10:29.520] another synth and this time we use additive synthesis and all we need is probably an ADSR
[10:38.000] to change the volume of course of our output, we hook this up here and then we need again
[10:45.360] a phaser which gives us pitch and phase signal and then we use something like, let's go
[10:54.960] here to phase, I think it's in data, okay, assign and let's use an oscilloscope where
[11:06.120] you can see what's happening.
[11:08.120] So the phaser actually gives us a phase signal which is kind of a start tooth or a ramp and
[11:17.480] when we use the signal go into the sign here, we get a sine wave out of it.
[11:24.880] So we can use the sign as an audio out and it's just a sine wave in the right pitch.
[11:37.280] But now we have some kind of benefits because we have a phase signal here, we can use all
[11:45.000] the phase tools here inside the phase category, right?
[11:51.440] For instance we can use reverse or format, we can hook this up here in front of the sign
[12:00.960] and we can change some of the stuff.
[12:03.280] So you can see the waveform changes here, let's disconnect to the phase signal or you
[12:16.480] can use mirror.
[12:20.760] So you can apply all these modules here in the phase category before the sign, before
[12:28.840] you convert it to a waveform actually and what you can also use is the scalar here which
[12:36.440] is interesting because the scalar we used before just for the rhythm to make some divisions
[12:41.960] of rhythms or multiples of rhythms, right?
[12:45.840] So you can maybe look here at this signal, at the phaser signal and we use the input here
[12:55.280] for the phaser and we go in here and maybe give this a different color, it's not happening.
[13:02.360] So you can go here with the second phase signal or the output of the scalar actually and
[13:07.960] double the frequency of the phaser.
[13:11.960] So what we can do now is we use the sign here again, use the scalar in front of the sign
[13:17.920] and now we can use a multiple of this of our initial fundamental of fundamental frequency.
[13:27.960] So give this another color.
[13:32.200] So the red line is basically our fundamental frequency and the second one here is the
[13:41.480] red, twice the frequency of our fundamental and now we have three times the frequency of
[13:47.440] our fundamental.
[13:51.400] Okay, so you can go all the way up.
[13:57.600] And if you start now to add these outputs together then you have some kind of additive synthesis
[14:07.800] because we have sign parcels in the harmonics or in multiple frequencies of the fundamental
[14:15.560] and we just add them together.
[14:17.760] So when I use now a mixer here, go into this one, maybe use another one.
[14:30.360] So now we have basically additive synthesizer.
[14:40.480] And this looks like this when I use the output.
[14:48.080] And you can change the waveform by mixing in or adding additional partial.
[15:04.880] And you can also use of course modulators below in the device.
[15:10.320] So if you use the ADS area, you can now bring in all these partial at different times.
[15:20.440] We use also the delay, pre-delay and duplicate this and bring this in maybe.
[15:50.400] So we use ADS R to bring in the sign parcels at different times.
[15:56.400] And with this we change the waveform and the waveform changes of course the result or
[16:03.800] the audio output.
[16:21.040] And you can use many many more sign parcels here if you want and just mix them in.
[16:28.440] And there are limitations because the mixer I think creates only up to 6 inputs or so.
[16:35.920] So you have to create some block around, use multiple mixers and so on.
[16:48.120] Maybe use a random modulator here to bring in the last partial at random points in time.
[16:58.360] So this way you can create basically your own additive synthesizer with different algorithms
[17:16.800] or different ideas.
[17:20.200] You don't have to construct a big additive synthesizer to make everything happen.
[17:25.360] You can just use the grid and make it for your track.
[17:29.400] As you can see it's a pretty easy patch.
[17:31.320] You can patch this in maybe 20 or 30 seconds or just use the preset.
[17:37.080] So it's pretty easy to do.
[17:38.560] It's an additive synthesizer now and it's easy to do in the grid.
[17:44.080] So let's move on to the frequency modulation.
[17:46.200] So I often sign also later on ADS R and then audio out.
[17:52.480] And then you want to frequency modulator first oscillator with the second one, you actually
[17:57.240] have to use the audio out of the second oscillator and hook it up to the frequency modulation
[18:03.480] input here.
[18:04.800] And then you can change the amount of the frequency modulation by the snop.
[18:12.960] So pretty easy.
[18:14.720] And phase modulation is roughly the same as linear frequency modulation and you probably
[18:20.040] want to use that.
[18:21.320] So just use the PM input here of the first oscillator.
[18:25.480] If you don't have oscillators and you use, for instance, samplers, that's a bit different.
[18:33.440] So let's use your sample, something like this.
[18:45.120] And you have a second sampler and you want now to frequency modulator first one.
[18:50.040] You have to use the modulator out, hook this to the audio out here.
[18:55.120] And then you modulate the speed knob because only this way you get linear frequency modulation
[19:04.600] because you actually change the phase of the playback of the first sampler.
[19:10.240] If you modulate your pitch knob that doesn't work because the pitch is not linear frequency
[19:19.280] wise, it's actually exponential.
[19:22.120] So it sounds pretty strange.
[19:28.080] It's still frequency modulation but it's not linear, it's actually exponential.
[19:33.040] So if you want to have linear or musical frequency modulation then just use your speed knob.
[19:40.320] Okay, so let's try physical modeling.
[19:49.000] And for that you probably need a noise generator, an AD or ADSR, it doesn't matter.
[19:59.160] Pretty short envelope time here.
[20:02.760] And we need a comp filter, at least if you want to use the coupler strong method.
[20:08.800] And then we need maybe another AD at the end.
[20:12.160] And then we just go to the output here.
[20:15.120] So all we do now is use basically a pretty high resonance value here.
[20:35.920] And because the filter here itself has key tracking at the module, we basically open
[20:42.400] the filter with the keyboard or with the node input.
[20:48.040] And because the comp filter is nothing more than just I think our past filters but synchronized
[20:54.080] to an actual pitch, we can use this to make some kind of string, strings or string plugs.
[21:22.600] I can hear it has some kind of metallic character.
[21:45.160] So this is some kind of easy physical modeling.
[22:04.400] Okay, let's try granular synthesis.
[22:07.680] And for that we also again need a sampler here, an ADSR, change the volume over time.
[22:17.640] And maybe some kind of sample, maybe you see our water sample.
[22:28.640] And now we switch the sampler to the texture mode here, where we can change the speed also
[22:33.240] to 0 and use the freeze mode, we can scan through the sample, change the grain size.
[23:00.520] And the motion here basically changes the play head a bit randomly I think.
[23:19.040] So there are some kind of small granular synthesis you can use as an oscillator or oscillator
[23:27.200] shape I think can combine this of course with different other methods.
[23:46.800] For instance you can use a filter, something with resonance here.
[23:56.160] Or click the frequency knob, so we are exactly at C3 and dial in a lot of resonance.
[24:26.160] So in this case basically the filter makes the music, what a sound.
[24:54.680] Yeah.
[25:01.760] So, granular synthesis and with the resonator,
[25:31.680] at the end, so it's also possible inside the grid pretty easily. Also, a method of creating an
[25:39.200] oscillator or an initial sound. So, that's it. I wanted to give a quick overview over all the
[25:45.360] possible synthesis methods, how you can create sounds, how you can create oscillator shapes, how
[25:51.840] you can change oscillator shapes over time. And as I said earlier, don't create instruments,
[25:58.960] create sounds for the moment, create a sound for your current project, and most of these methods are
[26:06.320] basically quickly integrated on the fly. As I just saw, you just need a bunch of modules
[26:12.000] and you're basically there. So, thanks for watching this video. If you have questions,
[26:16.640] please leave it in the comments, subscribe to the channel, leave a like if you like the video,
[26:20.640] and subscribe to Patreon if you want. And until next time, see you in the next video. Bye.