Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Modulators Sound-Design Mixing Synths Tutorial

Exploring Bitwig Studio's Audio Rate Modulator for Versatile Sound Shaping

Tutorial | May 27, 2020

In this video, I showed how to use the audio rate modulator in Bitwig Studio to shape and modify synth sounds. Many people may find this technique intimidating, but it is actually easy and versatile. I started by creating an instrument track and adding the Phase 4 synthesizer. Then, I added an audio rate modulator to take the audio signal from the Phase 4 and loop it back into the modulator to shape the sound. I demonstrated how to use low cut and gain knobs to control the modulation signal and create interesting bass noises. Additionally, I showed how to use the audio rate modulator in a mixing context to bring together bass and drum sounds, and even as a distortion effect with a kick drum. Overall, this technique is simple, fun, and can produce unique and unpredictable results.

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Questions & Answers

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

1. What is the audio rate modulator in Bitwig Studio?

The audio rate modulator in Bitwig Studio is a modulation source that takes an audio signal from anywhere and uses it to shape the sound of an instrument. It creates a feedback loop of values that constantly modulates the sound. It can be used on an instrument track or an audio track with a sample loaded.

2. How does one use the audio rate modulator in Bitwig Studio?

To use the audio rate modulator in Bitwig Studio, one needs to add it to an instrument track and choose an input source. By default, it takes the audio signal from in front of the instrument track it is on. One can then use the modulation handle to choose which parameter to modulate on the instrument. The intensity of the modulation can be adjusted via the gain knob and the frequency of the modulation can be adjusted via the low cut knob.

3. In what contexts can the audio rate modulator be used?

The audio rate modulator can be used in various contexts, including creating pad sounds by feeding an instrument's output back into itself, influencing the sound of an instrument in a mixing context to bring it closer to other sounds, and as a distortion effect by using a kick drum to distort the bass sound. It is a versatile tool that can create a range of interesting sounds.

4. Is the audio rate modulator in Bitwig Studio difficult to use?

No, the audio rate modulator in Bitwig Studio is not difficult to use. It is a simple tool that can be used to add modulation to any parameter on an instrument track. By adjusting the gain and low cut knobs, one can control the intensity and frequency of the modulation. It is a fun and easy way to create interesting sounds in Bitwig Studio.


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] In my recent video I showed you how you can use the audio sidechain inside the grid and take some static noises from other tracks into the grid and shape your synth sounds with it.
[00:10.800] And in this video I want to show you something similar and it's about the audio rate modulator and I know a lot of people shy away from certain techniques inside BitwigStudio because they think it's too advanced or it's too complicated to set up and I want to show you that's not the case.
[00:27.000] It's pretty easy, you can use it everywhere and it's actually nice to create some beautiful sounds with it.
[00:36.000] So let's start the video and enjoy the ride.
[00:44.000] If you want to save some money on BitwigStudio and the upgrade plans and you want to support my channel and my content, then go to my web page,
[00:52.000] use the link to the Bitwigstore, use my code and save 10% on the regular price.
[00:59.000] So here we are in BitwigStudio 3.2 but this tutorial is possible I think in every version after 2.0 where the modulators are introduced.
[01:10.000] And we have one instrument track here and we create one instrument on it. It's called Phase 4 and I check my keyboard here.
[01:29.000] What we have to do now is to unfold here the modulator section and we add one audio rate modulator.
[01:40.000] And this audio rate modulator basically takes the audio signal from anywhere.
[01:46.000] If you don't choose your input and audio input, it takes the audio from in front of the Phase 4.
[01:52.000] So in fact you can use the Phase 4 instrument itself on an audio track where you have a sample loaded and then you can use this to influence the sound of the Phase 4 itself.
[02:04.000] But in our case here we have just an instrument track so there is now sound in front so we can choose an input.
[02:12.000] Also in this project we have only one track and it's the device itself so we can choose a different track.
[02:22.000] But if you want you can do this of course but in our case here we just want to use the output of the Phase 4 synthesizer itself.
[02:30.000] What this does basically is the sound generated by the Phase 4 is going back into the Phase 4 into the audio rate modulator here in front and then we use this to shape the sound and then the new shaped sound is going out and then going back into the audio rate modulator itself.
[02:50.000] So it creates a constant loop of values basically. It's not an audio feedback in a general sense it's more a feedback or a loop feedback loop from with values with modulation values if you want.
[03:06.000] So it does basically nothing but you can see we have here an audio input and we can change the audio input or the intensity of the audio input via the SNOP here which is just a gain knob for the audio source.
[03:23.000] And we can choose where we want to grab our audio from so we can choose the left channel or the right channel or the mid or the side channel here so we just use the stereo information of a sound but in our case we just go here for the mono signal.
[03:40.000] And by default and B polar signals we have positive and negative values here for the modulation source but you can use rectifying here so you only get positive values from 0 to 1 basically but in our case it's perfectly fine to have B polar signal so we just use this.
[04:03.000] We also can choose here a look cut for the audio source which is interesting because when you have a sound you have a lot of high frequencies you get a lot of random modulations which maybe leads to to heavily noise.
[04:21.000] Yeah noise influenced modulations so we can cut this out and just use maybe low frequencies so base frequencies which then leads to slow modulations this can be interesting too.
[04:36.000] So let's dial in a little bit of low cut so we don't have the high end too much in our modulation signal so we use the modulation handle and we can choose to modulate anything we want to influence the sound right and adjust dial in here to operator B I think that's the blue modulator and I want to influence the modulation amount of the B modulator on the R mod operator.
[05:04.000] So let's try this out.
[05:09.000] As you can see it's already modulating it's wobbling and that's basically our sound here we generated with the phase 4 used one itself.
[05:23.000] And the more we change the sound the more the modulation signal changes itself which then again changes the sound more drastically which leads to some kind of unpredictable results which can be interesting and also makes the sound more interesting.
[05:43.000] So you can see lower frequencies or lower sounds have more influence on the sound because we are using here the low cut.
[06:02.000] You can see you can already create interesting bass noises just by modulating one parameter basically.
[06:32.000] What's also interesting is when you have this low pass here active and you basically only using the low frequencies of the sound to modulate something when you play higher sounds the sound is perfectly clean but when you press some chords and you use lower frequencies too then the lower frequencies modulate higher frequencies also.
[07:02.000] So this basically leads to all kinds of unpredictable results and you can kind of control this pretty nicely with the gain knobs here and the low cut.
[07:26.000] And you can dial it just gently or you can full on go completely crazy.
[07:34.000] So let's dialing a reverb and delay to create some kind of pad sound.
[08:04.000] What we also can try is to add here an envelope to just dial in the audio rate modulator later in the sound itself so just go here to minus and then dial in the amounts slowly over time.
[08:34.000] So not only you can use it for pad sounds you can also use it in a mixing context.
[09:01.000] So for instance when you watch maybe some other YouTube tutorials on mixing a lot of producers use some kind of clue compression on on buses where they mix bass and drums together and the whole intention of this is basically to bring these two sounds closer together.
[09:19.000] So they use the same compression on multiple sounds. So in our case in a bit of a studio can use the audio rate modulator to basically the same or help with this intention basically.
[09:34.000] So we have your bass sound and a drum sound or drum loop and this is how they sound. And to bring them closer together you basically simulate some kind of stage environment where you microphone your drum set and then you have a bass guitar and everything goes through one speaker.
[10:01.000] So when everything goes through one speaker then of course everything influences each other. So here we use just the audio rate modulator and get our source sound from the drum bus.
[10:19.000] And then we just yeah modulate some stuff on the bass sound itself.
[10:34.000] And you can hear if you use extreme values or extreme gain values here for the audio rate modulator
[11:02.000] you can kind of fade some distortion effect without blowing up the gain. So this can be used in multiple intentions in mind.
[11:17.000] In my case you use some extreme values you can hear the effect but you can use it more supple on yeah just bring in some kind of yeah modulations to influence drums what the bass sound with the drum sounds.
[11:37.000] So as we just saw the audio rate modulator is actually pretty versatile. You can use it on pad sounds to feed the output of one's back to itself.
[11:47.000] Create some build ups with the values and with the modulations and you can use it in a mixing context where you just influence the bass sound with the drum sounds to bring them closer together.
[12:01.000] And then you can maybe use it as a distortion effect where you use a kick drum and distort the bass sound with the kick drum something like this so there are a lot of possibilities.
[12:11.000] And as we just saw it's not that complicated it's just one modulator you have every parameter at hand so give it a try don't fear it it's pretty easy it's fun and get a lot of nice sounds out of it.
[12:28.000] So thanks for watching this video I feel gave you some inspiration for the next time in Bitwig Studio try it out giving some feedback.
[12:37.000] If you have questions of course drop it in the comments I will answer everything so subscribe to the channel give the video a like if you want.
[12:46.000] And maybe think about the subscription over on Patreon and if you want to buy Bitwig Studio use my code down in the description so it's win-win situation.
[12:57.000] So thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video. Bye.