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Exploring Voice Stacks in Bitwig Studio III - Creating Unique Musical Textures

Tutorial | Aug 15, 2022

In this video, polarity explains how to use voice stacks to create interesting textures, melodies, and atmospheres in Bitwig Studio. The speaker demonstrates how to use a note grid, multiple MIDI channels, a polysynth, chorus, reverb, delay, and a note repeat to create a bass pattern. They also explain how to modulate the voice stack modulator with a random mod, pitch, transpose, and LFO classic to get different frequencies and textures in key.

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[00:00.000] Hey folks, welcome back to another video and today it's about voice stacks again, third
[00:06.040] video, but I find more and more interesting ways to actually use this.
[00:12.400] So this is basically what we built in the last video and if you want to know how I built
[00:18.720] this then just rewatch this video.
[00:21.240] Just to recap this here a bit shortly, we have a note grid also in voice stack mode
[00:26.680] creating basically chords, outputting here multiple notes just with the monophonic patch
[00:32.240] and also on different MIDI channels over the voice stack modulator.
[00:36.640] Then we're going in with the notes here into an instrument layer.
[00:41.280] The first layer is a polysynth, only grabbing channel 1, 2 and 3, playing a nice melody.
[00:48.080] Then we created here chorus, but voice stacking also a reverb and a delay and there's a delay
[00:54.360] too at the end here.
[00:56.200] And the second channel is basically only grabbing notes with the channel 5 and that's for the
[01:01.840] bass and to make the bass pattern a bit more interesting I used your note repeats and the
[01:06.680] latch and the quantize and the phase 4 just for the bass note.
[01:12.240] So let's go back here to the polysynth layer and go into the reverb.
[01:17.120] So this is the reverb we created and we have this here with voice stacking enabled, so
[01:22.240] 5 voice stacks, we have this FX grid patch 5 times running in parallel and I found it
[01:29.320] interesting to actually implement something like a bandpass or a frequency splitter into
[01:37.600] this to get more interesting sounds out of it.
[01:40.880] So first I thought maybe let's introduce here a bandpass and remove this and now we have
[01:49.320] basically 5 bandpass filters with the same frequency in parallel running.
[01:55.480] But we have this voice stack modulator here, so we can spread out the frequencies, so now
[02:03.080] each stack gets its own frequency, but it's kind of random.
[02:09.160] So I thought maybe it's better to bring this back here to a bandpass, also switch it here
[02:13.920] to a bandpass of course, and use notes.
[02:17.720] So let's use a pitch in and we are in D sharp minor in this track, so I go to D sharp here,
[02:24.240] then I'm using pitch quantize, dialing in the scale of D sharp minor and also using
[02:31.040] a transpose.
[02:34.640] So now we can modulate this basically here, spread out all the modulations to transpose
[02:42.440] here all the notes or yeah, all the stacks to different notes or to different frequencies.
[02:49.080] You can also check this here, you can see how spread out all the frequencies are maybe
[02:54.360] something like this.
[02:56.280] Okay, and then we can use this here to drive basically the pitch input of the SVF, turn
[03:02.640] this up and now we have on each stack a different frequency which is also always in the scale
[03:09.720] of D sharp minor.
[03:22.400] Then even pitch this up here one octave, so D sharp 4.
[03:31.040] So okay, we already can create some kind of shimmer effect or pitched up texture on top
[03:36.720] with this bandpass filter and the very resonant filter setting here, which is interesting.
[03:45.080] But now comes also the part of modulation you can not only use the voice stack modulator
[03:50.040] and modulator transpose which modulates the SVF and the bandpass filter, you can also
[03:55.200] modulate this voice stack modulator again.
[03:57.440] So we switch this here to manual and we have all these sliders and now there's no modulation
[04:03.040] applied from the voice stack because all these sliders are at zero.
[04:06.840] So what we can do is we can put in here a random mod, maybe use 16 notes, yeah, 8 notes
[04:16.120] or 16 notes, something like this.
[04:19.960] We also don't need the polyphonic mode here and we maybe want to sync this up, yeah, it
[04:25.480] should be fine.
[04:26.580] So now we need 5 of these and then we can modulate here these sliders.
[04:53.280] So we're now modulating basically the frequencies of all SVF filters in each stack differently,
[05:00.300] randomly and it's always in key because we use this pitch quantizer.
[05:17.180] So now we can modulate here the resonance to bring this in maybe with a step mod, just
[05:23.660] occasionally, maybe make this a bit slower and you get these nice shimmery textures,
[05:51.280] voices on top and all of these voices and textures are in key which makes it highly musical.
[06:11.400] And the interesting thing about all this is that you all build this for yourself in your
[06:16.600] own environment without using a VST so it's unique to you, you have only you have this
[06:23.760] reverb.
[06:26.260] It's basically, yeah, the key to your own sound and the more ideas you have to tweak
[06:35.000] these settings and to tweak things in the grid here and create your own effects, you
[06:40.320] make your sound more and more unique.
[06:49.820] So now that we have this here, we can probably also use this here and maybe create a new
[06:58.720] track and let's, yeah, let's use a Poly-Grid here.
[07:06.400] And maybe here we just fire up some, some notes or actually just use here maybe our
[07:26.240] note grid, just duplicate this, create some nice melody.
[07:32.740] So let's use here FX grid again and do the same trick of the SVF, you can of course use
[07:39.240] a different filter if you want to, you don't need to use that SVF, you can also use the
[07:42.800] XP if you want to.
[07:45.760] And let's do the same thing here.
[07:47.520] So we use a pitch, pitch, we use a trans pitch quantize here and we need to transpose these
[07:59.800] here and we modulate this, of course, we go here to the root note, we modulate the SVF,
[08:07.480] modulate this and we kind of can create with this and small little resonator bank, if
[08:14.640] you will.
[08:15.640] So maybe exchange this here for XP so we can use here and more narrow band.
[08:40.640] So you send something like this in a plebe and then you have the resonator bank already.
[08:52.800] Okay.
[08:53.800] So now we need to use your, of course, voice stacking to multiply this and the voice stack
[08:59.440] modulator zero to one and we just transpose this here up.
[09:07.880] Let's see how this sounds.
[09:19.480] It's almost like modal synthesis.
[09:31.200] So now comes idea again, we use here manual use random mods for this.
[09:39.400] We need only a monophonic mode, eight notes, maybe just duplicate this multiple times here
[09:50.800] and then modulate all that stuff and yeah, probably sounds kind of interesting.
[10:09.480] You probably also can exchange this here for noise sounds nice.
[10:32.000] We can also use probably if you want to have a predictable melody, you just exchange these
[10:36.920] random mods here for step mods and then use the randomized button on these ones.
[10:45.720] Let's use here LFO classic this time and modulate here the resonance.
[11:11.000] And positive X we can insert here, small delay.
[11:27.800] So it's already nice interesting effect and we don't even have a nice input sound.
[11:32.720] It's just a noise burst.
[11:46.440] And when we use here our reverb from the first track, maybe at the end here, which is also
[11:53.800] in tune.
[12:06.040] So maybe let's change this up here to maybe unipolar.
[12:12.520] So now we also modulate here with this voice tag in the negative range which transposes
[12:18.000] down.
[12:25.800] It's basically a melody or a nice atmosphere out of nothing, it's just there.
[12:55.640] Highly rhythmical, probably can combine this here with our first track.
[13:07.640] It's probably also nice to use this on drum loops here, let's actually try this at an
[13:19.880] instrument track here and maybe use an XO, fire up some drums, maybe I'll use here some
[13:30.440] presets just for the example.
[13:35.680] Big beats, sounds like this, let's put this on there, oh it's actually not what I want,
[13:54.120] with this one here, you can make nice atmospherics out of beats, and see how it sounds with different
[14:17.600] beat settings here, it's almost like a vocoder.
[14:33.640] So yeah, easy peasy making music with Bitwig Studio, so I think that's it, I want to show
[15:00.400] you this, that it's actually nice to experiment around with these voice tags and filters and
[15:07.480] all that stuff and just having stuff in parallel and also using voice tag modulators to transpose
[15:14.640] it around using pitch quantizers to target different frequencies or notes in the scale
[15:21.000] and it leads to all kinds of different musical results in no time.
[15:27.240] That's it for this video, thanks for watching, leave a like if you liked the video, dislike
[15:31.680] if you don't like it, subscribe to the channel, thanks for watching and I'll see you in the
[15:35.840] next video, bye.