Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Grid Formant Tutorial

Exploring Formant: Amplifying and Modifying Signals in Bitwig Studio

Tutorial | Oct 10, 2023

In today's video, I explain the Formant module in Bitwig Studio. The module amplifies the incoming signal around 0.5, allowing for modifications to waveforms. It can be used to create wobble bass sounds, shape waveforms, and add vocal qualities to signals.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

Questions & Answers

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

What is the purpose of the Formant module?

The Formant module in Bitwig Studio amplifies the incoming signal around 0.5, altering the shape of the waveform. It can be used to modify and shape face signals, creating different sound textures and overtones.

How do you apply the Formant module to a patch?

To apply the Formant module to a patch, you can use an input source, such as a phaser, and connect it before the module. By adjusting the settings of the Formant module, you can change the amplification of the face signal, resulting in different waveforms and sounds.

Why do you need the Formant module?

The Formant module is useful for creating wobble bass sounds, trumpet-like sounds, and vocal-like qualities in your patches. It provides a unique way to modify face signals and generate different waveforms, offering versatility and enhancing sound design possibilities.

How can the Formant module be used as an audio effect?

By converting an audio signal into the face range using the bi to uni conversion module, you can then apply the Formant module to modify the audio waveform. This can create a different sound texture, similar to a wave shaper or clipper, but with unique characteristics and overtones.


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.

[00:00:00] So in today's video it's about this module here called Formant. What does it do
[00:00:06] and why do you need it and how to apply it to your patch and you know all the
[00:00:11] surrounding questions of course. So the help of Bitwig Studio says here it
[00:00:16] amplifies the incoming signal around 0.5 and this module does exactly that. So
[00:00:23] this doesn't give you any information right? That's what does it mean. So we use
[00:00:28] a face in here and use an oscilloscope. Let's see, put this here into slow mode.
[00:00:38] This is how the ramp signal looks like here from the face in.
[00:00:45] Unchanged so nothing is no change is applied here with the format module.
[00:00:51] But when we turn this up you can see the shape of the ramp changes. Everything
[00:00:58] that's above 0.5 which is here the middle line between 0 and 1. It's 0.5 here.
[00:01:03] It gets amplified positively right? It's deeper and everything below 0.5 gets
[00:01:10] amplified negatively so or de-amplified however I want to call it. So you can kind
[00:01:16] of make the ramp steeper in a way right? If you pull this back here you can see we
[00:01:22] have the normal reversed ramp here playing from the face in. Also if you go
[00:01:29] here in the negative range we make the ramp kind of flat. So everything around
[00:01:36] 0.5 which is here gets de-amplified so the 1 is not going to 1 anymore and the
[00:01:42] 0 is not going down to 0 anymore. So you have a much much flatter face signal.
[00:01:49] So you can play around with this right and can kind of modify face signals.
[00:01:54] That's why it's a face module and that's why it's in the face category here on
[00:02:00] top right? So why do we need it? So the first use case is of course for the
[00:02:08] face signal. So let's say we have a sign oscillator here and use an ADSR and
[00:02:15] we use an output here and we want to use an oscilloscope to watch what the
[00:02:22] waveform does. We put this here into pitch mode. Maybe extend this here a bit.
[00:02:29] And then we want to use instead of the internal face generation here we use an
[00:02:36] external face input. So we switch this here to 0 right? So we need an input and
[00:02:42] as an input we use a phaser. And the phaser generates a face signal at the
[00:02:52] pitch we are using here with the keyboard. So we can go into that but we go
[00:02:56] before that into the format here. So this one just generates ramp signals but in
[00:03:03] the pitch of the key press or what's coming from the piano roll or whatever.
[00:03:08] We use also here the restart. We go into that and we use here 100% and if we
[00:03:16] play something on the keyboard you can see in here it's just a regular sign
[00:03:21] wave so everything is as before but here instead of using the
[00:03:27] internal face generation we use an external face generation and then we
[00:03:31] use between that and the sign we use a format to change the face signal.
[00:03:38] And because we are changing the face signal here with this format thing you
[00:03:50] can see the lookup module then recalls the values from the wavetable. Lookup
[00:03:57] module here differently so we get a different waveform in the end.
[00:04:02] And this module is probably nice on the sign module if you want to generate
[00:04:08] some trumpet sounds or some kind of vocal-ish vocal sounds.
[00:04:16] It has this kind of vocal quality to the sound if you use it here on the
[00:04:24] face signal so that's what I guess where the name comes from probably also
[00:04:31] because of the overtones you generate with that. Let's see here.
[00:04:51] So I guess the name comes from the formats you generate here with this but I
[00:04:56] don't know to be honest I have no idea. So this is one use case here you can do
[00:05:03] nice bass sounds with this nice wobble bass sounds.
[00:05:09] If you modulate this here with an LFO maybe let's go for a beat LFO.
[00:05:19] [Music]
[00:05:34] Another interesting part is that if you exchange the sign here for let's say
[00:05:43] a pulse and if you watch here the waveform right it's almost like pulse
[00:05:52] width modulation so you can change here the pulse width with this. It's the same
[00:05:59] effect as when you use here this knob.
[00:06:03] So in a way you do pulse width on the sign which doesn't have a knob for that.
[00:06:13] That's basically the same thing to the waveform.
[00:06:17] [Music]
[00:06:22] So let's try it here on a triangle how this sounds.
[00:06:25] [Music]
[00:06:36] And let's try here the saw.
[00:06:39] [Music]
[00:06:45] So yeah it's a nice way of creating some different sounds with the sign oscillator
[00:06:53] here with different oscillators that don't feature you know for instance
[00:06:57] pulse width modulation and so on. So for me it's nice for wobble basses
[00:07:02] because I'm doing drum bass you know I'm coming from drum bass so I'm
[00:07:06] interested in that. Another interesting way of using this is if you try and wrap
[00:07:16] the audio signal coming out of the sign into the phase range so here you can see
[00:07:22] the audio signal is always between minus one and plus one and this is a phase
[00:07:27] module and the phase module only acts in a range of zero and one right from here
[00:07:33] to here. So what we can do is we can use here from the level category we can use
[00:07:39] the bi to uni conversion right so you can see now here the audio signal goes
[00:07:44] from zero to one so it's the phase range so we can apply now here the format to
[00:07:50] that nothing really changes besides the color and then we can go back here to
[00:07:56] uni to bi and convert it back into the audio range right from minus one to plus
[00:08:03] one so now this is kind of an audio effect and when you use this here on
[00:08:08] that it does exactly the same thing it changes everything or amplifies everything
[00:08:15] between or at zero dot five but because we converted this here to a B signal
[00:08:26] bi signal right a signal that goes from minus one to plus one now the center is
[00:08:30] zero so everything above and zero gets now amplified in a certain way so we
[00:08:38] have almost like an wave shaper or clipper but it's kind of different from
[00:08:44] a clipper so when we use here the clip module on that and pull us down you can
[00:08:51] see we only just cut off everything here above a certain threshold like this but
[00:08:57] this kind of line here stays the same it's the same steepness but with the
[00:09:02] format here we can change the steepness of the signal right so it's kind of a
[00:09:08] different way of clipping the signal and the difference is it has a different
[00:09:16] sound to it
[00:09:18] [Music]
[00:09:39] it's a it has a different sounds different overtones so it depends on you
[00:09:44] know what you want to do but just so you have an idea how to use this module so
[00:09:49] this this is why I wanted to make this video and also someone in my discord
[00:09:53] asked the question what the fuck is this module why do we why do I need it what
[00:09:59] it is for right so this is the explanation more or less it amplifies
[00:10:05] incoming signal around zero dot five that's the explanation so like I said I
[00:10:10] used sometimes for making wobble bass sounds so if we create just some kind
[00:10:17] of bass sound here
[00:10:24] and then you can articulate this here
[00:10:31] [Music]
[00:10:39] and then maybe a bit of um bending here let's go 12
[00:10:49] [Music]
[00:11:03] that's better
[00:11:05] so yeah it's nice for wobble basses it's nice for trumpet sounds and you can
[00:11:12] maybe also use it here as a clipper and shape or wave shape the audio signal
[00:11:18] okay so that's it for this video thanks for watching leave a like if you like
[00:11:23] the video leave some questions in the comments below and maybe you have some
[00:11:27] other ideas how to use this module let me know thanks for watching and I see you
[00:11:31] in the next video bye