Solo Trumpet Performance
In this tutorial, we're going to learn about several new units, and sample editing features. We'll use these things to:
- Play back recorded CV using the Card Player unit
- Create sustain on a short sample using features of the sample player edit tools
- Use the sample editing tools to edit our sample
- Use the Ladder LPF and velocity CV to create a more realistic performance
- Use a Custom Unit container to house the entire patch, and create a control to reset the performance as needed
This tutorial assumes you've gone through the prior tutorials on creating a subtractive synth, creating a drum rack, and re-sampling a complex single cycle waveform. We're going to assume you're getting more comfortable navigating the ER-301 and working with units, so the instructions will be a little less explicit, focusing more on new elements.
You will need to make one cable connection to get started. We'll use channel 1 for this:
- Patch OUT1 to your mixer or sound card.
For more information about which inputs are appropriate for various signal types, see Front Panel Inputs.
Download the Required Files
The following zip files contains five files:
- trumpet solo.wav - this is a recording of the finished product and will not be used in the tutorial. Use it as a point of comparison to determine if you've set everything up correctly.
- trumpet-cv-Gate.wav - this is a recorded gate sequence
- trumpet-cv-VOct.wav - this is a recorded pitch sequence
- trumpet-cv-Velo.wav - this is a recorded velocity sequence
- Trumpet C4.wav - this is a short trumpet sample
The trumpet-cv files were played on a keyboard, and the gate, pitch, and velocity voltages were recorded in real time using the ER-301's 6 track recorder.
Creating the Patch
(7) Press UP to return to the top of the chain. You can see a new custom trigger control called "reset" has been created. You can go assign the input to an external trigger/gate source at this time if you like. Or you can fire it manually by selecting the control and pressing S3 to "fire" it. We will wire this control up to actually do something in later steps. Let's also rename the custom unit to "trumpet". You'll find the rename option when you focus press the Custom Unit's header. Now press the M key under "open" to open the Custom Unit's subchain.
(8) A custom unit has no input. But we can build chains inside it which will be passed to the output. Insert a Variable Speed Player into this chain. Focus press it's header, select from card, and assign Trumpet C4.wav as it's sample. Next press the M to select the Variable Speed Player's gate control, and press S1 to enter it's subchain.
(9) Insert a Card Player unit into the subchain. The Card Player unit streams directly from the SD card. In can play back audio. In our case, we're going to use it to play back recorded CV to the gate control. You should hear a short trumpet start to fire to a rhythm. Next select the Card Player's reset control and press S1 to enter it's subchain.
(10) Press the M key under the empty graph to select an input. Up until now, we've only assigned physical inputs, such as ABCDx, Gx, and INx. However, inside of a custom unit, we can assign one of it's custom controls as an input. Press the S1 button to change from Inputs to Locals. You should see the "reset" control that we created above. Press the M key to select it. We'll be creating a few more Card Players in upcoming steps, and we'll assign each of their reset controls to the local Custom Unit "reset" control. We can use this single control to reset each of the card players, and sync them.
(11) Press the UP button until you return to the Variable Speed Player. Just as we did for the gate control, go into the subchain for the V/Oct control. Insert a Card Player into this subchain. Assign the file trumpet-cv-VOct.wav as the Card Player's sample. Connect the Custom Unit's local "reset" control to the Card Player's reset control. As this point, you should hear the trumpet playing to a rhythm, and the pitch will be changing. But it may sound a little weird, because the recorded Gate CV and the recorded V/Oct pitch CV are out of sync.
(12) Press up until you get to the top of the chain. Fire the "reset" control of your Custom Unit. The pitch and gate CVs should now be syncronized, and you should hear a trumpet solo playing. It may not sound so great, but the basic melody is there. The rest of the tutorial will improve the realism of the sound.
(18) The recorded CV contains gates that are longer in length, and the notes should sustain for as long as the gate lasts. But in some cases, the sample is not long enough. Since the Variable Speed Player changes pitch by increasing or decreasing the playback speed, the problem is more pronounced on higher notes. So let's create some loop points where the sample will sustain. Position your cursor around roughly as shown above, and hold down the COARSE/FINE button while turning the encoder to zoom in.
(19) Creating loop points is very similar to inserting slices as we did in a previous tutorial. Let's capture one single cycle in the latter part of the waveform. Remember to press "goto ZC" to have the ER-301 assist with placing the loop points exactly on the zero crossing. Press "Loop In" to set the loop begin point. Press "Loop Out" to set the loop end point.
(20) You may have noticed the loop points are not yet working. Press UP to return to the variable player. Focus press it's header and examine the playback options. Choose "loop on gate hi" as the Play Duration. You should now hear the notes sustain as recorded. Setting loop points can take a little bit of practice, as well as trial and error. If something sounds wrong in the loop/sustained portion, follow the steps above to modify your loop points until it sounds perfectly seamless without any glitches or volume changes.
(21) Next insert a Linear Bipolar VCA after the Variable Speed Player. This will stop the sound (for now). Set the VCA's gain to 1.0, and press S1 to enter it's subchain.
(23) Immediately following this card player, insert an ADSR unit. You can keep the default settings.
(25) Insert a Ladder LPF in between the Variable Speed Player and the Linear Bipolar VCA. Set Q to 0.200. Set the f0 to 1.109kHz. Set the gain on the f0 subchain to 7800. Press S1 to enter the f0 subchain. Insert a Card Player, and load the file trumpet-cv-Velo.wav. Assign the Card Player's reset control to the Custom Unit's local "reset" control. This is a lot of steps. But you've got this!
(29) Congratulations! You've set up a nice trumpet solo playback and learned about editing samples, setting loop points, using card players, using custom units, and creating custom controls. You've mastered many core concepts at this point. Well done! To see a collapsed view like this, select each unit's header, and press the Enter key. This can be useful when your patches and chains start to get larger. If you like, you can remove the Card Players and make connections from your keyboard or sequencer and write your own trumpet solo. Remember to save your work. You can do a Quicksave, or save the Custom Unit preset by focus pressing the Custom Unit's header.