You can modulate the Volume parameter of the Reason Pulveriser using the LFO in the Tremor section. This is a great way for achieving Tremolo effects. But not only in a traditional sense since this LFO can produce many different types of waveforms including the one I’d like to focus on for today’s experiment: square modulation. This kind of modulation is a very static form of modulation since it either sends a maximum or minimum value of LFO. There are no smooth transients between both values, it’s a harsh kind of modulation which works like an on and off switch.
Cutting the rhythm
We can sync the LFO of the Tremor to the tempo of a song via the Sync switch. This turns the Rate parameter into a beat-synced rate for the LFO. One of the beat-synced rates is 2/4 which sends a maximum value to the Volume parameter on every second and fourth beat of the bar. This way the Pulveriser will only produce sounds on backbeats (2 and 4).
To create this effect in Pulveriser do this:
- put the Sync on ON
- put the Rate to 2/4
- change the Waveform to Square
- put the parameter ‘Tremor to Volume’ fully to the right (100%)
Using the Pulveriser this way as an effect on Dr.OctoRex for example and you’ll notice that it will only produce sounds on the backbeat instead of the whole loop. This method opens new ways to work with loops or any other audio signals.
What if we want to make the Dr.OctoRex produce sounds on the 1st and 3rd beats instead of the 2nd and 4th beats? There’s no Rate setting for 1/3!?!? No sweat, just put the ‘Tremor to Volume’ to the left (-100%) and it will reverse/swap the maximum and minimum values. So instead of playing the 2 and 4 it will indeed play the 1 and 3.
Another interesting idea: create two Dr.OctoRex + two Pulveriser devices, one playing the 1 and 3 and the other one playing the 2 and 4. I’ve created a little demo based on this idea. In some parts of the track I’ve panned the channel playing the 1 and 3 beats to the left and the channel playing the 2 and 4 beats to the right. Together they create some interesting rhythms, just have a listen:
Do not to forget to experiment with the other Rates too! Send any signal through the Pulveriser and try to create new rhythms out of it using the square wave LFO trick. Do keep in mind that the ‘Tremor to Volume’ parameter can shift/offset that rhythm, so experiment with that too!
Tip: Lag is your friend
Since the square waveform is such a static waveform it tends to produce noticeable audio clicks when it drops the volume signal from maximum to minimum. But thanks to the Lag parameter we can smoothen the transient by rounding the sharp edge of the square wave. Just put the Lag parameter to a higher value and it will smoothen the transient.
P.S. I’m working on a large set of patches and example files which I will make available for download when this serie about the Pulveriser is over. So please share your thoughts and suggestions with me so I can create a very interesting package, probably a ReFill, out of this.
Marco, thanks for doing this series. I clearly haven’t spent enough time with pulverizer. God to get some outside influence on how people are using it.
That’s a great technique that I hadn’t thought of myself. You even gave me ideas of new things to try based on this method. Thanks again for the great work!