Noise Engineering

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Noise Engineering is a Eurorack and 5U modular synthesizer manufacturer based in Los Angeles, California. 

Guest Post: Rheyne Revisited -- LIP loves DFAM

This is part of a series of guest-post tutorials from Noise Engineering users showing off various tips for NE modules, modular use in general, or how they integrate modular into their workflow.

Have someone you think would be great to write a guest post? Have a modular tip you want to submit for us to create a video around? Please submit ideas for this occasional column here.


If you’ve been paying attention to Noise Engineering blog for a while, you may be familiar with Rheyne. Also known as his alter ego, Jon Barbieri, he did a great guest post about a year ago and has been posting amazing stuff all over Facebook and Youtube and, well, all the places for a while. We were chatting recently and we batted around the idea for a follow-up post.

KK: Tell me about the project.

Jon B.: "Rheyne" is an Ableton-based live looping project I started in 2010, inspired by live loopers who are primarily beatboxers. It was an attempt to do what they were doing and capture a live performance, except with synths and keyboards. For the past 20 years I've been working at a musical instrument store during the day, which is a great place to be if you're involved with music, especially for the discounts!

KK: What spurred the idea for this post?
JB: After realizing a year had gone by since the "LIP and DFAM" blog post, which only seems like a few months ago, I wanted to make some new patches with a focus on these two instruments as a way to check my progress from last year's efforts. Since then, I now have a dedicated sequencer and some additional sources of modulation.

KK: I love these progress checks. It’s so much fun to see how far we’ve come with this stuff, even when your initial post was pretty damned good.  

You said you put together three different versions for this.  Let’s take a look.



JB: For the first video, the DFAM is sitting next to an 84hp rack, loaded with an Eloquencer, the LIP, Mutable Instruments Stages, and an Intellijel Quad VCA.  A Make Noise 0-Coast is sitting in front of them and is providing the opening solo melody, with an off-camera Mother-32 providing the pad (see photo of the off-screen rack). The opening clicks are from the LIP, followed by a kick from the DFAM which triggers an LFO modulating the LIP's Time input. The kick also advances the 0-Coast clock and its stepped-random output, which is sent to the VCA Decay input on the DFAM.  The Mutable Instruments Stages is providing decay envelopes and LFOs as the primary source of modulation on the LIP, as well as Ch 1 and 4 of Maths. The Eloquencer is randomizing the rate of these envelopes and LFOs, and the switching of the three Master positions, as well as the VO and SS algorithms. The decay envelopes from Stages and Maths are triggered by random gates from the Eloquencer, and the sequencer is also triggering an off-camera Mother-32 after every 64 steps. This Mother-32 is not heard, but instead controls the gate and pitch on the 0-Coast melody. This 64th step from the Eloquencer also triggers a second Mother-32 which changes the chord on a third Mother-32 creating the pad. This same off-camera rack  also contains a Morphagene providing a broken granulated echo effect on the 0-Coast melody, with a Strymon Magneto in between them to alternate the left and right channels into the (Make Noise) Morphagene. Reverb on the pad and the overall mix is from a Strymon BigSky. The Eloquencer is switching between two 16-step patterns to create a larger 32-step pattern, and one track is slowed to 1/4 of the master clock. A gate at the first step of this slowed track produces a gate every 64 steps, after two rotations of patterns A and B.

For the second video, all sounds are coming from the LIP and DFAM, and also explores some of the minor differences between the Moogfest and production versions of the DFAM. [Ed. Note: OOOOOH] There are 8 knobs which control the velocity level for each step, which basically sets the amplitude of all three envelope generators routed to pitch, the filter, and the VCA, with panel controls to shape the decay and amount (attack is locked to two positions: 1ms and 100ms "fast" and "slow" settings). On the patchbay, there is a CV input to control the velocity to the envelopes, with the max amplitude determined by the velocity knob for that step. Where the production version uses a single CV input for the velocity of all three envelope generators, the Moogfest version has a separate input for all three envelopes. What the production version gained from losing the other two CV inputs is an audio input, and a VCA for the noise source, which I think most users will find more useful. The VCA is very useful, since you can now create a kick and snare combo on the production version without the kick underlying the snare.  In this patch, all three of the envelope velocity inputs are modulated here, along with all four tone controls on the LIP, mainly from decay envelopes and LFOs coming from Stages and Maths, and stepped-random voltages from the Eloquencer. The 0-Coast provides a random clock to the Eloquencer, and the LIP is being processed by a Morphagene with a Mutable uBurst between them, creating the granulated echo effect. No other sources of audio were used except the LIP and DFAM, with reverb on the overall mix from a BigSky.

The third video is actually the first patch I made when I sat down to try this, which started as more of a soundcheck before I decided to record it. It's an ensemble of multiple sound sources, with the LIP running the SS algorithm while the DFAM provides the kick. A Make Noise Tempi clocks the Eloquencer, which is triggering decay envelopes from Stages and Maths to the Fold and Mod parameters on the LIP, as well as the envelope amount on Morph. A slow triangle LFO from Stages is routed to the pitch of VCO A, and a random decay envelope goes to VCO B, both attenuated to prevent any high-pitched shrieking. The LIP only triggers on steps 9-16, with randomization to Time for those steps. The bass and pad are from the Mothers, and the hi-hat and snare are from a pair of Mutable Instruments Plaits, although the same hi-hat and snare combo could be easily achieved with one Plaits and CV control over the model input. The melody, which changes pitch every 64 steps, is from a Make Noise DPO with more broken granulated echos from the Morphagene (my new favorite effect).

All three parts were recorded in one take with no edits or overdubs, and the audio and video match each other at all times. Although there is still a vast pallet of sounds I've yet to explore from these instruments, even after owning them for over a year, it was fun to compare it with last year's efforts to see how things have changed. I find decay envelopes to be one of the more useful things for modulating percussion voices [Ed. Note: if you agree...you will like some of what we have coming!], and Stages gives you six of them. I also like subtle randomization for the "controlled chaos" effect, especially when applied to tempo, the attack and release of envelopes, or the rate of LFOs, modulating your modulators.  

Love Rheyne’s stuff? Find more on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Check out his Bandcamp page, too!


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