My latest obsession has been the new animoog iPad app from moog music, inc. It’s a brilliant example of the tablet platform and touch control surface as a creative and expressive musical instrument. If you haven’t tried animoog, I highly highly highly recommend getting it.
Animoog’s sound generation system is akin to a vector synthesizer, however the main XY pad merges an eight way source selector against a wavetable grain selector. The modulation of the XY pad can be automated allowing you to explore complex variations between wavetables and granular systems. I’ve found that bypassing the modulation “orbits” and “path” parameters and simply controlling these parameters in real-time offers and incredible performance experience. This has inspired me to try to share the experience with Reason 6 users who may not have access to an iPad.
Reason users have had a similar technology available for quite some time in the Malstrom graintable synthesizer where you have two graintable oscillators. The main difference in the experience is the control over the graintables. Animoog allows you to “crossfade” between each of the sources while Malstrom’s architecture is somewhat fixed and allows you to layer the two sources or fade with envelopes, rather than a real time control.
Using a combinator configured with several Malstroms and a multi source fader, I’ve devised a patch that simulates the experience of the animoog sound source. Due to the limitations of using multiple synth devices, the configuration is limited to a monophonic instrument. Despite being mono, it’s fun nonetheless!
The combinator is contained in the example Reason 6 session file and patch archive available here:
Below is a description of the combinator controls and the functions they perform. To simulate the animoog style of table/index control try mapping the modwheel and Index control to an XY pad. This particular patch is designed to create aggressive dubstepish tones, however you can modify graintable selections and other Malstrom parameters to customize the behavior.
Mod Wheel: Multi Source fader control fades between the 8 graintables
Rotary 1 - Index: simultaneously controls all graintable index positions.
Rotary 2 - Shift: simultaneously controls all 8 graintable shift amounts.
Rotary 3 - BitCrush: increasing this knobs applies more bit crushing
Rotary 4 - LFO Rate: controls the wobble rate
Button 1 - Index Mod: applies ramp modulation to the index of all 8 graintables.
Button 2 - Table Sweep: applies LFO to the multi source fader
Button 3 - Crush On: Enables/Disables the Scream 4 bitcrush effect
Button 4 - LFO Enabled: Enables/Disables the modulation of the filter and amp sections
Multi Source Fader control
The eight way source selector relies on an old technique (think power tools for Reason 2.5 era) of using the BV512 Vocoder as an audio to CV converter. When the combi receives a note on message, a Thor polysonic synth is triggered to generate a sine wave. The sine wave acts as a modulator signal on the vocoder and opens specific bands on the vocoder. The CV signals generated by the individual bands control the fader levels of remix mixer. When the pitch of the sine wave is adjusted (by way of the mod wheel), a different range of bands opens, subsequently opening different mixer channels. This is an important aspect of the patch because that recreates the experience of using animoog.