INSTRUMENTS / GENERATORS

Morphine Generator Panel

An Overview of Synthesis in Morphine

The Generator Page contains the Additive Synthesis controls for Morphine. As has been discussed in the introduction, Additive synthesis builds more complex waveforms from a harmonic sequence of sine-waves. Better yet, Morphine can interpolate a series of these harmonic 'snapshots', that may be manually programmed or derived from samples, to re/create infinitely complex sounds. In other words, Morphine can generate synthetic 'samples'. There are four main features of the Morphine architecture -

The aim was to provide the sound designer with a rich palette of evolving sounds that can be mixed, real-time, in response to modulation parameters time or tempo. By now the Morph in Morphine should be clear.

Controls

This section describes the synthesis controls and their operation.

GENERATOR A, B C & D

The 4 GENERATORS in Morphine have the same set of properties that modify the response of 128 harmonics per voice. Further, in combination with Keyboard Zones, Generators can contain multiple, independent, 'sub-voices' assigned to play over unique keyboard ranges. The components of the Generators are described, starting from the bottom of the Generator Page (as shown above) working upwards:


CONTROL RANGE

Limits the Detune and Pan range of the 128 harmonics for all Breakpoints. NOTE: If these are set to zero then the Detune and Pan values set in the Breakpoints won't have any effect, conversely, if the Breakpoints don't have Detune and Pan values set, then these sliders will have no effect on the sound.

PWM FILTER

PWM FILTER - Each generator has a unique PWM Filter (Pulse Width Modulation). PWM Filters are usually created by adding or subtracting a second (detuned or phase shifted) voice with an original to create unison, phasing or chorus-like effects. As the Morphine architecture provides control over the harmonic spectra it is possible to modulate the 128 harmonic amplitudes of each Breakpoint to simulate voice mixing without the need to double voices. The options include detune, phase, and mix coefficient (positive or negative).

Breakpoint Editor Tutorial

This quick tutorial will show you how to morph between two simple harmonic spectra and give you a feel for working the controls of the Breakpoint Editor window, see the instructions below the image.


Harmonic Morphing

  1. Reset the patch: Left-click in the Program Name field (top-left window in Morphine) and select 'Reset Program' to call a blank patch.
  2. Add a harmonic Breakpoint: Click on the AMPLITUDE Breakpoint control and raise the left-most harmonic bar to maximum and play on your keyboard/sequencer. You should hear a single sine wave sound, the fundamental harmonic.
  3. Add a new morphing envelope point: Right-click (or Alt + Left-click) in the area shown above at (2.) to add a new morphing envelope point. Make sure the point is at the top of the window as the height will affect the volume of the spectra at that point. Adding a point in this way will replicate the spectrum of the point immediately to the left of the new point.
  4. Customise the new Breakpoint sequence: Lower the original, left-most harmonic and add a new one further to the right. When this patch is played you will hear the low sine morph into a higher one as the harmonics are morphed from the first to second Breakpoint.
  5. Change the morph speed: Adjust the RATE knob above the envelope window and hear how it affects the speed the envelope is played. You can also modulate the playback speed by changing the RATE K-TRK (keyboard tracking), the RATE V-TRK control or simply moving the Breakpoint left/right. These will change the speed in response to note position and velocity respectively. An alternative envelope mode is the TEMPO SYNC mode where the envelope will play back in beat-time, this is useful for tempo-synced sounds.
  6. LOOPING: Left-clicking to the right of the LOOP MODE label will open an menu to change the envelope loop type (Off, forward, backward or ping-pong as shown above). The start/end points may be Left-clicked and dragged to the appropriate position on the envelope.
  7. KEYBOARD ZONES - Keyboard Zones allow you to either program new sounds on any or all keys or to tonally balance a sound across the keyboard (similar to multisamples on a Sampler). When you add a new Keyboard Zone (Right-click or Alt + Left-click in the Keyboard Zone window) it may seem that Morphine has lost your hard work on the current Zone. Fear not! New zones are blank, if you click on the first Keyboard Zone in the lower panel, your first Keyboard Zone will re-appear. Use this method to swap between Zones and Breakpoint Sequences.

ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release) Envelopes

You may be wondering where the ADSR envelopes are for the Generators (A to D). Since the volume envelope of a Spectrum is defined by the height of the Breakpoint Markers a separate ADSR envelope is unnecessary. To set the ADSR of a Spectrum simply draw the desired volume curve. To set a Sustain Level (a constant volume while a key is held) you can either use the last Breakpoint or, if you also need to have a release envelope, then use the Loop Markers to trap the Spectrum at the desired Breakpoint (or set of Breakpoints) and so define the Sustain level. In the example below, the Loop Start and End Markers are placed on the third Breakpoint in the sequence, trapping the Spectrum at that Breakpoint. On release the Spectrum will continue to the last Breakpoint and so the portion after the loop end will define the Release envelope. Don't forget, there is also a Master Envelope, that applies to all Spectra, however bear in mind that this is imposed over the sound of the Generators so it won't add a fast attack to a Generator with an inherently slow attack.