All posts by Michael

Mythos of Revelation

mythospatched

After completing Ambietic Atmospheres for Fathom Synth, and for the first time in many years, finding myself compelled, drawn toward, and¬† mesmerized by the capabilities and actual power of¬†a synthesizer, make me continue to delve deeply into the depths that is Fathom. I’ve found that I’ve barely scratched the surface.

The last patch that I made for Ambietic Atmospheres was a wave-table based morphing sound that¬†used modulation to create the vowels of “Hallelujah” subtle, but very present within the upper harmonic registers. For those that have Ambietic Atmospheres, it’s the voice patch named:¬†Requiem de Elysium.

I was compelled to continue experimentation with this discovered modulation technique. Using modulated time based LFO vibrato, combined with a 3 way wave-table parameter modulation morphing technique, resulting in an entire sonic world opening up before me using Fathom. I attempted to create more vowels, and ended up with a sonic Angelic Apocalypse combined with an impending rhythm of cinematic proportions.

Fathom actually allows you to name your modulators! Here is the list of modulators that make this sound what it is:

Modulators

And for the first time, I actually “screen recorded” a patch so that you can watch this wave-table modulation technique in action! It deserved no less.¬† The audio quality isn’t the best. The recorder lacked high frequency capture, but just watch that beautifully modulated wave-table coalescing into a magnificent morphing hypnotic state of zen.

I’m almost absolutely sure at this point that any other wave-table synthesizer will not, and can not modulate enough to create such¬† complexity. I pushed the CPU¬† a bit hard with this one. But Seaweed Audio is¬†currently in the process of re-coding the framework to make sure Fathom can handle your sonic dreams, and beyond!

Ambietic Atmospheres

Ambietic-Atmospheres

Now available! Ambietic Atmospheres is an all new sound bank for Fathom Synth. This sound bank contains atmospheric pads, ambient textures, ethereal chimes, airy choirs, cosmic plucks, and galactic rhythms, designed as a cinematic sound source for emotional scoring, and ambient composing.

Update 5/31/2019: 2 new patches added to the sound bank.¬†“Masters of the Multiverse” (Morphing/Shimmering Drone Pad), and “Mythos of Revelation” (Mod Wheel Morphing Rhythm Pad).

FathomSoundBanks

Message from Vangelis

Blade-Direct-Nemo-Studios2

I’m a huge fan of Vangelis. His sound design on the Yamaha CS-80 for Blade Runner is legendary, and serves as an inspiration
for me to this day. My favorite Vangelis Album has always been Direct, released in September, 1988. And my favorite Vangelis soundtrack is on that Album …Message, a very powerful, synthetic/symphonic piece. I wanted to capture this soundtracks powerful rhythm, and at the same time maintain the spirit of Blade Runner’s thick CS-80 saw sound, both combined into one modern patch, using Fathom¬†to accomplish this.

CS-80

This patch uses 4 customized Sawtooth Oscillators to capture the strength of a CS-80. They were customized using half of the fundamental frequency to emulate a Sawtooth passing through a Low Pass Filter before reaching the actual emulated Low Pass Filters. The 4 Saw’s are then divided between 2 emulated Low Pass Voltage Controlled Filters to capture the depth of a CS-80. The remaining 2 Pulse Oscillators are routed through 1 LP-VCF and shaped by an EQ Filter that’s modulated through a Low Frequency Oscillator, for that deep pulsing kick drum/bass effect you hear in “Message“.

The upper CS-80 Saw Pad can be controlled by using pressure sensitivity that brings in a vibrato effect, and the entire upper
and lower pad sound is dynamically controlled by the Mod Wheel for softness, thickness, clarity, and depth, capturing the
strength of a CS-80’s Un-Resonated Analog Sound. Here’s a short demonstration of everything combined in this Vangelis inspired Fathom patch, starting smooth, and ending strong. No external processing used:

      Message_From_Vangelis

Fathom-Message-from-Vangelis

Shimmering Shoreline: The Art of Sound Design

Shimmering-Shoreline

Update: Finding out that this post is being read by those curios, but not having previous knowledge of synthetic sound design, I added links to definitions and resources throughout this post, to inspire  further educational research on the subject.  An MP3 sample was also added, as I discovered WAV samples had an issue with playback using Firefox. Thanks for the feedback!  :) 


I thought I would create a post that somewhat details the sound design process, or at least gives you an idea of how I think and what steps I take during that process. As I’ve mentioned numerous times here on this Sound Design Blog, I love pushing a Synthesizers sound¬† architecture to see if I can actually manifest what I hear in my mind. As you probably guessed, it doesn’t always work as planned.

I consistently run into virtual brick-walls because of the limitations some Synthesizers have. It’s probably why Sampler technology is on top of the sound design pedestal. I mean, if you want chirping crickets or ocean waves wouldn’t it just be easier to record, loop, and map them using a Sampler? Well of course it would. But then it wouldn’t be challenging or fun right?

I had this idea to create an atmospheric pad in Fathom using natural sounds, combined with additive harmonically contrasting tonalities that blended well together, and the final timbre resulting in a cinematic ethereal atmosphere. In my mind, this idea would take about 3 sound layers. I say layers and not oscillators because a layer can have multiple oscillators to get the desired end result. I chose an easier natural sound to build the entire patch around, to gain a better understanding of how to build a more complicated natural sound using Fathom in the future.

This technique has worked well in the past. I once created a realistic Thunder Storm that included distance and intensity using Z-Plane filters morphed through dual function generators in the E-MU Ultraproteus as an end result of starting simple, so I know this is very possible.

Like all true Synthesizers, there are zero Samples used in Fathom. Fathom generates its own waveforms. I must say that creating naturally based sounds using pure synthesis methods will give anyone who succeeds the fundamental understanding of how the very nature of sound works.

So what natural ambient sound would be the “easiest” to start with? Synthetically speaking, there are two …Wind and Water. I chose Water …Specifically, Ocean Surf. I’ve spent countless days running on the beach with children, dogs, and lovers. I know this sound well.

Sound wise, Ocean Surf is considered a variant combination of white, pink, and brown noise (click here for more on the color of noise). This depends on what time, position, and cycle the water is in. Although natural noise can be a complicated structure, I narrowed it down to 3 simple water cycles: Background ambient noise, approaching waves, and beach caressing foam. While the background ambient noise would remain consistent, the approaching waves and beach caressing foam had to cycle seamlessly at slightly parallel intervals for realism.

Fathom happens to have the most detailed noise generator of any Synthesizer I have used, giving me the ability to “surf the perfect wave” ūüėČ The noise generator uses step, linear, smooth and turbulent algorithms combined with frequency ranges, tracking, grains, detuning, and filters. Not your average synth noise generator to say the least.

I¬†created this first sound layer using 3 noise oscillators, 1 for each surf cycle. The “brownish-white approaching waves”, and “pink beach caressing foam” cycles were both modulated by their frequencies through 2 low frequency oscillators that were timed at parallel intervals, while the “whitish-brown background ambient noise” remained static with slight frequency variation to give it a virtual overall distance effect. And the remaining 2 layers of this patch were centered around this “Ocean Surf” atmosphere.

Noise-Generator Fathoms Noise Generator x3 for 3 Ocean Surf water cycles, being timed by modulation 

For the second layer of this patch I wanted to create an ethereal pad. I used Spectral Harmonic Additive Synthesis to accomplish this. I needed this pad to have two qualities: A vocal synth choir “Ah” sound,¬†with a smooth “Analog low end” tonality. This required 2 spectral oscillators as a fundamental source, which doubled in octave level pitch variance, resulting in a total of 4 oscillators for a true ethereal sound.

Additive-OSC-1¬†Additive Oscillator 1¬†Waveform,¬†“Ah” &¬†“Analog low end”¬†x2¬†using¬†2 harmonic octaves

Additive-OSC-2¬†Additive Oscillator¬†2 Waveform, “Ah” &¬†“Analog low end”¬†x2¬†using¬†2 harmonic octaves

The third and final layer had to have a contrasted tonality that would sonically harmonize with the second layer pad, and at the same time have ethereal ambiance for a perfect balance between the 2 layers. Once again, I used Spectral Harmonic Additive Synthesis. I decided that the best tone for this harmonic contrast would be a “bellish-chime”.

I also decided to use a modulator so that this chime could change timbral characteristics, using the Mod Wheel to create an atonal temperament. Like layer 2, this layer also needed an octave level pitch variance to create a true contrasting ethereal sound. Layer 3 ended up requiring 2 oscillators to achieve a satisfactory end result with all 3 layers combined.

Additive-Layer3-OSC¬†Additive Oscillator¬†3 Waveform, the¬†“bellish-chime”¬† x2¬†using¬†2 harmonic octaves

With all 3 layers finished, I began finalizing this patch by planning an optimized ambient performance structure. Layer 1, being an atonal noise source, would not perform well over the entire chromatic range combined with the other 2 layers. By the same token, layer 3 only sounds harmonic when the Mod Wheel is positioned as such. But layer 2 sounded perfect as it stood across the entire 88-key chromatic range.

What I did was design layer 1 as a split sound source between C1 and C4 (Middle C), and layer 3 as a split sound source between C4 and C8, while layer 2 was consistent across the entire range. But that’s not all. To optimize this performance planning, I also made layer 1 consistently audible, while layer 2 fades out when you move the Mod Wheel up, and layer 3 is consistently audible, and also changes timbre when you move the Mod Wheel up. Performance optimization complete!

If you’ve done the math thus far, you now realize this patch is now a 9 Oscillator Additive Beast! And it was created in the true form of Additive Synthesis …There were zero component level¬†subtractive filters used on any oscillator. You would also think that 9 Oscillators might be too much for a computers CPU to handle. Well, at the moment I’m using a PC that was made 5 years ago, and this patch performs great so far. The hardest part¬†for me …Sound levels. Mixing this many contrasting sound source variations wasn’t easy. All levels had to be optimized independently at a micro level, to avoid audible¬†Oscillator cross distorted¬†saturation.

If this sounds confusing, all of this will become crystal clear when you listen to the brief audio demo. The demo starts with the Mod Wheel up, then transitions down, then ends back up to finish the demonstration, and was created as a very¬†simple, and slowly played “2 finger” track so you can differentiate the sound sources. Zero external audio processing was done outside of Fathom. I hope this Blog Post was helpful for anyone that might be wondering what my design process was about :) Here’s what this patch sounds like:

      Shimmering_Shoreline

Sample 1: Bitrate 2822kpbs Wave File (Verified working in Chrome – Higher Quality)

      Shimmering_Shoreline

 Sample 2: Bitrate 320kpbs MP3 File (Verified working in Firefox РLower Quality)

Shimmering-Shoreline“Shimmering Shoreline’s” overall patched configuration, which includes internal FX

10 Lush Ethereal Ambient Pads for SA Fathom Synth

PrismaticHyperCube2

I am finding no limits to what Seaweed Audio Fathom Synth can do from a designers view. The modulation capabilities, and multiple oscillation sources give any designer the opportunity to create almost anything imagined. I’ve even been able to create realistic sounds only found in nature using no samples! The last time I was¬† successfully satisfied¬†accomplishing this was designing on the EMU Ultraproteus, using Z-Plane filters combined with multiple Function Generators.

The developer of Fathom Synth is currently hard at work adding more features and making sure this synth is optimized for maximum performance. Seaweed Audio also has the best customer support system I have encountered. They are very passionate and involved in their user base, and making sure Fathom Synth is not only optimized, but has all of the features you would ever need.

I am in the process of creating a larger bank of Ambient patches for Fathom Synth¬†¬†which will include leads, plucks, atmospheres , FX, bass, rhythms etc… But I thought I would share the first 10 pads with everyone before I created more.¬† Here are a few small audio demos of the downloadable Ambient Pads I have:

      Fouriers_Fantasy
      The_Breath_of_Life
      Prismatic_Hyper_Cube
      Celestial_Choir
      Midnight_Solitude
      Silk_Road_Journey
      Cosmic_Dreamer
      Strings_Of_Morpheus

If you like what you hear, and have Seaweed Audio Fathom Synth Click here to download¬†10 Lush Ethereal Ambient Pads. More to come …Enjoy!

Preset List

Ana²morphosis for ANA 2

Anamorphosis-2s

Ana¬≤morphosis, is an all new Expansion Pack for¬†Sonic Academy’s ANA 2 software synthesizer. Unlike previous ANA 2 soundset releases, Ana¬≤morphosis takes ANA 2 into the realm of ambient music. From lush ethereal soundscapes and evolving atmospheres of nature, to the far reaches of outer space and astral realms beyond.

Ana²morphosis includes all new wave-forms, wave-tables, and a selection of sampled content that give life to 100 available presets in 12 different categories. This release also includes a new Graphic User Interface. Cosmic is a Dark Ambient Space Theme that features Glowing Buttons, Nebular Panels, Starry Backgrounds,  Retro FX Knobs, and 3D Sliders …Wave-tables Morphing in Space!

Ana²morphosis Includes:

  • 100 all new sound presets
  • The Cosmic Graphic User Interface v1.10
  • 109 new Wave-Tables
  • 55 new Single Cycle Waves
  • 83 select Wave-Samples
  • 5 Chord Memory Devices
  • 12 Arpeggiations
  • 30 G-ENVs
  • 7 Track Sound Demo using¬†only Ana¬≤morphosis, including notes
  • 7 page Users Manual with install instructions and usage¬†details

Requirements:

Save-the-Children-Banner

Click here to¬†get all the details and hear audio demo’s…

SoundBytes Review

soundbyteslogoSoundBytes magazine just published a new review for Luftrum’s Lunaris, and although this is a new review,¬†it brings back some great¬† sound design nostalgia for me…

It’s been over a year since the release of Lunaris version 1.2 by Luftrum Sound Design, and it’s still getting rave reviews!¬†Version 1.2 was a major update, and consisted of a new graphic user interface by Satya Choudhury, and 150 new presets by myself, Michael Lyon (AmbieticA). After months of design work, v1.2 was finally released. And at the perfect time …New Years day 2018! What an awesome way to start the New Year, and what great sound design memories!

It was an¬†honor¬†to work with Soren of Luftrum, and design new Ambient Pads and Cinematic Atmospheres for Lunaris. It’s also an honor to have worked¬†alongside¬†some of the greatest sound designers on the planet to help make Lunaris what it is today …One of the very best pad instruments out there!

SBM-Review-2019-3

Lunaris is still my “go to” pad instrument for quick design options, and instant ambient sound track gratification. To learn more about Lunaris click here to read the review, and If you would like¬†an opportunity to experience this great “one of a kind” ambient pads instrument, click here.


AmbieticA-Lunaris

Midnight Solitude

Last night I was inspired to create a wave-table based pad using Fathom Synth. I combined this wave-table with a classic saw wave, and connected both individual oscillators to their own voltage controlled filter, each filter being modulated by separate sources; ModWheel, and ADSR. I also had the ModWheel control the wave-tables morph, and the saw waves filter resonance. And finally, I ran both oscillators through two separate reverb’s to give the patch ambient depth. I was very impressed by just how “thick & warm” Fathom sounded with the final result.

I also wondered how Fathom would sound as the main sound source using one of my custom ANA 2 atmospheric patches as an ambient drone. The final layered sound between the two equally impressed me. Both sound sources stood out separately, yet combined perfectly together to create an ambient atmospheric movement. I spontaneously recorded a small sample of the two layers combined:

  • Fathom Synth – Patch: Midnight Solitude
  • ANA 2 – Patch: Moonlit Nocturnia
      Midnight_Solitude-Michael_Lyon
Fathom Synth - Patch: "Midnight Solitude", a thick & warm wave-table pad.
Fathom Synth – Patch: “Midnight Solitude”, a thick & warm wave-table pad.
ANA 2 - Patch: "Moonlit Nocturnia" a natural/synthetic atmosphere.
ANA 2 – Patch: “Moonlit Nocturnia” a natural/synthetic atmosphere.

Fathom Synth

As the Sonic Academy ANA 2 Ambient project I started long ago comes to a finalization, I started to think about my next sound development project. I began by listing a project checklist. I needed:

  • A¬†new, upcoming synth with great potential
  • A synth with high quality audio outputs
  • A synth with zero samples, and pure oscillators
  • A synth with multiple synthesis capabilities
  • A synth that allowed hand crafted oscillators
  • A synth that had deep modulation capabilities
  • A synth that was modular in nature
  • A synth with unique, and multiple filters
  • A synth that was affordable

After researching many options for almost two weeks, I finally found¬†my next sound development project source …A Synthesizer not many people have heard of, but for those who have, they are as excited as I am about the unlimited possibilities this upcoming Synth has to offer.¬†¬†

Fathom-Logo-s-W

The¬†Fathom Synth¬†by Seaweed Audio, is a modular software synthesizer which specializes in original waveform development, advanced modulation and high quality audio output.¬†Fathom is built for the sound designer who finds existing plug-ins restrictive in their architecture and is looking for more creative latitude. The modular signal flow places the entire structure of the instrument in the hands of the user. You can connect any oscillator to any filter or effect in any combination and there are no predefined paths within the processor. The only limit is the twenty open positions in the signal flow view and your CPU usage. The synthesis types, which include Additive, Subtractive, and FM¬†come from 8 oscillators, and can be shaped by 33 filter types¬†…a sound designers dream!

Available Alias Free Oscillators Types:

  • Basic Waveforms – Sin, Triangle, Square, Pulse, Saw & 400 Partials
  • Wave Draw – Free-hand Draw, Bezier and Exponential Curves.
  • High Definition Saw – With Control over Odd and Even Harms
  • Wave Table – With 16 x 16 Morphable Wave Table Positions
  • Additive Spectrum – With 64 Partials with Graphical Spectrum
  • Frequency Pulse – With Six Algorithms
  • Impulse – With Single impulse or Alt & Mod Impulse Width
  • AM/FM Synthesis – With Single, Double, Triple Carrier/Modulator combos

Fathom-WaveDraw

Available Filter Types:

  • Low Pass – First Order, Second Order Resonant, Bristow Johnson Low Pass Resonant, State Variable Low Pass Resonant
  • High Pass – First Order, Second Order Resonant
  • Band Pass – Band Pass, Band Stop
  • Butterworth – Low Pass, Low Pass Variable Order, High Pass, Band Pass, Band Stop
  • Variable – Variable Order 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Variable Slope, Oberheim Variations, Linkwitz Riley Low Pass, Linkwitz Riley High Pass, Linkwitz Riley Band Pass, Polar Morph, Zero Delay, Zero Delay Gaussian
  • Virtual Analog – Analog Nonlinear, Voltage Controlled Low Pass Resonant Ringing, Voltage Controlled High Pass Resonant, Ladder Low Pass Resonant, Diode Low Pass Resonant, Massberg Low Pass Resonant
  • Parametric – Parametric,¬† Low Shelf, First Order, Second Order, High Shelf, First Order, Second Order, Parametric 6 Band EQ, Parametric 12 Band EQ

Fathom-Filters

If you think that’s an impressive¬†sound engine list,¬†features also include:¬†¬†7 Effects including Two Chorus, Two Reverb, 3 Channel Digital Delay, 8 Channel Phaser, Mixer. 9 Modulators including ADSR, Drawable LFO, Multi-Segment Envelope, Sequencer, Random. Envelope Segments include Line, Exponential, Bezier, Double Bezier, Non-Linear Sin.

Fathom-Modulation

The Fathom Synth was obviously created with the Synthesist and Sound Designer in mind. But how easy is it to create a patch? Using Fathom for the first time, I decided to create a classic Saw Pad, without opening the manual so that I could answer this question. OK, so I started with a blank slate, and  added the following:

  • 4 Saw Oscillators, detuned and panned for a “thick” analog¬†sound
  • 1 Mixer that connected all 4 Oscillators
  • 1 Voltage Controlled Low Pass Filter
  • 2 effects units. a Pro Reverb and Air Chorus

After finishing the main Synth architecture, I added simple modulation: an ADSR routed to Volume, and Filter Cutoff Frequency controlled by the Modulation Wheel. All of this took about 15 minutes. And that was without looking inside the Manual!

Here is what the final result sounded like:

      Fathom_SawPad

And this is what my simple Saw Pad looks like within the GUI:

AMB Fathom

If you have Fathom, and would like to see how this was put together, you can download this patch by clicking here. Sound Design on a virtual modular system has never been easier, not to mention fun! I can see countless hours of sound design ahead!

I highly recommend any and all sound designers out there to give Fathom a try, and¬†hear for yourself. There is a “Mono” only version available for free, but I am convinced that at currently¬†$32.00 for the pro version, you are going to want¬†to buy Fathom¬†before the list price of¬†$125.00 comes into effect!¬† You can check it all out at:¬†¬†www.fathomsynth.com¬†…Be prepared for some new Ambient sounds in the future!¬†:)

Update 3/25/2019:

Since this initial post on March 8th, I have created quite a few new patches for Fathom. One of them is the newest and final version of my original first patch I linked above: “Saw Pad”. I’ve added a lot of improvements to the original, and if you compare the before and after screenshots, it becomes obvious. Eventually I am going to share all of these patches, but for now, let me share the update of my very first patch …Now called “Sunrise on Titan” Click here to download. Notice it still pretty much keeps the same Saw Pad structure, yet now enhanced and modulated better :)

      Sunrise_on_Titan

Sunrise on Titan