Making Triple-Oscillator Patches


If you find all your instruments sounding like an Atari 2600 (unless that's what you were going for), these guidelines for creating patches that sound like familiar musical instruments or sounds will help you. These instructions are intentionally a bit vague, so you can easily adapt them to the type of music you want to write. When making patches, it often helps to have a BB track playing the sound over and over as you edit.

When creating instruments with different generators, not just TripleOscillator patches, there are a few unwanted events that may occur. The most frequent problem is 'clicks'. The instrument sounds pretty much ok, but there's a distinct 'click' artifact every time the note plays. Clicks are annoying, but most can be easily removed. The start-event clicks are the easiest.

Listen to the sound. If your click artifact didn't change a little, then the click is from the 'termination' of the sound. Here the situation is more difficult. You may be able to remove the click by giving REL <= 0.05. Another annoying problem is 'noisy crater' randomly occurring in longer notes. This is often caused by too high Q in respect of either the cutoffFrq or the actual chosen filter. These type of artifacts can be seriously difficult to remove without changing the quality of the sound. Often success versus fiasco depends on minute alterations in Q.

If you are not familiar with terms like LFO, filters and resonance-Q amount, you should now go to the section Working with Instruments and read the paragraph The Env/LFO/Filter tab. All the basics (and more) are explained there.

Synth bass[edit]

We'll start with your basic synthesized techno bass sound, because this is a relatively simple patch to start learning your way around the Triple-Oscillator. Start with a fresh Triple-Oscillator with the default sine-wave patch.


Real organs are basically additive synthesizers: they add together a few dozen simple sine waves to form a complex tone. This is pretty easy to mimic with the Triple-Oscillator and LMMS's chords.

Electric bass[edit]

Electric bass guitars produce a wide variety of tones. This is just your basic bass with no overdrive or anything like that.

Kick drum[edit]

Ok, this is going to sound weird to some, maybe. Why use triple osc to make a kickdrum? The answer: because you can. Also, because it can produce some pretty neat sounds! We're going to use a technique called substractive synthesis here. To make this tutorial easier to follow, I'm marking with [tags] which is the name of the tab you need to be on on the instrument window.

[Plugin] To start with, we'll make some noise. Set all the oscillators to produce white noise. The other settings don't matter at this point, as most of them don't have any effect on the noise generation. Then we'll move on to the Env/Lfo tab. That's where the magic happens.

[Env/Lfo] Here, we're going to set the volume envelope first. Here are good settings for it:

Ok, try it now. Right now you have a neat little snare drum, kind of a crappy one but still. But read onwards, let's make it into a good kick.

Enable the filter. Select the RC Bandpass (24dB) filter. It is important to pick the right filter, it won't work so well with the 12dB one, unless you want some weird kickdrum... Set the resonance to maximum and cutoff to minimum. (That is, 10.0 and 1hz, respectively). Now, the instrument should sound like a bass guitar that constantly plays the same note. But we're not done yet.

Go to the cutoff envelope, and set these values:

Now listen to the sound. It's a kick drum! How awesome is that? Now we can add some character to the sound. Go back to the plugin tab:

[Plugin] Now, set the first oscillator to saw wave, set the crs dial to -24, and try playing different notes (C3 - G4 are good). See how the character of the sound varies slightly! You can vary it further by adjusting the volume of the saw oscillator. Try detuning it with the FL/FR knobs. Turn the SPD knob up to give it some stereo effect. You can also try different waveforms to see how they affect the sound. You can even change the second oscillator, it's enough that there's one noise oscillator to produce enough frequencies to substract from. You can try all kinds of weird things now to create weird, cool and fun bass/kick drum sounds, and you have much more control and finetune over it than you have in Kicker.


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