Falcon has numerous synthesis options in addition to the classic virtual analog oscillator we have already seen. Let’s explore the FM (Frequency Modulation) synth oscillator, using one of the factory presets as a starting point:
- Open the right-hand sidebar and choose the Oscillators Tab. Expand the Synthesis folder, and drag the FM oscillator to the Mapping Editor.
- While playing a few notes, press the next or previous buttons in the oscillator module to browse the presets. Let’s choose the EP Hollow preset and build from there.
- The FM oscillator has four operators (A, B, C, and D), and each operator’s frequency is a ratio to the base note. For example, a ratio of 2.0 means the frequency is doubled, or one octave up from the base note. Whole integers and simple ratios (3/2, 4/3, etc.) create some of the more obvious harmonic relationships, but the ratios are fully adjustable and small changes can create interesting and unexpected results. Let’s set Operator C to 2.17 and Operator D to 1.17 and hear the difference.
- The operators can also be arranged in a variety of topologies. Using the same ratios, different topologies can change the sound drastically. To change the topology, press on the topology diagram in the lower right and choose a topology from the menu. For example, change the Topology from #8 to #7.
- Now that we have customized the sound source, let’s make it more dynamic by adding an arpeggiator. Switch to the Events tab, press the + button, and choose Arpeggiator.
- To load one of the factory presets, press on the Preset Menu and choose one from the menu. Let’s choose one of the sequenced pitch presets, such as Arpeggiator > Line > High Muse. Press and hold a few keys to hear the arpeggiated sequence.
- There are actually three layers to the arpeggiator: note velocity, pitch, and MIDI CC. To view the different layers, right-click the step grid and choose the layer from the menu. Let’s use the MIDI CC layer to generate a control source for modulating the FM operators. Switch to the MIDI CC layer, then press and drag across the step grid to enter step values.
- Then choose a MIDI CC for the arpeggiator to output; a general purpose MIDI CC such as 16 is a good choice.
- Switch back to the Edit view, right-click the Feedback knob, and choose MIDI Learn. In the pop-up, choose MIDI CC 16 from the menu.
Press and hold a note, and you will see the value automating in sync with the arpeggiator sequence. Let’s also slow the tempo down just a bit. Since the arpeggiator is tempo-synced, it will automatically adjust when Falcon’s tempo changes.