The Step Envelope is a programmable envelope for creating time-based effects, and makes a great programmable pattern sequencer.
- A good way to understand the Step Envelope is to use it to modulate keygroup gain. Load the String Analog from the Falcon Factory soundbank.
- Right-click the Keygroup Gain knob and choose Add modulation > Keygroup > Step Envelope. Play a few notes, and you’ll hear the signal gated on the empty steps, and full volume on the steps with full bars.
- Each step doesn’t have to be fully on or fully off, however — you can continuously adjust the value of each step between the two. Adjust the value of a few steps to be half or quarter, and you will hear an effect similar to delay feedback taps. You can also apply smoothing between steps to avoid transitions that are too abrupt, pop/click, and so on.
You can also configure the number of steps, as well as the length (in hertz, or in bars/beats when the module is tempo-synced). When the Step Envelope is tempo-synced, the number of steps is often set to a multiple of the number of beats in the current time signature. However, non-multiples can result in interesting, shifting patterns that don’t obviously loop.
- To enable Temp-Sync for the Step Envelope click the sync icon in the Modulation Header.
Tempo-syncing can be especially helpful if the envelope is modulating pitch, as can be the Bipolar option. Enabling Bipolar mode puts zero in the center and values can step above to +1 or below to -1. To set the pitch range for the envelope, adjust the modulation ratio. For example, with a ratio of +12 and the Bipolar option enabled, the envelope with modulate ±1 octave (12 semitones).
- You can also create LFO-like patterns that glide smoothly from step to step. With Interpolation Mode set to Spline, a continuous line is interpolated from the individual bars, creating a continuously variable modulation source that’s suited for pitch sweeps, wobbles, and so on.
Be sure to explore the Step Envelope preset folders, as they contain over 1,000 ready-to-use patterns!