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Other ways to create modulation on the Blackbox

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  • Other ways to create modulation on the Blackbox

    In the absence of internal modulation on the Blackbox, I’ve found other ways to create organic movement for samples and loops. I use the tricks all the time now and while they may seem simple, they make a substantial difference for me, at least.

    **FORWARD AND REVERSE**
    When you apply looping on a sample, not a clip, you can let the loop move forward and in reverse as it reaches its end. This is especially useful for loops that don’t need to be in sync, such as ambience, textures, drones and stuff and makes them float above the track structure, adding an organic layer of their own.

    **GO GRANULAR**
    The granular mode is very basic, but it does add a lot to the variety of especially a loop’s texture if you tear a sample apart and let it loop like above. The additional filth added by the granular mode combined with free looping, adds even more movement and variation to anything that doesn’t need to stay on the beat.

    **ONE SAMPLE, MULTIPLE SEQUENCES**
    The sequences can be quantised to start and stop on very specific steps, or hold until the next bar, and anything in between. When in Song mode, if you record a collection of sequences and apply more than one sequence to a sample - say a kick or a hat - and shift between those sequences, you can get very complex polyrhythms going, especially if each sequence has its own step count and time signature.

    **LOOPS IN SONG MODE**
    When in Song mode, don’t forget that samples stretch over each section in the song mode as long as you’ve set them to loop. Especially for longer, evolving stuff, this is a great way to use the Song mode to not create a linear structure, but rather a batch of sequences where some are unique for each section in the Song mode and some play across the sections. So if you got a long, sweeping pad or a lead that ties it all together, but just want to mess things up with everything that’s going on around - beats, bass, textures, whatnot - the Song mode adds additional variation (and mayhem) to getting a track to feel unpredictable in an interesting way.

    **ENVELOPES AND FADE POINTS**
    Don’t underestimate the combination of the envelopes and loop fade points when it comes to just creating shifts in amplitude. While these would be more predictable when you launch a sample from the sequencer, it still adds a lot of movement. And if you’re clip launching live, it does a lot to add to the feeling of natural movement within a track.


  • #2
    I personally resample my sequences in loop while changing parameters in order to create modulations.

    The sequences don’t necessary come from the BB (very usually from an iPhone or iPad app, a Microfreak, the NTS-1 or my Sub-25).

    They’re not editable like in a DAW but that’s good enough for me.

    I basically start by creating a projects just to generate my modulated loops and their variants then I use this set of loops to create my actual track.

    Resampling myself is a big source of creativity for me.

    Also I tend to start some beats and variations of themselves and sometimes they don’t become a track immediately, so I just put them in a library then someday they become something.
    Last edited by jayneural; 11-24-2020, 12:06 AM. Reason: Typos

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    • #3
      Yep, I tend to approach this in the same way. Even a short 16 step loop, I can sample over 64 bars, applying live tweaks on the loop as I record it. While it's not endless like proper modulation would be, I'm not sure the difference matters when the take is so long.

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      • #4
        A tip when using the resampling method I described to emulate modulation.

        You can use the "Rec Quant" parameter with a high value in order to give yourself some time to go to the right screen and apply the parameters.

        Even easier of course if you are using a "MIDI learned" external controller to record your automations.

        An actual LFO and/or automation lanes wouldn't be overkill for this product though

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        • #5
          Today, with, 1.7. and velocity editing, I will once again embark on my quest of achieving editable, quasi-continuous filter sweeps/modulations, using a 128 slice grid on a 1bar or half bar loop.

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          • jayneural
            jayneural commented
            Editing a comment
            Heh would be a dream.
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