Editing and creating patches Step Sequencer

A modulation bus is used to connect a modulation source to a modulation destination. Both audio signals and control (CV) parameters are available. This creates a flexible routing system that complements the hard-wired routing in the Voice panel.

Basic operation - simple tutorial

To illustrate the basic operation of the modulation bus section, let’s set up a simple source to destination modulation assignment:

  1. Load the “Simple Analog” patch from the Template tab in the Patch load list.

    The Simple Analog patch is a 1 oscillator/1 filter setup, which produces sound when you play, and will serve the purpose of this tutorial.

    • The left half of the modulation section contains 5 columns, Source, Amount, Dest, Amount and Scale.

      Below the column headers there are 7 rows. Each row is a modulation bus where you can have a Source to Destination modulation assigned.

  2. Tap in the top row of the leftmost Source column.

    A list appears listing all available Source modulation parameters.

    The upper half of the menu contains Voice section source parameters, and the lower half contains various global play and performance-oriented source parameters and the Global Envelope, as well as the Step Sequencer, CV and Audio inputs.

  3. Tap “LFO 1” in the list.

    This means that LFO 1 is the modulation Source, and this can now be assigned to modulate a Destination parameter.

  4. Tap in the “Dest” column in the top row.

    A list appears listing all available modulation Destinations. The upper half of the menu contains Voice section destinations, and the lower half contains Global section destinations, as well as the Step Sequencer, CV and Audio outputs.

  5. Tap “Osc 1” in the list and then “Pitch” from the submenu to the right.

    This means that Osc 1 pitch is now assigned to be modulated by LFO 1. Next step is to set the amount of modulation to be applied.

  6. Touch the top row Amount column to the right of the Source column, and swipe up/down to set an Amount value.

    In this example, we set the value ‘25’.

    Both positive and negative Amount values can be set (+/- 100%).

    • If you now play a few notes you can hear the oscillator pitch being modulated by the LFO to produce vibrato.

      But the vibrato will be constant, which you probably don’t want. This is solved by assigning a Scale parameter, which allows you to assign another parameter to control the modulation Amount.

  7. Tap in the “Scale” column in the top row.

    A list appears which contains all available Scale parameters. The upper half of the menu contains Voice section parameters, and the lower half contains various play and performance-oriented parameters and the Global Envelope, as well as the Step Sequencer etc.

    A typical controller for vibrato is the Mod wheel.

  8. Tap “Performance” in the list and then “Mod wheel” from the submenu to the right.

    This means that Osc 1 pitch is now assigned to be modulated by LFO 1, and the amount of modulation is controlled by the Mod wheel. How much the Scale parameter controls the Amount is set using the “Amount” column for the top row (to the left of the Scale column).

  9. Tap in the top row Amount column and swipe up/down to set an Amount value.

    Both positive and negative Scale Amount values can be set (+/- 100%). To fully control the LFO modulation so that there is no vibrato when the Mod wheel is set to zero, set the Amount to 100%.

  10. The modulation routing is now complete!

    You now have full control over the vibrato modulation by using the Mod wheel.

About the three modulation routing types

As described in the tutorial, the principal operators of the Modulation Bus routing system are as follows:

There are three different types of modulation routing busses available in Thor:

Modulation Sources - Voice section

The following parameters can be used as Voice section modulation Sources:

Parameter Description
Voice Key Voice Key lets you assign modulation according to notes. There are 4 modes selectable from the sub-menus:
  • Note - this is keyboard tracking. If a positive Amount value is used and the destination is filter frequency, the filter frequency will track the keyboard, i.e. increase with higher notes.
  • Note2 - this works similarly to Note but within a repeated octave range. E.g. if Note2 modulates Amp Pan the pan position will move from left to right within an octave range then start over. If you play chords normally over the keyboard the effect will be that notes are randomly spread across the stereo field.
  • Velocity - this applies modulation according to velocity (how hard or soft you strike the keys).
  • Gate - this is Gate on/off. E.g. if applied to oscillator pitch you will get one pitch value (set by Amount) when a key is pressed, and another value (the unmodulated pitch) when the key is released.
Osc 1/2/3 This allows you to route the audio output from the oscillators to a destination.
Filter 1/2 This is the audio output of the filters. All filter parameters affect the destination.
Shaper This is the audio output of the Shaper module. Note that anything connected to the Shaper, e.g. Filter 1, affects the Shaper output, and thus the resulting modulation.
Amp This is the audio output of the Amp Gain section.
LFO 1 This allows you to modulate parameters with LFO 1.
Filter Envelope This allows you to modulate parameters with the Filter Envelope.
Amp Envelope This allows you to modulate parameters with the Amp Envelope.
Mod Envelope This allows you to modulate parameters with the Mod Envelope.

Modulation Sources - Global

The following parameters can be used as Global section modulation Sources:

Parameter Description
Global Envelope This allows you to modulate parameters using the Global Envelope.
Voice Mixer This allows you to modulate parameters using the Left and Right Mixer inputs.
Last Key This will apply modulation according to the last note played (monophonic), either via MIDI, or from the Step Sequencer. For example, you can use Last Key to make a filter’s frequency track notes played by the Step Sequencer.
MIDI Key

This applies modulation according to notes globally, not per-voice so in other words it is monophonic. E.g. if you use MIDI Note as Source and a self-oscillating filter’s frequency as the destination, the filter will track but you will only be able to play one voice at a time. MIDI Note is handy for transposing Step patterns in real time.
There are 3 modes selectable from the sub-menus:

  • Note - this is keyboard tracking. If a positive Amount value is used and the destination is filter frequency, the filter frequency will track the keyboard, i.e. increase with higher notes.
  • Velocity - this applies modulation according to velocity (how hard or soft you strike the keys).
  • Gate - this is Gate on/off. E.g. if applied to oscillator pitch you will get one pitch value (set by Amount) when a key is pressed, and another value (the unmodulated pitch) when the key is released.
LFO 2 This allows you to modulate parameters with LFO 2.
Performance parameters On this sub-menu you can assign the one of the standard Performance controllers to modulate/scale parameters; Mod Wheel/Pitch Bend/Breath/AfterTouch/Expression.
Modifiers This is where you assign parameters and functions to be controlled with the virtual 2 Rotary and 2 Button controls on the Controller panel.
Sustain Pedal This allows you to assign the Sustain Pedal as a modulation source.
Polyphony This allows you to apply modulation according to how many notes you play. E.g. you could have a short envelope attack when you play single notes, and a long attack when you play chords.
Step Sequencer

This allows you to apply modulation according to the settings for each step in the Step Sequencer.

On the sub-menu you can chose to apply modulation according to Gate/Note/Curve 1 and 2/Gate Length/Step Duration settings for each step.

In addition you have Start and End Trig, which sends a gate trigger at the start and end of the Step sequence, respectively.

CV Inputs 1-4 In the Reason version of Thor, there are CV inputs on the back panel which facilitates the use of external modulation sources in Thor. If connected you can freely assign the external CV to any modulation destination in Thor.
  • These don’t have any effect in Thor for iPad. However, if you want to use your patch in the Reason version of Thor, they will work as intended.
Audio Inputs 1-4 In the Reason version of Thor, there are Audio inputs on the back panel which allows you to connect external audio signals and process these using Thor parameters, or use them as modulation sources.
  • These don’t have any effect in Thor for iPad. However, if you want to use your patch in the Reason version of Thor, they will work as intended.

Modulation Destinations - Voice section

The following parameters can be used as Voice section modulation Destinations:

Parameter Description
Osc 1 There are four modulation destinations available on the Osc 1 sub-menu:
  • Pitch - this will affect oscillator pitch (frequency).
  • FM - this will frequency modulate the oscillator.

    The difference between Pitch and FM is that if a high frequency audio signal (i.e. an oscillator or an external audio signal) is the source, FM will not alter the basic pitch of the source, only the timbre. If Pitch is used both the pitch and the timbre will be affected.

  • There is also a modifier parameter, which differs depending on what oscillator type is selected. See “The Oscillator section” for details.
  • Osc 2 AM Amount - this will control AM modulation amount from Osc 2. See “About Amplitude Modulation (AM)”.
Osc 2/Osc 3 Oscillator slots 2 and 3 have the same Destination parameters as Osc 1, except that there is no AM.
Filter 1/Filter 2 The following destinations are available on the Filter 1 and 2 sub-menus:
  • Audio In - this allows you to connect an audio source (e.g. an oscillator or an external audio signal) to the filter input.
  • Frequency - this controls the filter frequency.
  • Frequency (FM) - this will apply filter frequency modulation.

    The difference between Frequency and FM is that if a high frequency audio signal (i.e. an oscillator or an external audio signal) is the source, FM will not alter the basic frequency of the source, only the timbre. If Frequency is used both the pitch and the timbre will be affected.

  • Resonance - this controls filter resonance.
  • Drive - this controls the filter’s Drive parameter.
  • Gender - this controls the Gender parameter (Formant filter only).
  • LPHPMix - this controls the LP/HP parameter (State Variable filter only).
Shaper Drive This will control the Shaper Drive parameter.
Amp The Amp section has three destinations on the sub-menu:
  • Input - this allows you to connect a source (e.g. an oscillator or an external audio signal) to the Amp input.
  • Gain - this controls the Amp Gain.
  • Pan - this controls the Pan for each voice. Modulating this parameter with for example LFO 1 means that the Pan position will modulate differently for each voice you play.
Mix The Mixer has three destinations on the sub-menu:
  • Osc 1+2 Level - this controls the level of both oscillator 1 and 2.
  • Osc 1:2 Balance - you can modulate the level balance between oscillator 1 and 2, e.g. to sweep from one oscillator to the other.
  • Osc 3 Level - this controls the level of oscillator 3.
Filter Envelope The Filter Envelope mod destinations are as follows:
  • Gate - this is the gate input of the envelope. A gate signal applied to this input will trigger the envelope.
  • Attack - this controls the Attack of the envelope.
  • Decay - this controls the Decay of the envelope.
  • Release - this controls the Release parameter.
Amp Envelope This has the same destination parameters as the Filter Envelope.
Mod Envelope This has the same destination parameters as the Filter Envelope.
LFO 1 Rate This allows you to control the LFO 1 Rate parameter.

Modulation Destinations - Global

The following Global modulation destinations are available:

Parameter Description
Portamento This allows you to control the Portamento time parameter.
LFO 2 Rate This allows you to control the LFO 2 Rate parameter.
Global Envelope The Global Envelope mod destinations are as follows:
  • Gate - this is the gate input of the envelope. A gate signal applied to this input will trigger the envelope.
  • Attack - this controls the attack time of the envelope.
  • Decay - this controls the decay time of the envelope.
  • Release - this controls the release time of the envelope.
Filter 3 The following destinations are available on the Filter 3 sub-menu:
  • Left/Right In - this allows you to connect an a source to the filter input.
  • Frequency - this controls the filter frequency.
  • Frequency (FM) - this will apply filter frequency modulation.
  • Resonance - this controls filter resonance.
  • Drive - this controls the filter’s Drive parameter.
  • Gender - this controls the Gender parameter (Formant filter only).
  • LPHPMix - this controls the LP/HP parameter (State Variable filter only).
Chorus The Chorus effect has the following destinations:
  • DryWet balance
  • Delay (time)
  • ModRate
  • ModAmount
  • Feedback
Delay The Delay effect has the following destinations:
  • DryWet balance
  • Time
  • ModRate
  • ModAmount
  • Feedback
Step Sequencer This allows you to control various parameters belonging to the Step Sequencer.
  • Trig - this enables control over the Step Sequencer Run on/off status.
  • Rate - this enables control over the Step Sequencer Rate.
  • Transpose - this enables control over the Step Sequencer base pitch. E.g. if you apply MIDI Note as a source to this parameter you can transpose the sequence by playing notes.
  • Velocity - this enables control over the Step Sequencer Velocity response.
  • Gate Length - this enables control over the Step Sequencer Gate Length response.
CV Output 1-4 In the Reason version of Thor, you can send signals to the CV outputs on the back of the device. Note that you can send CV signals to audio outputs and vice versa as well.
  • These don’t have any effect in Thor for iPad. However, if you want to use your patch in the Reason version of Thor, the routing(s) will work as intended.
Audio Output 1-4 In the Reason version of Thor, you can also send signals to audio outputs 3 and 4 on the back of the device. Note that you can send CV signals to audio outputs and vice versa as well.
  • Audio Outputs 3 and 4 don’t have any effect in Thor for iPad. However, if you want to use your patch in the Reason version of Thor, the routing(s) will work as intended.

Scale parameters

The available scale parameters are the same as the Source parameters.