Yearly Archives: 2007

Skreamism vol 4: Jam Jarre spotted in the wild

The Jam Jarre preset in the Blue Matrix ensemble is sometimes used as a benchmark test for Reaktor performance on a new system. Most Reaktor heads are pretty familiar with the sound.

Well now dubstep luminary Skream has released a 12 with an awfully familiar sound as the backbone of one track (click on track 02).

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal.(*) It’s no more shameful than the ubiquitous sampling that goes on in all kinds of electronic music. And to be fair, Blue Matrix is something of a bear to program, so why not use the presets? Sure sounds nice in the right context, doesn’t it?

(* who said that? I did. It was me.)

Scaling Values

Oh, I’m not going to let this place die off and go dormant. Hello again. šŸ˜‰

Sometimes you’re going to want to create a control with a nonlinear taper. This can be handy for controlling the frequencies of an LFO, for adjusting the smoothness of a granular sampler, and lots of other applications where you want to taper off to very fine values without cursing at your mouse and getting wrist strain.

Here, I’ve created a macro that scales the output of a knob that goes from zero to one, and connected the output to a numeric display. I’ve duplicated the macro a few times so you see how it handles values:

And what is the magical mechanism that produces this effect? It’s a simple multiplier module:

So the output is merely the input multiplied by itself, or squared. Don’t go all math phobic on me now. This is easy stuff. You’re looking at Y = X² which is a formula that creates a parabolic curve:

That’s what it looks like in an XY scope. Here’s the guts of the XY scope displaying the pretty curve:

Fire up Reaktor and build the scope mechanism yourself. It’s pretty straightforward. Make sure the settings on the XY module are as follows:

Object type should be “scope”, you don’t want any cursor, and the fade time should be 80 or thereabouts. Set the XY control to “always active” on the gears tab. So what happens if you multiply the value by itself three times instead of twice – cubing it? Try it and see what happens to the curve.

Converting Pitch to Hz

A reader asks:

I was wondering if you knew of a way within Reaktor to display pitch, and other frequencies, in Hz instead of the arbitrary units that most macros use. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Native Instruments didn’t include the option to view these parameters in Hz.

Good question! Actually, they did, but it’s not an option in a checkbox somewhere – you use a P to F math module. Here’s how you’d use it:

The Numeric display module shows the frequency in Hz.

There’s a complementary module that does the opposite conversion, from Hz to the (generally speaking) 0 to 127 pitch range used by Reaktor’s primary level oscillators.