In this tutorial I will show you how to program three different sounds in Harmor.
Sound 1 might work well in a background of a Chill-Out or Ambient track for example. Sound 2 is a bit bass-heavy. It might work as a bassline in a D&B track, but you might wan’t to EQ it a bit to make sure it’s not overtaking your mix. Sound 3 is a organ style sound which could work in D&B, but maybe in a Hip Hop track as well. But as always, any sound could work in any genre.
Check audio previews below:
Here’s how to re-create the sound 1:
Open Harmor and make sure you’re in the Part A (you should be there by default).
First, we need a Sine wave. In Harmor, Timbre 1 and 2 are used as an oscillator sources. Timbre 1 generates a Saw wave by default and Timbre 2 generates Square wave. In order to hear a Sine wave, we need to edit the Harmonic Level of either Timbre 1 or 2 which can be done in the Harmonic Level envelope editor.
So now, left-click the Timbre 1 to open it’s Harmonic Level envelope editor.
By editing the Harmonic Level envelope and/or the Harmonic Phase envelope you can basically create ANY waveform in Harmor.
Sine wave can be achieved by leaving only the first harmonic active by muting the rest of the harmonics. In other words, leave the level of the Harmonic 1 to 0.0dB while dropping the levels of the Harmonics 2 to 516 to INF (silence). In order to do that, use a following envelope:
Next, we need to arpeggiate this Sine wave and we are going to use a Pitch Envelope for that.
So while you’re still at the Harmor’s Envelope Editor window, set the Editor Target to Pitch and select Envelope as the Articulator. Activate the envelope by clicking the Enable envelope box. Also, enable the Tempo-based Time to sync it with the tempo. Also, make sure Snap-To-Grid is enabled for easier envelope editing. Right click the Envelope Point 1/1 and set it as Loop Start point to make the arpeggiator pattern play as a continuous loop. Then edit the envelope as follows (use left-click and drag to move envelope point and right-click to add a new point):
This kind of envelope first raises the pitch up by one octave, then drops it back to it’s initial pitch, then raises it up again by two octaves and finally drops it back to it’s initial pitch again. All of this happens in a time of 1/4 bar (that’s one beat).
Next, we are going to thicken and stereoize the sound with Unison so in the Harmor’s Unison section, set the Unison Distribution to Classic, set the Unison Order to 2 and Pitch Thickness to around 60%.
Next, we need to slide the pitch between overlapping notes and that is done by activating the Legato mode (that’s monophonic mode).
Head to the Global section of Harmor and click on the Legato switch to turn it on. (Note that the changes you make in the Global section affects to both parts – A & B – of Harmor.)
Set the slide time between the overlapping notes with the Portamento/legato Time knob in the Pitch section. Set it to around 1:00.
Next, open the Part B of Harmor and activate it by clicking the Enable switch (also, if you want, disable Part A to hear the Part B and all the changes made to it in solo).
In Part B, we are going to create a simple Saw wave pad.
As mentioned earlier, Timbre 1 is generating a Saw wave by default so leave it as is.
First, we need to transpose down the pitch of this Saw wave so head to the Pitch section and set the Frequency Divider value (the one with the yellow background) to 6. This’ll transpose the pitch of the played note down by two and a half octaves.
So now, when you hit i.e a note of middle C, the Saw wave is actually playing F two octaves lower.
If you activate the Harmor’s Part A and hit a note of middle C, you’ll hear the Part A playing C and Part B playing F# two octaves lower.
Try different pitch values for interesting harmonies. Try creating power chord for example (power chord consists of the root note and the fifth. So in practice, leave the pitch in the Harmor’s Part A to as is and set Part B’s Frequency Multiplicator to 1.4983/1. This’ll transpose the pitch up by 700 cents which is a perfect fifth. When played together, you’ll hear a power chord).
To make things sound musically right when tweaking the Harmor’s Frequency Multiplicator / Divider, use Sengpielaudio’s “Frequency Ratio to Cents” conversion chart.
Next, add some richness to the sound in the Harmonizer section.
How does the Harmonizer works? It clones and transposes the existing harmonics thus making the sound more richer.
Set the Harmonizer Mix to around 55%.
Next, thicken the sound using the Unison.
So in the Unison section, leave the Unison Distribution to Blurred, set the Unison Order to 4 and raise the Unison Pitch Thickness to around 75%.
Next, add a bit of movement to the sound by using a Phaser effect.
So in the Phaser section, set the Phaser Type to Deeper and dial the Phaser Mix knob to around 50%.
Next, smoothen the sound a bit by using a low pass filter.
So head to the Filter section and dial the Filter 1 Frequency value to around 40% (the default filter type is Crude Low Pass and that works well in this context).
Next, we need to tweak the Portamento/legato time so head to the Pitch section.
You can set the Portamento/legato time of both Harmor parts independently from each other. Set the Part B’s Portamento time a bit longer than Part A by dialing the Time knob to 5:00. This adds a bit of extra interest to the overall sound after the both parts are activated.
And now, enable the Part A and set the Part A & B Mix level to around 75%.
Ok. Final step is to add couple of effects.
In the Harmor’s Global section, go to the FX page and apply a bit of a Delay first for that slightly etheric feel. Use following settings:
- Delay Feedback mode: Ping-Pong (default) for left-right echo effect.
- Delay Input Volume: 60% to slightly increase the input level to the delay for a more audible echoes.
- Delay Feedback Level: 45% to increase the amount of echoes for a longer lasting echo effect.
- Delay Input Panning: +50% for panning the input into the delay to right. This enhances the stereo bouncing effect. Negative value pans it to the left. Either value works, this parameter just defines in which channel and how hard the bouncing starts.
Leave the other Delay settings as is.
Next, enable the Reverb for some depth and use following settings:
- Reverb Color: W+ for a more warmer reverb.
- Reverb Lowcut: 280Hz to cut off the low frequncies from the input signal. This is to reduce the appearance of possible rumble and muddiness from the reverb effect.
- Decay: 10000ms for a loooong reverb.
- Reverb Wet Volume: 40% to avoid drowning the sound into the reverb too much.
And again, leave the other settings as is.
And finally, apply compression for some extra ‘flavor’. Use following settings:
- Compression Type: Heating
- Compression Amount: 50% (default)
- Low Band: 60%
- Mid Band: 60%
- High Band: 70%
Let’s move on to sound 2.
Load a new instance of Harmor (or initialize the settings) and set the project tempo to something DNB’ish like 170 BPM (we are going to use a tempo-synced filter modulation in this sound and the project tempo partly affects how fast the modulation happens).
First, we need a Square wave so while you’re at the Part A of Harmor, set the Timbre 1 & 2 Mix level to 100% (all the way to right). As mentioned earlier, Timbre 2 generates a Square wave by default.
In the Pitch section, drop the pitch down by two octaves by setting the Frequency Divider to 4.
Next, we are going to add some ‘smack’ to the attack part of this sound by using a sudden pitch drop and that can be done in the Harmor’s Envelope Editor.
So in the Harmor’s Envelope Editor, select Pitch as the Editor Target and Envelope as Articulator. Enable the envelope, enable also Tempo-based Time and draw a following envelope:
Next step is to thicken the sound so in the Unison section, set the Unison Distribution to Classic, Unison Order to 6 and Unison Pitch Thickness to 80%.
Now, head to the Harmonizer section to richen the sound. Set the Harmonizer Mix Amount to 70%.
Next, go to the Filter section.
We need to make this thing sound like a low, rumbling pad and that can be done by dampening those higher frequencies with a low pass filter.
So in the Filter section, leave the Filter 1 Type to it’s default (Crude Low Pass) and set the Frequency value to around 10%.
Next step is to make this patch monophonic as this is going to be a type of sound that doesn’t work very well if you play chords with it. So go to the Global section and enable the Legato mode. Also, we don’t need this pad sound to slide from note-to-note so in the Pitch section, set the Legato Time to 0:00.
Next, we need to mix in a high pitched Saw wave so head to the Part B of the Harmor and enable it. (Again, disable Part A if you want to hear the Part B in solo.)
For the Saw wave, leave Timbre 1 as is.
Now, go to the Pitch section to transpose the pitch.
Set the Frequency Multiplicator to 3.0000/1. This’ll transpose the Saw wave up by one octave and seven semitones.
So now, when you play a note of middle C, you’ll hear G one octave higher.
After you activate the Harmor’s Part A and hit that middle C, you’ll hear the Part A playing C two octaves lower and Part B playing G one octave higher.
Also, leave the Legato Time as is. The sound we made in the Part A doesn’t need note-to-note sliding, but it does fit quite well to the sound we are creating in here Part B. And when played together and overlapping notes, it sounds kinda cool.
Next, we need to apply a low pass filter modulation to add that ‘swelling’ movement to the Saw wave and we are going to use LFO to control the movement.
First, you need to drop the Filter 1 Frequency value to hear the LFO controlled filter modulation in action. So head to the Filter section and set the Filter 1 Frequency value to around 15%.
Next, head to the Envelope Editor section and select Filter 1 Frequency as the Editor Target and LFO as the Articulator. Enable the LFO and also enable the Tempo-Based Time.
Use the LFO Speed knob to set the LFO speed. Set it to 002:00:000.
Next, in the Global Section, activate the Part A and set the Part A & B Mix Level to around 40%.
Now, head to the FX page for some effects.
First, the Distortion. Use following settings:
- Distortion Type: Classic
- Distortion Highcut: all the way to top (in this example, we don’t need any high frequency filtering on the distortion)
- Distortion Amount: to around 85%
Also, drop the Post-FX Main Volume in the Global Section if things are getting too loud.
(Note that I’m playing a note E-4 in the audio example below)
Next, enable the Delay and use following settings:
- Delay Feedback Mode: Ping-Pong
- Delay Feedback Level: 65%
- Delay Lowcut: 150Hz (to filter out some of the low frequencies from the delay echoes)
Leave other settings as is.
Next, enable the Compression by setting the Compression Type to Heating and use following settings:
- Compression Amount: 75%
- Low Band: 85%
- Mid Band: 65%
- High Band: 75%
Let’s move on to sound 3.
Again, set the project tempo to something DNB’ish like 160BPM (assuming you want to re-create this sound precisely like in in the example -> we are going to use Phaser effect and the project tempo affects partly to the speed of the phasing).
Next, open the Harmor.
We need a Sine wave again so in the Part A of Harmor, left-click the Timbre 1 to open the Editor window and edit the Timbre 1 Harmonic Level envelope like in the first sound example tutorial:
Next, we are going to transpose the pitch up by an octave so in the Pitch section, set the Frequency Multiplicator value to 2.0000/1.
We also need a Vibrato effect (vibrato is good for adding a little warmth to a sound). So while you’re still at the Pitch section, set the Vibrato Depth to around 25-40 cents and Speed to around 150ms. This gives us a quite mild, but fast vibrato effect.
Next, we need to mix in a Saw wave so open the Harmor’s Part B and enable it (and again, leave the Timbre 1 as is for the Saw wave).
Transpose the pitch down by one octave, so in the Pitch section, set the Frequency Divider value to 2.
Next, add some movemement with Phaser so go to the Phaser section and set the Phaser Mix to around 85-90% (leave other Phaser settings as is).
Next, apply the Harmonizer to enhance the harmonic quality. Set the Harmonizer Mix to around 40%.
Smoothen the sound a bit via low pass filter.
So head to the Filter section and set the Filter 1 Frequency value to around 70%.
Next, go to the FX page for some global effects.
First, enable Distortion and use following settings:
- Distortion Type: Classic
- Distortion Highcut: to max
- Distortion Amount: 25%
Also, in the Global section, drop the Pre-FX Main Volume a little to avoid feeding too hot signal to the FX section thus avoiding unnecessary clipping and other artifacts. Set it to -3 dB.
Next, enable the Delay and use following settings:
- Delay Feedback Mode: Ping-Pong (default)
- Delay Feedback Level: 50%
- Delay Input Panning: -70% (or 70%)
- Delay Lowcut: 150Hz
Leave other settings as is.
Next, enable the Reverb and use following settings:
- Decay: 11000ms
- Reverb predelay: 2:00 (Reverb pre-delay has many uses. It’s a way to add distance between the original signal and reverb tail to give more presence to the original signal while still maintaining that sense of space. It’s also good for a slap-back echo effect. In this example, we are using it for kind of both.)
- Reverb Highcut: OFF (We need to apply the reverb to those higher frequencies as well.)
- Reverb Lowcut: 150Hz
- Reverb Wet Volume: 40%
Leave other Reverb settings as is.
Also, in the Compression section, enable limiting by setting the Compression Type to Limiting. Limiting prevents the output from Harmor exceeding 0 dB.
Lave other Compression settings as is.
And finally, set the Part A & B Mix Level to 60% in the Global Section.
(Note: try playing chords with this sound)
The end! 😎
Watch the video version below:
Download the Harmor preset files (.FST) for these sounds below: