Tip of the Week 7: Use All LFOs and Modulations

You will be aware of the volume ADSRs and most likely the cut-off ADSRs. But did you realise many synths also allow you to control other parameters with the envelopes? Likewise, there are LFOs both built into synths and in the modulation section of your DAW which allow you to modulate your synth.

While it is often ok for the tone of the synth to remain exactly the same after the initial envelope, for more interesting sounds, add a few gentle modulation parameters. They don't have to be wild but a gentle volume modulation combined with a slow pitch wobble can make a huge difference in the sound and expression of the sound.

My favourite Free Synth is T Force Alpha Plus, with
a brilliant modulation and envelope section,
it can control pretty much every parameter.

Try modulating the panning of each OSC to make a wider sound with a dynamic, moving, spacial element. Add some grit by engaging some bit-crusher at the attack of the note, or by slowly increasing the distortion as the note length increases.

If you want to be really out there, you could modulate a parameter within the synth and then apply an external LFO that controls the modulation rate inside the synth, for a constantly changing speed. This can be good for parameters that won't clash with the timing of the music. Try a slow LFO controlling a fast one and vice versa for the best results.