Learn to Use the Character Filters in 5 Easy Patches
Fizz, Rasp and Ripple are not your average filters. These FX could only exist in the digital domain, yet they achieve a quality usually reserved for analog: a unique sonic "character." And unlike classic hardware emulations, they feature some unfamiliar controls, like secondary filter cutoffs or feedback gains. So a little explanation of how to use them may come in handy.
The five simple patches below demonstrate a good approach to using the Character filters and show what makes them special. Follow the instructions below to make these sounds in The Grid, with Polymer, or even a Test Tone and Filter+.
Make a fat square bass with Fizz
A square wave emphasizes Fizz's main character. Set your oscillator to the low-mids and add some slow modulation to the filter's main cutoff. Play with its Feedback Cutoff to hear how that control makes the resonances move differently. Adjusting the Character slider adds a bit more hollowness and movement, and the alternative mode changes how the resonances react to the main and feedback cutoff modulation.
Design a formant-y voice with Rasp
Saw waves are good for getting vocal characters out of Rasp, a filter that creates additional resonances above the cutoff frequency, and Brightness Modes determine how and on what frequencies these resonances appear. The left mode (Shift, aka "The Finger") is subtle; it's inharmonic, but consistently focuses on just one partial at a time. The right mode (Gravity) is far more active, pulling resonances either away or toward the cutoff, which results in a much grander gesture. And the center mode (Double) is the default, combing the more extreme modes for a tasty middle ground.
Create an acid sound with Ripple's Wind mode
For Ripple, use a saw wave as the input, set the filter to Wind mode, and activate Tweak Feedforward. Set the feedback to positive and set the Feedback Cutoff to something starting at 500 Hz to 1Khz, then open the main filter. If you use this combination for a synth patch, you'll get a nice acid flavor out of it. The Feedback Cutoff will control the amount of "gnarl," which sounds similar to the resonance on a "normal" acid patch. That's because filters usually create resonance by using a feedback loop — the difference with these filters is that the user can control the cutoff for the feedback.
Use Earth mode for a vintage bass sound
For a saturated, vintage bass sound, switch Ripple to Earth mode. Pull down both cutoffs (the large Primary Cutoff knob and the top right Feedback Cutoff), and then it's safe to set a high Feedback value. Now we can use the filter envelope to open both cutoffs (instant attack, quick decay). Animating the Primary Cutoff helps articulate the sound. And mapping the FEG to the Feedback Cutoff gives some characteristic chirp and glide.
Generate subharmonic melodies with Ripple
To create some sub tones, turn Ripple's Feedback Gain to the negative side and set its Feedback Cutoff in the low range (60-200Hz). With a sawtooth source, the Feedback Cutoff frequency combined with which notes you play will create novel counter-melodies. If you try the same with a drum loop, it'll latch onto the bass drum or mid-range elements, creating a bassline. And these setting can even take a plain old sine wave to some drastically new places.
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