Next we’re going to look at the Global Shell section of Operator:
First thing you see on the left of the Global Shell is the current Algorithm. It looks like four squares stacked on top of each other. With the Global Shell selected, the Operator Display will show a list of eleven Algorithm options. The squares in each algorithm image represent the four oscillators in the oscillator section. What you’re doing when you choose an algorithm is setting how the oscillators interact with one another – how they modulate each other.
What is modulation?
Modulation is essentially having one parameter control or affect another parameter. Modulation in this case is the process of varying one waveform (one signal) with another waveform (a different signal). You don’t need to worry about understanding modulation quite yet, but do understand that modulation is used to create more complex sounds.
If you look at the image below, the algorithm on the far left is selected and it works like this: the signal flow is always from top to bottom, and the line drawn between two oscillators means that the one above modulates the one below. So the top oscillator (D) modulates the second from the top (C), which in turn modulates the one below that (B), which modulates the bottom oscillator (A).
It may sound confusing right now, so we’re going to start with the simplest algorithm on the far right:
With this algorithm selected, none of the oscillators modulate each other.
Next to the algorithm parameter is the time parameter.
The time parameter acts as a global control to speed up or slow down all envelopes. Dialing it into the positives lengthens the envelopes, and negatives shorten the envelopes. This can be useful for live jamming as well as getting a drastically different use out of a sound patch you’ve designed.
With some of the envelope settings we used earlier, try adjusting the time parameter and listen to how it changes the sound.
The last two parameters on the right are Tone and Volume. Volume is straight forward, as it controls the output volume of the whole instrument. Tone, on the other hand, shapes the timbre of your patch. – Higher settings will allow higher frequencies, creating brighter sounds.