Wub Wub 2.0 with Multiple LFOs
By Francis Preve
Thu, 22 Aug 2013
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In previous columns, we’ve covered using LFOs for everything from dubstep “wubs” to Dutch house sirens. So if you’ve been following along at home, you should have a solid grasp of the essentials of tempo-synced LFOs.

This month, we're going further down the rabbit hole and exploring the possibilities of using multiple synced LFOs to create hyper-rhythmic effects that can make even a basic synth patch do groovy tricks that would be hard to replicate without resorting to time-consuming automation tactics.


Application 1: Filters

 

In dubstep, it’s incredibly common to use a sine or triangle LFO—applied to filter cutoff on a bass patch—to create that classic (some might say hackneyed) wub-wub bombast. Things get way more interesting when you apply two or more different LFOs to the same filter cutoff destination, especially if you use different note-value rates and waveforms. Here I used Reason’s Thor to apply dual LFOs to its Ladder filter—one with a downward sawtooth and the other with a sine wave—then changed the tempo of the sine wave LFO as the patch played.


Application 2: Pitch

 

Using the same technique described above, I applied the two LFOs to the pitch of a single oscillator, and then varied the tempo of the sine wave again. Note: With pitch modulation, a little goes a long way, so I throttled back on the LFO amounts for each.


Application 3: Advanced Techniques

 

Once you get the hang of working with multiple LFOs, it’s time to experiment in earnest. Sticking with Thor, I created a dual-oscillator patch that relies on hard sync on oscillator 2 to create harmonic sweeps. From there, I added a sawtooth to the amplifier gain to create a retriggering effect, then played with the rate of the LFO on oscillator 2’s pitch, thus syncopating the harmonic rhythms.

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