Qtorial 15: QSynth Harmonics & Detune Knobs!

by Abby @ Quaver on March 29, 2012

in In the Quaver Classroom!,Qtorials,QuaverMusic.com

Join me today in welcoming back the great Jeremy Ruff, QuaverMusic.com’s Website Coordinator and master of all things tech.

Today he’ll take us even deeper into the world of sound-creation with Quaver’s QSynth!

Take it away, Jeremy!


Greetings once again!

If you already read my Introduction and Amplitude posts, then you’re well on your way to becoming a QSynth master! But there are even more tips and tricks I want to show you so you can make sound waves with the best of them.  

Head to the lab and then to QSynth to follow along!

Last time I showed you how to adjust two waves in time compared with each other using the Phase knob. Today I will show you how you can use the Harmonics and Detune knobs to adjust the pitch of one tone compared with another. 

You might be asking yourself:

“Why would I want to use a knob when I could just press a different key on the keyboard?”  

Remember, the magic of using the Harmonics and Detune knobs happens when you are using two or more tones simultaneously!

Let’s try using the Harmonics knob first:

  • Open up a new QSynth sound and leave Tone 1 as it is.
  • Activate Tone 2 as well and move the Harmonics knob to the “1” position.  Whoa, look at the sound wave!
  • Use the keyboard to play a note– you’ll hear two pitches playing at once!
    • Tone 1 is playing the fundamental, and
    • Tone 2 is playing a major 3rd above it.

Different settings on the harmonics knob play different intervals – can you tell what they are?

How do you think the tone will change if you change the waveform of one of the tones?

Now let’s try the Detune knob:

The Detune knob is very similar to the Harmonics knob,  but makes very fine adjustments to the pitch of a tone.

  • In the center position, it plays exactly the pitch represented on the keyboard.
  • If you turn the knob to the left, the pitch will shift down.
  • If you turn the knob to the right, the pitch will shift up.
  • The maximum amount you can shift a tone fundamental in either direction is a half-step, but you can get really creative and detune your harmonics too!
  • You may not want to detune your tone a full half-step (unless you want some ear-shattering dissonance), try detuning a tone just a little bit.

You may find that the overall sound of your synth becomes more “full” or has a “chorus” effect.  The Detune knob can do wonders for making your synth sound stand out!

That’s all for this time!

Don’t forget to post a screenshot to Facebook and show us your wave!

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