SawSquare Oscillator Type

You'll find SawSquare in the Type menu in the Oscillator section of each voice page. This menu controls the waveform which produces the sound for each of Crystal's 3 voices. You'll notice that the menu is divided into sections. The upper section has synthesized waveforms and the lower section has sampled waveforms. The synthesized waveforms give you more control over the sound, but the sampled waveforms, since they are sampled from nature, are more complex.

If you've added your own samples to Crystal you'll see a third section on this menu which contains your samples. To learn more about this feature in Crystal, see the SoundFont section of the Crystal users guide (and there will be a future tutorial on this topic).

Try this: select one of the "Unused" presets at the end of Crystal's preset menu. Select the "Voice 1" page using the tabs at the top of the window. Choose "SawSquare" from the Type menu in the Oscillator section of the page. Now play a note. Notice the traditional square wave sound?

Like many things in Crystal, the SawSquare oscillator type provides a non-traditional approach to getting unique sounds. Conventional synthesizers offer a square wave and a sawtooth wave, or perhaps more than one kind of each of these two types of waves. Crystal offers an infinite variety of combinations of these two basic waveforms.

The Pulse Mix slider controls the blending of sawtooth to square. When this slider is all the way down (to the left), the waveform is a sawtooth. When it is all the way up, the type is square. In between values give you hybrid waveforms which blend these two basic waveforms.

Try this: Make sure you've got the Type set to "SawSquare" and turn the Pulse Mix slider all the way down and play a note. Note the buzzy, agressive sound you normally associate with a sawtooth? That's Crystal's special analog-style sawtooth. You can watch Crystal's oscilloscope and see the jagged shape of the waveform which gives it its name.

Now turn the Pulse Mix all the way up and play a note. Hear the hollow, woody sound of a square wave? Here's a cool thing about Crystal though: Move the Pulse Mix slider to values in between these two extremes and you can get an infinite variety of sawtooth/square hybrid waveforms.

One fun thing you can do with square waves is to vary the width of the square part, or "pulse" of the waveform. That's what the Pulse Width slider is for. Turn the Pulse Mix slider all the way up and try moving the Pulse Width slider to different positions. When it is near the middle, you'll get a thin, reedy sound. When it all the way up or all the way down. you'll get a woody, hollow sound. Note that with Crystal you get a different kind of hollow sound when the Pulse Width slider is all the way up compared to when it is all the way down.

A great way to use the Pulse Width is to modulate it with an LFO. This gives a chorus-type effect to the sound. Try the "Saddest Strings" patch in the "Pads" section of the preset menu. This is simply two detuned voices, each playing a square wave which has a modulated Pulse Width. (See the Voice Copying tutorial to learn about detuned voices here. )