OK folks. Here it is:

Picture 1

That’s right. Operator in it’s default state is my favorite preset. When I need a sound fast to get an idea down, it’s almost always where I start. A few thoughts about why:

It’s a freakin sine wave, with full sustain (meaning the note sustains as long as you hold down the key). If you can’t compose a melody or a bass line with a sine wave, then you can’t compose a melody. No, it’s not going to work for your skull pulverizing dubstep robot ninja assassin sound. We’ll get to that later.

Most presets are just too darn complicated. You can make great music with simple sounds. In fact, for some applications, simple sounds are far better than complicated ones. Patches that sound completely incredible by themselves often don’t work as well when mixed with other instruments.

Enough philosophizing. Here’s a few simple tweaks to get you on your way.

If the sine wave is too dark for your needs, turn up oscillator B:

Picture 2

We’re not going to get into a whole discussion of FM synthesis right now, but suffice to say that turning this knob makes the waveform more complex and adds harmonics.

If the sound is too strident and needs some ambience, put a delay after it:

Picture 3

If the sound is too mushy and needs a more percussive attack, crank up the level of oscillator B (shown above), and adjust it’s volume envelope to look like this:

Picture 4

Now the brightness of this oscillator is just a very short blast of sound that helps to define the attack. If you’re new to programming Operator, it’s very important to notice that oscillator B is highlighted in white above. You have to click on it first to reveal it’s parameters in the center display.

OK, that’s all for now. More simple synth programming in the coming days…