Any signal can be expressed in terms of a few parameters: frequency, phase, amplitude and timbre. It is through modulation of these aspects that synthesists create electronic sound. With Generate 3, it is now possible to create a signal and control all its parameters by through-zero modulation within a single 12 HP wide module.
Everything starts with the exceptionally precise triangle-core voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) at the module’s heart. Through-zero linear frequency modulation (FM) enables rich yet pitch-stable FM sounds, by allowing the oscillator to run backwards into ‘negative frequencies’.
The resultant triangle wave is then processed by the through-zero phase modulator, providing a total phase shift range of 900°. Phase modulation offers an interesting alternative for FM, as it enables deep FM-type tones without actually changing the oscillation frequency.
The timbre of a signal is determined by its harmonic content. This full set of harmonics can be grouped into three main parts: the fundamental, even and odd harmonics. Generate 3’s harmonics generator separates out these three timbral ‘channels’. By adjusting their relative amplitudes, a vast array of different waveforms can be created, including but not limited to the classic sine, saw and square waves.
While the amplitudes can be adjusted manually, each timbral channel supports through-zero amplitude modulation, also known as balanced or ring modulation. When audio-frequency modulation signals are applied, the harmonics become ‘split’, enriching the spectrum.
In addition to all the usual analogue synthesis techniques, the extensive set of modulation options makes Generate 3 especially suited for exploring multiphonic synthesis: a monophonic source creating a complex timbre, much like throat singing, yet by electronic means.