> Step by step Getting started with AudioThing The Orb CM
1 To install The Orb CM on your system, download the PC/Mac installers from vault.computermusic.co.uk (register issue 241), or find them on the cover DVD that comes with the print edition of this magazine. Double-click the installer for your system and follow the simple procedure to install. 2 Open your DAW, then load up an instance of The Orb CM as an insert effect over a harmonically-rich sound. Under its futuristic blue hood, the plugin uses a formant filter (a trio of zerofeedback parallel band-pass filters) to mimic the resonances of the human mouth. Crank Mix up to 100%, so we only hear the filtered signal. 3 The Orb CM’s main centre sphere is divided into five segments, each representing a vowel. To filter your sound, simply click and hold on the dot, then drag it around the orb. For now, keep the dot’s range of motion within the bottom segment (the ee vowel) as you sweep it about. Hear the distinctive “eee” filtering effect we’re creating? That’s formant filtering, folks! 4 Each of the orb’s five vowel segments can be changed to one of ten vowel types – ah, e, ee, u,o, i, ae, aw, a and er – by clicking on the vowel name and selecting one from the dropdown menu. Here, we’ll click our bottom ee vowel header and change it to the er option for… er… an er effect! 5 The dot’s distance from the orb’s outer edge determines the filters’ Emphasis (ie, resonance) amount: keep the dot in the centre, and the filter sounds like a regular band-pass type; drag the dot to the orb’s edge, and the filter takes on a sharp, nasal, vowel-like timbre. 6 Now click and sweep the dot from our bottom er segment to one of the adjacent segments (u or e) – keep the dot along the outer edge for maximum Emphasis to hear the obvious voice-like effect. Notice how the transition between different vowels is pretty smooth? Well, the Smooth dial determines how smooth: 0% gives a harsh, stepped transition; while 100% gives seamless interpolation. 7 The bottom-centre Gain dial (-inf to +12dB) sets the formant filter’s gain, and Mix (0-100%) lets you blend between the dry and filtered signal. Keeping the Mix at the max 100% really thins a sound out, so if you want to dial back its effect, set a low Mix of 10-20%, then crank up the filtered signal’s Gain until the filtered signal adds an extra dimension to the dry signal. 8 The Orb CM’s resonant formant filtering can get pretty wild, causing jumps in level now and then – so the plugin has an output Limiter to prevent overshoots, which is toggled via the top More dropdown. Either side of that is a
Random button for randomising all settings, and an On/Off switch for bypassing the plugin.