Future Music

Programmin­g a thick, buzzy drone with Pro-1’s external input



The original Pro One was quite famously used in a slathering of industrial tracks by bands like Skinny Puppy, Cabaret Voltaire and Nitzer Ebb. The thick, cutting texture of the oscillator­s paired with the complex modulation­s possible made it quite easy to create other-worldly sounds.


For this sound, we’re going to make use of the Pro-1’s patch points on the top of the panel.

This lets us do some routing that wasn’t possible on the original. To start, let’s turn on Osc A’s square wave, with the pulse width set to around 7 and the octave switch set to 1.


Turn both square/triangle waves on for Osc B, with the pulse width set to 5.5. Set frequency to 0 and octave to 1. For this sound, we’ll use the Pro-1’s drone switch, which sets the oscs to drone on no matter what the release knob is set to. We’ll also use the repeat function Play Mode; flip that on too.


In the filter section, set cutoff to 1.5, resonance to 0.5, envelope amount to 3.5, and keyboard amount to 5. The filter envelope settings here are particular­ly important – attack is set to just under 1, decay to 2.5, sustain to 2.5, and release around 6.


To add more harmonics and grit, we’ll patch the audio out back into the external input in the mixer. Watch your overall volume as you do this, as it’ll increase significan­tly. Start with the noise/ext knob at 0 and bring it up slowly, noticing how much overdrive is immediatel­y introduced to the signal.


In the modulation matrix, let’s assign the output of Osc B to directly modulate the frequency of Osc A. Set the amount to 8 and you’ll hear a slow bubbling rise from the lower frequencie­s and rip across the frequency range. The speed at which this happens is controlled by the LFO.


We’ll route the LFO directly to the filter cutoff to add movement to our drone. Start with the LFO at slower speeds, 1 or 2, and then experiment with raising the LFO rate to around 5 or 6. You’ll notice the sound begin to fold in on itself, creating rich odd-order harmonics that approach ring modulation.


We’ve got the LFO set to the sawtooth wave and glide set to around 5 for this example. When changing notes, instead of snapping to the next patch, the entire drone slowly shifts to the next pitch, adding to the eeriness of the sound.

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