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Tutorial: How to Create and Edit Your First Patch

In this tutorial you will learn how to create your first AudioMulch patch. A patch is a network of sound-creating and processing modules called contraptions. You need to know how to make a patch in order to create sound in AudioMulch, so this tutorial is useful for everyone. You will learn about the main components of the patch, how to create and connect them, and how to get a sound out of your patch. You will also learn how to adjust the sounds you make and how to process sound by adding another contraption to the patch.

Stage one: creating a simple patch with the TestGen contraption

The first part of this tutorial focuses on creating a simple patch with a TestGen contraption, which is one of AudioMulch's Signal Generator contraptions. Signal Generators make their own sound, so this is an easy way to get started as you don't have to import sound into the program from elsewhere.

How to create and connect contraptions

First, create your contraptions for the patch:
  1. Find the TestGen contraption in the Contraptions Palette. The Contraptions Palette is on the left of the Patcher Pane. It contains a list of all the AudioMulch contraptions. You'll find the TestGen in the Signal Generators category.

  2. Drag a TestGen into the Patcher Pane.

  3. In the Patcher Pane there should already be a SoundOut contraption. If not, drag one across from the Contraptions Palette (it's listed in the Input / Output category).

Next, we will connect the contraptions. This allows audio to flow from the output of the TestGen contraption to the input of the SoundOut. From there the SoundOut routes the audio to your computer's audio output.

Connect the TestGen contraption to the SoundOut contraption:
  1. Click on the output at the bottom of the TestGen and drag a patch cord to the left input of of the SoundOut contraption with the mouse.

  2. Repeat, this time dragging from the TestGen output to the right input of the SoundOut.

You have now created your first patch! You won't be able to hear any sound yet. To do that you'll have to turn up the volume of the TestGen contraption. We'll do that next.

Note: it doesn't matter where your contraptions are located in the Patcher Pane. As long as the patch cords are connected in the same way as shown in the picture above, the patch will function in the same way.

Controlling contraption parameters with the Property Editor

In this section you'll learn how to open a contraption's Property Editor so you can control the sound you make with the patch. Property Editors have controls you can adjust to change the contraption's sound. These controls include knobs, sliders, control arrows, number edit boxes, and buttons.

Most contraptions have a Property Editor. Buses and AuxIn/AuxOut contraptions don't have Property Editors as they don't have properties to edit.

Open TestGen's Property Editor:
  • Double-click on the TestGen contraption in the Patcher Pane. A Property Editor will open for the contraption in the Properties Pane


Note: You can use this method to open the Property Editor for any contraption.

Adjusting contraption parameters

Let's now try adjusting some of the controls on the Property Editor and see what changes they make to the sound.

First, adjust the volume knob:
  • Click the mouse pointer over the knob and drag the knob upwards so that you can hear the sound.

Note: Dragging upwards on a knob increases whatever value it controls, while dragging downwards decreases it. In this case the volume is increased or decreased but other knobs control different properties.

If you can't hear any sound coming from your computer, visit the Troubleshooting: What to do if You Can't Hear Anything page of this Help File for some tips.

TestGen is a contraption that generates its own sound. It can produce a sine wave (Sine), or white noise (Noise). A newly created TestGen defaults to the Sine setting.

Change the type of sound TestGen is making:
  • Click the button to the left of Noise. Now you can hear that the sound has changed to white noise.

When TestGen is generating a sine wave you can also change its frequency.

Change the frequency of the sound:
  1. First, switch the TestGen back to generating a Sine wave by clicking on the button to the left of Sine.

  2. To the right of the Sine button is a number edit box. It displays the current frequency in Hz (Hertz). Next to this is a button with up-and-down arrows on it.

  3. Click-and-drag the pointer up and down over the arrow button to change the frequency up or down. The number edit box will display the new frequency in Hz (Hertz).

Note: The number edit box displays the value of the parameter. You can type a new value into this box, or you can drag on the up-and-down arrows to change the value. Dragging upwards increases whatever value it controls, while dragging downwards decreases it. In this case the frequency is raised or lowered when the numbers are increased or decreased.

Finding out more about the contraptions you're using

You can find out more about the contraptions you use by clicking on the ? button on the title bar (top) of the Property Editor. This will open the Help File page for that contraption.

Saving your work

To save your work:
  1. Open the File menu and choose Save As...
  2. Navigate to where you want to save your work
  3. Name your .amh (AudioMulch) document by typing a file name in the text box
  4. Click on the Save button
  • When you save a document, you save all the parameter settings for that document.
  • To save your work again when you are working on the same document later, open the File menu and choose Save.
  • To open a document later, open the File menu, choose Open..., and navigate to the document on your computer. Double-click on the document to open it.

Moving and closing Property Editors

You can also hide (close) and move Property Editors.

To hide a Property Editor: Click on the X button on the title area of the Property Editor (at the top of the Property Editor). The Property Editor will be hidden.

To move a Property Editor: Click on the title area and drag the Property Editor around the Properties Pane.

Stage two: adding another contraption to the patch to process the sound

In this section of the tutorial you will learn how to add another contraption (a Flanger) to the patch, which you will use to process sound from the TestGen contraption.

How to set up the new patch

First, disconnect the patch cords from your first patch:
  1. Click on the left patch cord to select it. The patch cord will appear thicker when selected.

  2. Press DELETE on the keyboard. The patch cord will disappear.

  3. Repeat steps 1. and 2. for the right patch cord. There should be no patcher cords left between the contraptions.

Next, create a Flanger contraption:
  1. Find the Flanger contraption in the Contraptions Palette. You'll find the Flanger in the Effects category.
  2. Drag it into the Patcher Pane.

Connect the Flanger to the other contraptions:
  1. Click on an output at the bottom of TestGen and drag a patch cord to the input on top of the Flanger contraption.
  2. Now drag two patch cords from the bottom of the Flanger to the left and right inputs of the SoundOut contraption.

Your completed patch should look something like this:

The sound output from TestGen is now being processed by the Flanger. Switch the TestGen to output Noise. You should be able to hear the effect of the Flanger filter repeatedly sweeping across the noise.

Exploring contraption parameters

Open the Flanger's Property Editor:
  • Double-click on the Flanger contraption in the Patcher Pane. The Flanger's Property Editor will open in the Properties Pane

You'll notice that there are different kinds of controls on the Flanger's Property Editor. There are sliders (Rate, Feedback, Wet/dry mix) and a range slider (Range). You can use sliders to control a single parameter value. Range sliders function similarly to sliders, except you use them to control both the minimum and maximum of a range of values.

To change the value of a slider:
  • Click-and-drag the pointer left or right anywhere on the control. Horizontal sliders have the minimum value at the left and the maximum at the right.

To move the range slider:
  • Click-and-drag left or right anywhere in the background of the range slider. Both the minimum and maximum slider thumbs move simultaneously in the same direction.

To move the minimum and maximum values independently:

  • Click the pointer directly over the desired slider thumb and drag it left or right.

Try experimenting with the sliders on the Flanger and see what new sounds you can make.

Try the following:
  • Increase the Rate control: move the slider towards the right. This makes the sweep repeat faster.
  • Decrease the Rate control: move the slider towards the left. This makes it sweep slower.
  • The Range control determines the limits of the frequency sweep. Change the upper and lower limits of the sweep by adjusting the thumbs individually, or by dragging them both at once (see instructions in the table above).

You can read more about the Flanger and its other parameters on its Help File page. Click on the ? button in the title area of the Flanger's Property Editor to open the page directly.

Note: clicking on the ? button on any contraption's Property Editor will take you to the Help File page for that contraption. This is a quick way to find out more about a contraption while you're working.

Exploring Further

In this tutorial you've learned how to create contraptions and connect them together to make patches that generate and process sound. You've also learned how to use contraption Property Editors to change properties that affect the sound of each contraption. Now you've learned the basics, you can explore further.

To see some patches other people have made with AudioMulch, check out the Example Files directory in AudioMulch. To open the directory, go to the File menu, select Open, and double-click on the Examples folder. Start with the Basic Examples files first, then progress later to the Applied Examples. You can read descriptions of these files in Guide to the Example Files.

To build further on the patches you've created in this tutorial, try substituting other contraptions from the effects category for the Flanger, or other contraptions from the SignalGenerators category for the TestGen.

Read on to the next page, Contraptions: What They are and What They Do, to learn about the different types of contraptions in AudioMulch.

You can find out more about the individual contraptions and what they do by clicking on the ? button on the contraption's Property Editor. This will open the Help File page for that contraption.

See Also

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