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10 Sound Design Tips: Arturia Mini V3

Sound Design

1. Unison VS Detune

The Mini V3 allows for two ways of creating a supersaw:

One is available only in the Monophonic mode and is accessed by the Unison switch at the top. Depending on how big the “Poly” value is at the bottom of the screen, the synth will generate a supersaw that consists of that many voices. You can then decide how much you want the voices to be detuned by using the “Voice Detune” knob. This technique works for huge bass or lead sounds, but won’t give you access to polyphony.

To design a polyphonic supersaw you use a few oscillators and detune them manually. You can detune oscillators 2 and 3 by RIGHT clicking on the “Coarse pitch” knob (middle knob in the Oscillator section) and dragging it up and down. If you use two or more oscillators detuned slightly differently, you get a wide supersaw sound. Unfortunately there’s no way to make a polyphonic supersaw which consists of more than 3 voices, but that’s how it was back in the day.

2. Oscillator Sync

The first oscillator in Mini V3 doesn’t have a Coarse Pitch knob, has a Sync button instead. When switched on, the tuning of all oscillators will be determined by Oscillator 1. In this mode oscillators 2 and 3 control only the harmonics of oscillator 1. Try this mode with two oscillators set to the same octave and manipulating the tune of the second oscillator. This should give you slight alterations of the sound which can give interesting results.

3. Oscillator 3 as LFO

In the Minimoog using Oscillator 3 was the only way of creating LFO modulation. Even though the Mini V3 has a separate LFO module, it’s still possible to go oldschool and use the third oscillator as the source of LFO modulation. You can assign the third oscillator to control the pitch of all oscillators using the “Oscillator Modulation” switch or to control the cutoff frequency using the “Filter Modulation” switch next to the filter section. To control the rate of OSC 3 as LFO, use the OSC 3 Coarse Pitch knob. Make sure to disable the oscillator in the mixer section to avoid the low frequency sound coming out of it. You may want use the third oscillator in “LO Mono” mode - this way you the oscillator will always generate the same frequency, no matter how many notes you play in unison. It’s also important to note that when you play higher notes the OSC 3 will naturally generate faster LFO rates, which is the main difference between using it versus the separate LFO module. You can turn it off by disabling the “OSC 3 Ctrl” switch so that the LFO generates the same rate every time.

4. Monophonic Play Mode

When playing multiple notes at the same time in monophonic mode, you can set which note Mini V3 is going to play. You can access this function at the bottom of the synth window. The options are: “High” - which plays the highest note (could be useful for doubling the top note of a chord progression), “Low” - which plays the lowest note (could be useful for creating a bassline from the bottom note of a chord progression without changing the MIDI), “Last” - which plays the last pressed note.

5. Legato Switch: Glide

The Mini V3’s “Legato” switch has 3 positions: Off, On and Glide. What is the Glide option for if we already have a Glide switch? Turns out that in the Glide position the synth will glide only if the notes played overlap (are played in legato). You can use this option to avoid gliding between every note, for example when designing a lead sound.

6. Where is the release knob?

Both filter and amp envelopes in Mini V3 have no release knobs. The release is enabled in the lower left corner of the synth with the “Decay” switch. In this mode, the Decay knobs control both the decay of the sound and the added release. Unfortunately there’s no way of controlling the release separately - but that’s the way the original Minimoog was designed.

7. The A-440 Switch

The original Minimoog was mostly meant to be a live performance synthesizer. The problem was that that sometimes on tour the synthesizer would go out of tune becuase the global “Tune” knob would slightly change position. To prevent the synth from playing out of tune with other musicians, Bob Moog introduced the “A-440” reference oscillator. It would generate a triangle wave at 440 Hz which is the A note. Thanks to this, it got easy to tune the oscillator - all it took is to turn on this reference sound and an oscillator and tweak the global “Tune” knob until both sounds stop “beating” against each other. In the Mini V3 however there’s no need to do that because you can reset the global “Tune” knob by double clicking on it - just like every other knob in the synth.

8. Motion Recorder

The Mini V3’s Motion Recorder doesn’t in fact record anything. It allows you to create custom LFO curves, either by drawing them or using waveform shapes. It’s useful if you’d like to achieve an LFO sound that is not shaped like a sine or saw. The Motion Recorder can hold up to 4 custom shapes, all of which you can assign to a different destination.

9. Vocal Filter

The Mini V3’s Vocal Filter allows you to shape your sound as a wovel. In the middle of it there’s a dot which expanded allows you to emphasize the sound on a certain wovel. Try dragging it around and notice how the sound changes when you get closer to a certain wovel. The Q knob changes the band width of all wovel filters - it produces a thin sound similar to a whistle if set to high values. The Vocal Filter has also an LFO function which moves the middle dot around the circle when expanded. You can also move the wovels around to change the order when using the LFO or skip some wovels completely by moving them outside the circle.

10. Filter Self-Oscillation

Although the Mini V3 doesn’t have a sinewave oscillator, it’s possible to create one with the filter. To do this you need to enable an oscillator and crank the Filter Emphasis. At some positions of the Filter Cutoff you’re going to get a resonant sinewave. Now if you disable the oscillator and enable both Keyboard Control switches you can play the sinewave! Tune it using the Cutoff Frequency, and if you need a reference A note just turn on the A-440 reference tuner.



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