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BEAST/BSE Quickstart Guide

This guide attempts to give a few brief hints for new users, in order to get started with the most basic tasks that can be accomplished with Beast.

First Start At Synthesis

The most basic task Beast is able to accomplish is the creation of new musical sounds which is done by using a variety of music producers, called “Modules”. Forming a network of multiple modules to create a new sound is most generally being refered to as “Synthesis”.

Creating A Synthesizer Network

  1. Select ``/Project/Add Custom Synthesizer`` from the menu to create a new network.
  2. In the newly created synthesizer network Unnamed, on the notebook page Properties, enable the Auto Activate property to enable automated playback of this network.
  3. Select the Routing notebook page.

Creating And Connecting Synthesis Modules

The synthesis network routing editor allowes for creation of synthesis modules, establishing connections between module inputs and outputs, and for adjustment of a module's parameter set.

Here's how to setup a very simple test case:

  1. Create two modules by selecting them from either the pallete window or from the Button-3 popup menu of the Routing notebook page and then clicking into the routing area. The two modules you need are BsePcmOutput and BseStandardOsc.
  2. Connect the Audio Out output channel of the oscillator to the input channels Left Audio In and Right Audio In of the output module.

Starting And Stopping Playback

Playback of a Beast project can be started or restarted by selecting the menu item ``/Project/Play``. Similarly, playback is halted by selecting ``/Project/Stop``.

Setting Up Songs

To be able to playback songs with Beast, synthesis instruments have to be created which are used to playback the notes contained in the parts of a song. Songs are created through the menu by selecting ``/Project/New Song``.

What Is A Synthesis Instrument?

A synthesis instrument is a special kind of synthesizer network, it has particular properties:

  • A synthesis instrument doesn't need to have its Auto Activate property enabled. That's because the song using the instrument will take care of activating it when neccessary.
  • A dedicated module type is used as input to the synthesis instrument so information about the note to be played can be fed into it.
  • A dedicated module type is used as output of the synthesis instrument to jointly compose the sound output together with other synthesis instruments being used.

Creating A Synthesis Instrument

Here is how to create a simple synthesis instrument with one oscillator producing the basic tone, an envelope to control a note's volume, and an amplifier to adjust overall volume and apply the envelope to the oscillator.

  1. Select ``/Project/New Custom Synthesizer`` from the menu.
  2. Switch to the networks's Routing notebook page.
  3. Create an BSeInstrumentInput and an BseInstrumentOutput module.
  4. Create the three modules making up the actual instrument: a BseStandardOsc, a BseSimpleADSR (the envelope) and an BseAmplifier.
  5. To control the oscillating frequency, and to trigger the oscillator wave at note start, connect the output channels Frequency and Gate of the BseInstrumentInput module to the input channels Freq In and Sync In of the BseStandardOsc module respectively.
  6. To let the BseAmplifier shape the volume of the oscillating tone and to provide actual output, connect the output channel Audio Out of the BseStandardOsc to one of the Audio input channels of the BseAmplifier and connect the BseAmplifier's output channel Audio Out to the two input channels Right Audio and Left Audio of the BseInstrumentOutput.
  7. It is recommended to intially reduce the Master Volume property of the BseAmplifier to avoid overdriving the output later on. The properties of a module can be adjusted in it's property dialog which is offered by the Button-3 popup menu of each module.
  8. Connect the input channel Gate In of the BseSimpleADSR to the output channel Gate of the BseInstrumentInput to trigger the envelope at note start. Connect the Ctrl Out output channel of the BseSimpleADSR to one of the Control input channels of the BseAmplifier.
  9. IMPORTANT: Synthesis instruments are used to play multiple notes sequentially. In order to determine when an instrument has finished playing a certain note and is thusly free to play a new note, the Synth Done channel of the BseInstrumentOutput must be connected to a signal going high at note end. For this example, connect the Synth Done channel to the Done Out output channel of the BseSimpleADSR module, this output channel produces a signal which is low while the envelope is active and goes high past the envelope end.

While the synthesis instrument is ready for use now, it can't be used or tested directly, but has to be deployed in a song or [BseMidiSynth]] (offered by the main menu under ``/Project/New MIDI Synthesizer``) which leads us to the next Topic.

Setting Up Parts And Tracks

Songs basically consist of notes kept in “Parts” which are arranged in “Tracks”. The tracks control the order in which parts are played and what instrument is used to play a certain part. So the steps to a simple test setup for a synthesis instrument are:

  1. Switch to the Tracks notebook page of a song and add a track to the song.
  2. Click into the track's tact area to create a new part within it.
  3. Click onto the newly created part to start up a piano roll editor to arrange notes within parts.
  4. Use the piano roll editor to create some notes in the part to be played back.
  5. Select a synthesis network (created as shown in the last section) as synthesis input for this track by editing the Synth property.

A song with parts, instruments and tracks setup can be played back via the main menu by selecting the menu item ``/Project/Play``.

Postprocessing Tracks and Songs

The sound generated by the tracks of a song and the song itself can be postprocessed by synthesis networks to add effects and adjust the sound to your needs. Postprocessing networks are created as follows:

  1. Select ``/Project/New Custom Synthesizer`` from the menu to create a new network.
  2. Add a virtual input and output, i.e. a BseSubIPort and a BseSubOPort module, to the network.
  3. Connect the first two input and output channels between the two modules, these carry the left and right channel sound of a track respectively, so the sound signals may pass through the postprocessing network.
  4. Alternatively, rather than simply connecting the inputs to the outputs, you may use an effect such as the free reverb module BseFreeVerb inbetween the input and output connections.

To postprocess the sound of a single track in a song, select the synthesis network as postprocessing network for the track by editing the tracks “Post” property. To apply the network to a song, select it as postprocessing network for the song by editing the songs “Custom Postprocess Net” property.