MNDALA is an incredibly powerful engine. Today, I would like to talk about its unspoken heroes: the arpeggiators! MNDALA has an arpeggiator (or arp) for each of its six samplers. Each arp has a dedicated step amount, speed shuffle, and stride controls.
For this example, I’ll be using Atma, whose harmonically rich bells arpeggiate brilliantly. As usual, I’ll start with the init preset, to work from a clean slate.
Patch 1: Drum Fun
While the arps can be used for normal triad arpeggiations, they can also be used as drum sequencers. To do this, you’ll need to ensure that the velocity is turned on for each of the samplers you will be using. Turning on your samplers' velocity will allow you to mute steps by bringing the length and velocity for the selected step to 0 in the arpeggiator for that sampler.
You can also use the X-axis to blend different sequences. In this example, I used the X-axis to blend two sequences; one in 4/4 and one in 3/4, each using a different set of drums. Things start to enter polyrhythmic territory once you bring the X-axis between both sequences. I also use the X-axis to spatialize each drum sampler so that everything sits well.
When it comes to adding FX to arpeggiator patches, I like to use a time-based effect that has a tempo-synchronization option. In this example, I used the tremolo and set it to a fast rate to give a “pumping” effect.
Patch 2: Kalimba Kraze
This one is for those who aren’t afraid to think outside of the box and who are looking to push MNDALA to its limits. In this patch, I’ll demonstrate how you can use a rapid arpeggiator rate along with the AHDSR to completely transform a source sound.
First, go to the Samplers page to remove the AHDSR's from one-shot mode and turn on velocity. Next, go to the Arpeggiator page. If you want a sound with a steady pitch, set the steps parameter to 1 and the rate to something fast, like 1/32T or 1/64D.
When you play a note, the same step will trigger over and over again at a rapid speed. If it is apparent that the sound is being repeated very quickly, you can shape the AHDSR attack time to remove the clicks of the sample being played back. To emphasize or attenuate the tonal characteristic of the sound, adjust the release and sustain time.
In this example, I used five kalimbas, each sharing the same envelope (which is done by clicking the link button above the arpeggiator). I set each arp to be played at a quick time, either in triplets or dotted notes. Each of the five kalimbas are tuned differently in the Samplers page and I set up the X-axis to be able to blend in the different voices. To add a little more spice, I added saturation on some of the voices. I set the tremolo to be on at all times at a slower rate of 1/16, adding some rhythmic variety to the sound while the sine-shape LFO smooths out some of the click transients. Lastly, I added some delay and light reverb to make the Z-axis a little more interesting.
These two examples are just a taste of the possibilities of having six available arpeggiators in MNDALA. Using tools in unconventional ways can yield new, inspiring sounds. I encourage you to try out these tricks and embrace experimentation!