Intense Tech with Defense Mech – Let’s Table This Discussion!

- Posted July 23rd, 2019 by

Welcome back to Intense Tech with Defense Mech! In this post I wanted to discuss some different ways to use tables in LSDj. After reading this lesson, I hope you’ll be inspired to use tables in new and inventive ways! Let’s set the table and get started!

Art by @dethrood

Tables in LSDj are arguably the sole most useful feature to shape your sounds. They can be used on almost any instrument, from pulse arpeggios and leads to bass and percussion, and there never seems to be enough of them to go around! In this lesson, I’ll go over a few techniques for tables to fuel your creativity.

First, let’s go over the basics. There are four columns in a table: Volume, Transpose, and two columns for Effect Commands. The volume column can be used to make custom volume envelopes for instruments. The first digit specifies volume (0-F for pulse and noise channels, and 0-3 for wave channel) and the second digit specifies the number of ticks to hold that volume. So a volume column value of 36 would set the instrument to volume 3 for six ticks. After six ticks, the next line of volume is applied until the last volume command. The instrument will remain at the volume level specified in the last line until the note is killed, unless all 16 steps of the volume column are full, in which case the volume column will loop, restarting from the top once the last line is reached. In the following example, I’ve set a table to automate the volume of a wave bass from volume 1 for three ticks, volume 2 for three ticks, then volume 3 for the next tick after which it will remain that volume.

The transpose column, commonly used for custom arpeggios, applies the value of transpose to the current note in semitones, with 01-7F transposing upwards and 80-FF transposing downwards. The effect command columns are largely similar to the effect command columns in phrases, with the exception that some commands are not usable in tables (such as D) and L commands function according to the transpose column (only in the first column. Also if L00 is applied, the instrument pitch will reset).

Tables run by default at one tick per line unless the speed is specified using a Groove command. However, a table can also be set to Automate, meaning the table will apply one line per note.

Using A Commands in Tables

It might be somewhat confusing at first but it’s entirely possible to apply a table from within a table. This can be useful when a table is set to Automate if additional effects need to be used simultaneously on the same note. In this example, the instrument runs table 01 with Automate. One command is used in the phrase, one command is used in table 01, and A02 applies table 02 in the second column of table 01. Two additional commands are used in table 02, making for a total of four commands at once!

Used within a table without Automate, an A command effectively extends the current table into the table specified. Lastly, using a value of 20 or above will effectively stop the table, since no tables beyond 1F exist. This is a great way to end the table without killing the note with a K command.

Simultaneous Automation

I discovered a neat trick that happens when two channels, such as both pulses, use the same instrument with Table set to Automate=On and play notes simultaneously: notes in channel 1 are effected by the even-numbered table rows, and notes in channel 2 are effected by the odd-numbered table rows. This allows for easy stereo panning or similar effects using only one table, one instrument, and one phrase!

Beef up instrument attack

Tables are extremely handy to give your instruments extra pop. One way to do this is by using volume commands. This can also be done in the volume column, but sometimes it can be more convenient to use a command. In this example of a noise snare, the instrument volume sets the volume of the initial attack, and then an E command lowers the volume drastically. The instrument volume is set relatively high to give the snare an initial pop to help it cut through other instruments, but then backs off so it doesn’t dominate throughout with very high volume.

It may be familiar to you that accents such as placing 0C in the first tick of the Transpose column, or changing pulse waveforms on the first and second ticks can be effective ways to accent your instruments. Another trick to enhance the attack of an instrument such as a pulse or wave lead is by setting a high-frequency V command on the first tick, then turning it off on the second tick with a V00 command, or using lower values for a more subtle vibrato. These techniques can also be combined for greater effect.

There are so many more ways to use tables that this article could easily go on for many pages with examples! I hope this sparks some ideas for you when designing your instruments. Please let me know if you have table tricks of your own, or new ideas you might like to see me cover in the future. Until next time, this is DEFENSE MECHANISM, signing off!

Note: traducción al Español por Pixel Guy encontrado aquí.

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