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A Quick Tour of the Cells


The Generator Cells

Generator cells are located at the top of CellSynth's main window.

Basic Oscillators

The first four generator cells are basic oscillators as used in analog synthesis:

Sine, Square, Ramp (Sawtooth) and Triangle.


The Basic Oscillators have just the parameters that are common to virtually all Cells - Gain, Controller and Control Amount. They also have a Frequency parameter which can either be fixed or modulated by the input.

  • Gain is the overall output of a Cell. Optimum gain is 1.0.
  • Controller is the MIDI Controller that will control gain (this is true of most cells (see "Using CellSynth with MIDI" chapter for more information).
  • Control Amount is the amount of control a MIDI controller has. 127 = maximum and 0 = off.

  • Harmonic Oscillator

    This cell produces a tone consisting of a user specified mix of 32 harmonics starting at the fundamental.

    The Harmonic Editor is opened from the Cell Edit Window by clicking on the Editor button.


    The Harmonic Editor is used to specify the amplitude of each harmonic (harmonic additive synthesis).


    You can enter values from the keyboard or use the pencil tool that appears when you move your mouse into the edit LCD.


    When the Harmonic Editor is on screen, Open and Save Harmonic Table options are available on the File menu.


    Aside from the Harmonic editor, the Cell Edit window has the same parameters as the other Oscillators.


    Noise Generator/Random Number Generator

    If the frequency is set to 0 this cell outputs white noise.

    If the frequency is > 0 it generates a random number between -1 and 1 at the frequency specified. This has many uses, for example, to produce sample and hold style effects as found on analog synths.

    Sync switch on or off. If sync is on, frequency becomes a multiple of the bpm. This would be used, for example, to sync a "sample and hold" effect to the tempo of a song. 1=1/4 note. 2=1/8th note, 4=1/16th note, and so on.

    Sample Cell

    This cell allows AIFF files to be loaded as sound sources.

    When the cell is dragged to the Matrix, a standard File open dialog appears. Select an AIFF file to use.

    Samples can be auditioned using the Play button in the dialog.

    You can also drag an AIFF file straight from the Finder to the Matrix.

    Double clicking on an AIFF file associated with CellSynth (CellSynth's Type and Creator) allows the audio to be auditioned. CellSynth will play the Sample, even if it is not loaded.


    Clicking on the Editor button in the Cell Edit Dialog opens a dialog that allows the Start and End points to be visually positioned.




    Using Samples is covered extensively in the example in the next chapter: "CellSynth by Example".




    DSP Cell Store

    The DSP cells, found at the bottom of the CellSynth window, take input from their neighbours and apply their properties to that input. You can use them in the same way that you would an effect unit, or hardware mixer.

    Low / Band Pass Resonant Filter

    This cell can be switched in the Cell Edit dialog to act as either a Low Pass or Band Pass filter.

    The Low Pass filter is similar to that found on analogue synths. It lets the low frequencies through and cuts the high. This will be most familiar as a "wah" effect.

    When switched to act as a Band Pass filter, it allows a specified band of frequency to be cut. A row of these cells could be set up to act as a graphic equaliser or a single cell used to cut or boost a specific frequency band.


    Comb Filter

    This filter is like a fixed flanger or phaser (depending whether invert is on). The signal is fed back on itself with a slight delay. You can control the length of the delay (width) and the amount of feedback. Inverting the feedback creates a phase effect.

    If you were to modulate this cell with a Sine Oscillator, for example, it would create a sweeping flange or phaser / chorus effect.


    Used to route the signal from one part of the matrix to another.

    Can also be used to amplify, attenuate and invert the signal passing through it.

    Switching on "negative to positive" makes all negative signals passing through into positive signals. One, not immediately apparent, use for this is to make all numbers generated by the random number generator into positive numbers.


    Audio can be positioned in the stereo field using the Panner Cell.

    If you applied modulation to this cell you could make it into an auto panner.

    Black Box

    The Black Box is a stereo spacializer, compressor, limiter, expander and noise gate. It turns a mono signal into a stereo one.

    When used as a noise gate, it takes its key from the modulation.

  • Limiter - works like the studio effect, the signal is limited to the value specified here.
  • Expander - works like the studio effect, any signal lower than the value specified is increased.
  • Decay - the number of sample points that the effect is on.
  • Delay

    A simple echo or: if the timing of the echo is modulated it serves as a flanger.