You may have noticed another button in between Program and Parameter, called
Function. Some programs may have so-called Soft Functions where the knob has
been assigned to control one or more parameters, hopefully to make controlling
the program a bit easier. Although not all presets have Soft Functions, although
you can add them yourself, the Function button opens up all the possibilities
of MIDI control. If you want to see what comprehensive MIDI control looks like,
take a look at the ‘MIDI Control’ panel. If you’re not keen on
Soft Functions and MIDI Control – but you should be! – then there is also an
internal Function Generator. The function generator is a low frequency oscillator
which can produce various waveforms and triggered functions. The function generator
has a myriad of uses, but it’s an area where you really have to understand
what you are doing to get any sensible results. I suspect that only one H3500
user in a hundred will achieve any real fluency, although it is obvious from
the factory presets that amazing original sounds are available if you really
I bet when you first got into music you never expected to have to understand
long words like ‘algorithm’. The simplest parallel I can think of
is a recipe from a cookbook, an algorithm for making Yorkshire puddings perhaps.
To extend my analogy, from these basic algorithms, you can alter the quantities
of the ingredients – the parameters – but not the ingredients themselves. Let
me finish my brief tour of the H3500 with a short description of each of the
algorithms from which the four hundred and four factory presets are derived.
This algorithm has two pitch shifters which understand the rules of musical
harmony, so you can set a scale and the H3500 will adjust the semitones as necessary
to fit in with a major or minor key, or indeed a harmonic pattern you have developed
yourself. Diatonic Shift is mono in, stereo out, so you can set intervals of
a third and a fifth and produce proper three part harmonies from a single input.
This is another mono in, stereo out algorithm and provides two separate pitch
shifted outputs, this time without harmonic intervention – just a straight ratio.
The range of shift is -24/+12 semitones and, like Diatonic Shift, the degree
of pitch change can be modulated for really wacky effects (or just subtle thickening
if you prefer).
This has two completely independent pitch shifters and is best used to process
two mono signals at the same time. If you want stereo pitch shifting then you
should turn to…