This article will act as a quick access guide to getting started with Dronar Guitarscapes Module.
For a full detailed list of all of the included features, please check out the available Dronar Guitarscapes Module Manual.
DRONAR creates evolving atmospheres from a very small number of notes played (1 to 4 recommended). It automatically spreads out the chord in the mid-range, adds a root bass note, a high note and then adds evolving sound effects. 8 simultaneous different sounds are then animated with LFOs, a rhythm sequencer and arpeggiators to bring them to life. The results are rich and dramatic.
These 6 simple dials have a huge influence over the sound. Record changes as DAW automation, or assign dials to an external MIDI controller and hit the DAW record button.
There are 6 main dials (INTENSITY, MOVEMENT, FX, HI MID and LO), plus effect send levels (Reverb and Delay), and tabs for the 5 pages.
MOVE THE MAIN PAGE DIALS:
Move the dials with your mouse as you hold down the notes (or sustain them with a sus pedal). You will hear the immediate impact on the sound and get a good understanding of the way DRONAR works.
INTENSITY (also controlled by the Mod Wheel) takes you from silent to powerful by fading up through different velocity layers.
MOVEMENT has a global effect on the intensity of the arpeggiators - set it high for strong effects and zero for a flat pad sound. HI, MID and LO control the automatically generated high notes, mid-range notes and bass notes. Moving these dials has a huge expressive effect on the music. It's only like using a mixing desk and yet - having it so accessible in front of you encourages you to work with the balance as part of the original creative expression, instead of a mix decision later on. FX controls the level of 20-second futuristic, unpitched sound effects loops in the mix and add instant movement and complexity.
The Kontakt keyboard shows a colour coded guide to what's happening in each range.
THE 12 DRONE KEYS (red keys, F0 to E1):
Each of these red Drone Keys contains a different Drone (a preset). Play a red key to select one and another red key to switch to another. The "Menu" patches have a totally different Drone on each Drone Key. The other, individual patches have the same Drone on every Drone Key, encouraging you to create your own variations on the 12 keys.
PLAYABLE RANGE (blue keys G1 to B4):
This range is used to detect the notes you play. Think of it almost like a 'note and chord detection range' more than a playable synth. DRONAR wants to know what notes and you want, it doesn't want you to play it like a piano.
(pale cyan keys C5 to B5):
In case you start playing outside the detection range, it repeats the top octave for you just to make sure your chords are captured.
DRONAR IS DESIGNED TO BE PLAYED EXPRESSIVELY.
The best results come from holding down a note or chord with one hand (or sustaining it using a sustain pedal), and then expressively moving the dials with the other hand. It is more intuitive to do this with an external controller than the alternatives which are (a) trying to move the dials with mouse drags, or (b) trying to write in automation curves in your DAW.
DEFAULT GUI DIAL-TO-MIDI CONTROLLER MAPPINGS:
Each DRONAR preset has been set up with the following cc controllers mapped by default:
CC01 -> INTENSITY dial (the Mod Wheel is mapped to cc1).
CC14 -> MOVEMENT dial
CC21 -> FX dial
CC23 -> HI dial
CC24 -> MID dial
CC25 -> LO dial
TO RE-MAP MIDI CC NUMBERS:
Right-click on any Kontakt dial that you wish to map to a MIDI controller. As well as the MAIN page dials, you can also do this for any other dial on any page.
From here you can LEARN (select then turn a knob on your controller to detect and map it), or REMOVE (remove the default mapping to avoid any confusion).
Automating DRONAR'S dials can be done 3 ways:
- Via an external MIDI controller (see full Manual for details)
- By programming automation curves in your DAW
- By enabling "Write Automation" in your DAW and recording your mouse-drag dial movements during your performance. Then enable "Read Automation" when playing back
These steps will give you a good way to getting to know and love the Dronar Guitarscapes Module. If you wish to dive deeper and start tweaking and making your own patches within Dronar, you should check out the Expert page, Arpeggiator page and the awesome new Rhythm Editor. Full details on all of their features can be found in the handy Dronar Guitarscapes Module Manual, linked here.