Complete Guide to Operator Course
Operator is one of Live’s most powerful Suite Instruments, known for its hybrid approach to synthesis combining frequency modulation techniques with subtractive and additive synthesis. In this course from Producertech Senior Tutor Rob Jones, you’ll learn all you need to program any kind of sound with this impressive instrument.
The course begins with a general overview of the synth, taking a look at some of the more basic features such as envelopes and oscillators, and also delving deeper into more advanced elements such as routing matrixes and creating your own wavetables.
Following on from an explanation of the principles of FM synthesis, Rob then proceeds to share his extensive sound design knowledge with you, showing you how to create a wide variety of sounds. These range from simple, 2 oscillator bell-like sounds to complex, evolving bass patches. There’s also a few tips on creating your very own drum and percussion sounds using the FM synthesis techniques discussed in the tutorials.
The course is available to stream directly from our site after purchase, and is accessible 24/7/365. Accompanying the video tutorials are 10 bonus Operator patches, programmed by Rob himself, as well as the Live Projects from the tutorials.
Module 1 – Intro to Operator
Rob begins the course with a general overview of Operator, explaining the oscillators, display, LFO and filters.
Module 2 – Deconstructing a Preset
This module takes a look at picking apart one of Operator’s factory presets, to get a better understanding of how the synthesiser works.
Module 3 – Oscillator Frequency
This lesson explains the controls that can be found in the oscillator section, and also shows the creation of a basic patch combining the four oscillators.
Module 4 – Oscillator Waveform
Moving to the display section of Operator, Rob takes a look at the variety of waveforms that are available, and shows you how to adjust the harmonic content to create your own.
Module 5 – Oscillator Amplitude – Intro to Envelopes
This module covers the envelope section, with a detailed look at the controls available, such as ADSR, peak and the looping feature.
Module 6 – FM Synthesis Fundamentals
Rob explains the theory behind FM synthesis, with audio examples using Operator and Live’s Spectrum analyser.
Module 7 – Simple FM 1 – A Bell
This lesson teaches you how to build a simple bell sounding patch, which can be easily modified to create lead and bass patches.
Module 8 – Simple FM 2 – Sci Fi Bass
In this video, Rob walks through the creation of a Sci Fi like bass sound, with a slow attack and evolving FM component.
Module 9 – Filter Section
This module guides you through the filter section on Operator, with tips on using filter envelopes, modulation and velocity to create more interesting and varied sounds.
Module 10 – LFO Section
Rob takes a look at the Low Frequency Oscillator, showing how to use it as a vibrato and extra modulator for both the oscillators and the filter, before creating an evolving, mutating patch.
Module 11 – Pitch Envelope
This module explains the pitch envelope, and how it can be used to add pitch slides and transients to enhance sounds.
Module 12 – Global Controls
Rob explains some of the more in depth global controls, including a variety of velocity, midi note and filter automation options.
Module 13 – Additional Sound Design Tips
This quick tutorial shows how to draw curves to automate a selection of parameters within operator, creating interesting step-sequenced style effects.
Module 14 – Advanced Sound Design 1 – Kick Drum
Using the knowledge gained from previous modules, Rob shows you how to create an FM kick drum sound from scratch.
Module 15 – Advanced Sound Design 2 – Snare Drum
Continuing on from the last module, Rob shares some more of his sound design tips, this time making a snare drum patch, combining tones with white noise.
Module 16 – Advanced Sound Design 3 – Complex Lead
This module teaches you how to design an evolving, 4-oscillator, gritty lead synth patch.
Module 17 – Advanced Sound Design 4 – Rhythmic Bass
The course concludes with this final advanced sound design module – focusing on the creation of a pitch modulated, rhythmically varying bass patch.