5 Tips For Working With Heavyocity’s AEON Collection

Heavyocity's AEON has loops and sounds that are ready to roll into your productions. However, should you want to give them a further twist there's plenty of scope using the filters and effects.  

Heavyocity’s AEON Collection is an extensive library of production-ready sounds and loops, coupled with a powerful set of programming parameters, courtesy of its Kontakt/Kontakt Player interface. While many of the patches in the AEON Collection are already heavily processed and good to go right out of the box, it’s always possible to come up with even more unique and interesting sounds & effects, by further tweaking the presets with AEON’s comprehensive collection of Filters, EQs, Effects (both global and triggerable), and the highly adjustable Arpeggiator/Loop Mutator.

Fig 1 Heavyocity’s AEON Collection: AEON Melodic and AEON Rhythmic

Fig 1 Heavyocity’s AEON Collection: AEON Melodic and AEON Rhythmic

Many of the parameters are straightforward, and should be familiar enough to need little explanation, but there are also quite a few less obvious areas for creative programming. Here are 5 tips for working with some of AEON’s less immediately obvious programming features.

 

1. Assign realtime MIDI control 

 

AEON’s five T-FX are triggerable effects, each assigned to a trigger key at the upper end of a (full-sized 88-note) keyboard (but also accessible via the Kontakt on-screen keyboard). Additionally, there are four Master Effects, which are not set up to be key-triggerable. But that doesn’t mean they also can’t be employed in real time, as part of a performance—almost every parameter in the AEON interface can be assigned to external real-time MIDI control. This is a pretty common implementation in many synths & effect plug-ins, but it’s easy to overlook, since there’s no big visual display here to serve as a reminder. A simple right-click on a control lets you tell AEON to Learn a MIDI controller—you just move the desired knob or slider on your keyboard or fader box, and the assignment is made. Now, besides triggering T-FX, you can expressively dial up any audio effect, EQ/filter setting, or arpeggiator effect, in performance from the keyboard/controller, adding greatly to AEON’s real-time capabilities.

 Fig 2 Assigning realtime MIDI to a knob in AEON

Fig 2 Assigning realtime MIDI to a knob in AEON

Audio Example 1 A Master Distortion parameter being controlled in real time via the modwheel:

 

2. Add a little “human” quality with the Formant Filter 

 

AEON’s five Filter types include classic 4-pole lowpass, highpass, and bandpass filters, which sound nice and fat, making it easy to ignore the extra two specialty filters, “Vowel” and “Formant”. The Formant Filter, in particular, can impart a subtle (or not-so-subtle) vocal quality to otherwise standard pads (like synths & strings), and it’s great for adding a little “human” character to a pad, especially when blended in with other sounds in a layered patch.

Fig 3 AEON’s Formant Filter

Fig 3 AEON’s Formant Filter

Audio Example 2 The Formant Filter imparts a vocal-like quality to a synth-string pad:

 

3. Use the Arpeggiator/Sequencer’s Length Parameter to create more interesting rhythms

 

AEON’s combination Arpeggiator/Sequencer, in the Advanced Performance page, includes a step sequencer that can be used to generate Chains of programmable Patterns. If you want to get away from the regular 8th or 16th notes of a typical pattern, the Length parameter lets you create more irregular rhythms. Setting a Sequencer step’s Length to zero creates a musical Rest, and setting a Length to maximum creates a Tied Note—you can tie several notes together, to create sequencer patterns that incorporate any combination of note values you’d like. When the pattern Sequencer is used with the Loops in AEON Rhythmic, which normally plays just the first note or few notes of the pattern(s), tied notes can allow segments of the patterns’ internal sequences to be inserted in the middle of the new Arpeggiator Sequence patterns, for some real rhythmic flexibility.

Fig 4 The Arpeggiator/Sequencer’s Length parameter allows for greater flexibility creating custom rhythmic patterns

Fig 4 The Arpeggiator/Sequencer’s Length parameter allows for greater flexibility creating custom rhythmic patterns

Audio Example 3 A Step Sequencer Pattern, with musical rests and tied notes inserted with the Length Parameter:

 

4. Use the Volume Envelope to alter Single Loops 

 

AEON’s Master Volume Envelope section either independently controls the three layers of most Melodic patches or the overall envelope of most of Rhythmic’s Loops, but for Single Loops, it works a little differently. With Single Loops, instead of affecting the overall Loop’s shape, it’s applied to the shape of each individual

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step in the Loop, making it a much more powerful tool for altering the Loop’s Attack and Decay characteristics and overall quality.

Fig 5 The Master Volume Envelope affects the individual slices of a Single Loop

Fig 5 The Master Volume Envelope affects the individual slices of a Single Loop

Audio Example 4 The Master Volume Envelope is applied to individual Single Loop slices:

 

5. Edit a Single Loop’s embedded MIDI sequence

 

Just like REX files, AEON Rhythmic’s Single Loops contain an embedded MIDI sequence—a chromatically ascending series of MIDI notes, which is the mechanism for triggering the slices. And, again, just as with REX files, that embedded MIDI sequence can be exported to a MIDI/Instrument track in the host DAW, via the MIDI-To-Host button in the Advanced Loop page. Once it’s there, the MIDI notes that trigger the individual slices can be freely edited in pitch and time, for endless variations on the original pattern.

Fig 6 AEON Rhythmic’s MIDI-To-Host button lets you extract and edit a Single Loop’s embedded MIDI sequence

Fig 6 AEON Rhythmic’s MIDI-To-Host button lets you extract and edit a Single Loop’s embedded MIDI sequence

Audio Example 5 A Single Loop’s embedded MIDI sequence extracted and edited in the host DAW (original; then edited):

 

There are lots more programming goodies in the AEON Collection, which add terrific possibilities to the library patches, making AEON a truly powerful tool for sculpting your own sounds and rhythms—it’s definitely worth taking the time to go beyond the presets, to put your own stamp on the AEON Collection.

Learn the ins and outs of Heavyocity's AEON Collection at AskVideo here.

 

Joe is a musician, engineer, and producer in NYC. Over the years, as a small studio operator and freelance engineer, he's made recordings of all types from music & album production to v/o & post. He's also taught all aspects of recording and music technology at several NY audio schools, and has been writing articles for Recording magaz... Read More

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