This tutorial is mainly for my students at The Norwegian Academy of Music but everyone else is welcome. If you have any comments or suggestions please e-mail me.

I prefer positive an constructive comments :-) after all I'm doing this for free (its not a part of my work at the academy to produce tutorials on the internet).

The Weedwacker ensemble, Page 1.
(these pages will be revised)

Take an Reaktor ensemble apart.

If you have little or no experience from other programming languages/programs, it can be hard to learn programming your own Reaktor ensembles. I’m sorry to say the included Manual leave much to ask for.

If you have used MAX/msp or C-Sound, programming Reaktor is probably a simple task,to learn but the rest of you will struggle.

Learning Reaktor.

To analyze, Ensembles is one way I learned to program Reaktor. I takes a loot of time but is certainly worth it.

This text runs through some of the programming features of Weedwacker. I have included most of the things that I find interesting.

The text is far from complete.

There is much more to talk about when it comes to Weedwacker and Reaktor.

This text is mainly for my students at the Norwegian academy of music and serves only as a supplement to my synthesizer/DSP classes.

My aim is to inspire you, and give you ideas and information how to do this work yourself, maybe provide a guideline, a "how to" ,for your own analyzing work.

Let me give you a fair bit of warning. This text is not easy to follow. The functions here is sometimes difficult to describe as many of them are interacting. The best way of using this text as a basis for your own analyses.  Even if Weedwacker is not a very complicated Ensemble it still have its fair amount of complexity. Read the text carefully and slowly test the accuracy of what is described.  Do your own variations of the Weedwacker programming.

I'm not a programmer and I know little mathematics.

I know music and music production. But I love to do my own programming. I like to put my own ideas in to a working Ensemble,  I can nearly always do what I want in Reaktor but my programming is not very "smart". There are probably many ways of doing, the same things that I do, in a much more flexible way, using less computer power, and fewer modules.

I have the fortune of knowing one of the best and most knowable programmers in the world, when it comes to DSP programming of music applications. A long time ago I asked him if he could take a look at my programming (I was using Max/msp at that time).

When I asked him If my programming was any "good", he said:

" -Does it work, and does it do what you want it to do? "

I said yes and he replied it was good and why did I ask him. Since then I stopped asking. If it works, its good.

This text is about learning by looking at other peoples work, learning from them.

Before you read this text you should have read and done the exercises in at lest four of my Reaktor tutorials. You have to have a solid grasp of the basics of Reaktor programming.

The ensemble.

This text is based on the Weedwacker version that was included in the version 3 Reaktor.

When reading this text, and doing what I explain (you have to do some work yourself :-) Its best to work in the standalone version.

There is also a version 2.

(this version is not by the original creator)


First let me say:

I won't teach you everything there is about Weedwacker, simply because I don't know everything about Reaktor and how to program it. What I will do is to go through some of the most interesting programming choices made in this beautiful ensemble.

When you do this kind of work, dissecting an other programmers work, you may at some point say:

- "Why has the programmer done a stupid programming like this, or, look here, I could have done this much better myself." .

Maybe you could maybe not, but this is not the point , what you should do to get most out of this is to try to understand why he have done not  what! There are so many ways of programming and there is definitely not a best way, smarter maybe but not best. Remember if your programming does what its supposed to do then its fine. You don't have to be smart. No one that listens to your music will say "This is a intelligent programming I'm glad he/she know her/his way around Reaktor" :-)

Weedwacker is a absolute favorite of mine. I think it produces sound that are simply amassing, and I respect the programming work that is behind this beautiful ensemble. I don't understand all of what they have done but then, do I have to...?

And then I must add:

It takes time to do this, a lot of time. And most often its hard to get the answers. The Reaktor forums, like
 is a god idea to search for help. Use the search function, its likely some one have asked the question you ask before.


Lets start!

I love the Weedwacker ensemble and that is the reason I analyzed it.

Weedwacker is not a very complex ensemble,

its easy to navigate through the different modules. In the illustration below you can see on the left side, the Macros that generate and manipulate the sound, the Audio signal.

To the right you can se the Macros that modulate the different parameters in the sound generating/manipulating Macros. The Arrows Indicates the simplest possible signal path

The sound source.

Puls Modulation.

The sound is generated in the module below.

Weedwacker is a synthesizer that uses Puls modulation as its basic sound generating source.

The large knobs controls different sound generating parameters and the small knobs adjusts the amount/depth of the modulation.

There is also a Noise fader, its connected to the frequency (F) input of the Oscillator thereby modulating the pitch.

There are some unusual things in this Osc Macro, but the most important one is that the pulse width is constantly modulated. The Pulse width modulation happens in a feed back loop, more about this later.

This is the amplitude envelope

It has a repeat function (N) that let you repeat the envelope and control the speed of the repetitions.

Vel sets the amount of velocity that controls the EG and Track is keyboard scaling (making higher keys have a faster envelope time).

Filter envelope.

At the end we find a filter, a simple 2-pol filter with an envelope attack and release (Up, Down). The envelope amount is controlled by velocity.

It also has a nice Random cutoff frequency function with controllable speed (Rnd).

There are four modulation sources. Three LFO:s and one Envelop generator.

The only "strange" ting here is that that there are no modulation amount (control of LFO A) and the lower the Rate value the higher the LFO speed......

The modulation matrix is straightforward, the sources to the right and the destination at the top.

The EG2 has three additional modulation destinations. X, Shift and Cut.

X and Cut controls the Velocity Filter and Shift modulates the Filter frequency of the filter module inside the Oscillator Macro.

All the lovely sounds comes out here,

through the Delay module. The delay module makes delays (surprise) and sounds like a sort of reverb...... It uses the Diffuser delay module, There are also two Saturator modules, what they do? You have to read on :-)

Go to the Nex Page

matsc 2004  rev. 2009