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.
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.
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.
Audio Example 1 A Master Distortion parameter being controlled in real time via the modwheel:
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.
Audio Example 2 The Formant Filter imparts a vocal-like quality to a synth-string pad:
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.
Audio Example 3 A Step Sequencer Pattern, with musical rests and tied notes inserted with the Length Parameter:
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
step in the Loop, making it a much more powerful tool for altering the Loop’s Attack and Decay characteristics and overall quality.
Audio Example 4 The Master Volume Envelope is applied to individual Single Loop slices:
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.
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.