You'll find the Tempo and Audio Analysis module in the Sequencer, at the bottom of the interface.
To make your mapping more lively, you can animate your effects on the beat. This can be used as a trick if you don’t have a good microphone to coordinate your effects with sound: just adapt the tempo in HeavyM to the rhythm of the ambient music, you’ll get the illusion that sound and animations are linked!
Note: the tempo specified in this module also regulates the duration of Autopilot steps if it is set to tempo mode (as opposed to time mode).
Setting a BPM value
You can set a value for the tempo in the input box, or tap along to a tempo by clicking on the TAP button and the value will be adjusted to your rhythm. This value is expressed in Beats per Minute (BPM) and must be between 20 and 999.
You can check if the tempo corresponds to what you want with the visual indicator at the bottom of the module: the little yellow line moves to the beat you set. Using the TAP button, you need to click regularly a few times so that the BPM value can be calculated precisely. If you feel like it’s a bit off, you can increase or decrease the value slightly with the up and down arrows of the input field.
The Resync button is also there to help you in this process of setting a coordinated tempo: click on it on the first beat of a bar in your sound in order to restart the visual indicator to the beginning (i.e. the yellow line starts back from the bar).
Linking the BPM value to that of another app
Head over to this article to learn how to link the tempo value of HeavyM to other apps with Ableton Link.
The audio analysis module
The sound analysis module allows you to make HeavyM effects react to an audio source so that your mapping adapts to the atmosphere. You can activate this module by clicking on the toggle button in its title bar.
Selecting an audio source
When you activate the sound analysis module, one audio source will be selected by default (if there's at least one available). Click on the gear icon to access the settings window and see which other audio sources, like microphones, are available. You can select the one that should be used by HeavyM in the drop-down list located in the header of the window.
These sources can be:
- Microphones: when you want to capture the ambient live sound in your performance.
- Audio files that you've imported into the project: from HeavyM 2.11, choose "HeavyM Timeline & Sequences Audio" as input so that the audio file(s) you have added on the Timeline or in Sequence settings get analysed when they play.
- Sound from your computer: sometimes, your microphone may not be of good quality and you get some unwanted noise. Or you simply don’t have a microphone, so you might want to use sound coming directly from your computer. Your computer is not directly available as an audio source in HeavyM, but there are ways to get this feature on both Windows and Mac OS: on Windows, look for Stereo Mix in the input/record tab of the sound settings panel. On Mac, there's no native solution, but you can try a routing solution like Soundflower (check out this user's quick tutorial!).
Adjusting the gains
You can set the overall input gain, in order to adjust the level of the signal sent by your microphone or another input device. You can adjust it with the slider on the left of the module, or in the settings window (accessible with the gear icon ). In addition, the settings window has one gain slider for each frequency range, for more precision. Do the adjustments with your audio source activated, until the amplitude of the values in the spectrums satisfies you.
Note: usually, the audio interfaces you use as input also have a gain or input volume level control. For the built-in microphone, you’ll find it in System Preferences → Sound on MacOS, or by right-clicking on the volume icon in the taskbar to access the sound settings on Windows.
Adjusting the frequency ranges
When the analysis is activated, you can see the little bars in the module react when a sound is captured. These bars represent the average values calculated for each frequency range in the settings window: Bass, Mid, High.
The limits taken into account for each frequency range can be adjusted on the spectrum, going from low to high frequencies (from left to right). If an average bar is high, it means that the frequencies contained in the associated range you have set have a high level in your sound.
Later, you’ll be able to make your effects react to these different ranges. By default, Bass is the range that contains the five lowest frequencies, Mid contains some in the middle and High contains the highest frequencies.
Note: A frequency range cannot be discontinuous. However, the three ranges combined don’t have to cover the full spectrum and can overlap.
Making effects react to the beat or sound
Once your tempo and audio ranges are set, you can start to connect effect parameters, to make them vary according to the beat or a sound.
All compatible parameters will have a little dropdown menu with different variations on the left. You'll find these kind of parameters in group effects, sequence effects, player effects, transitions.
Head over to this article to see what the variations look like and how to find them.