Creating music with synthesizers and plugins can be really exciting because the possibilities of sound are almost limitless with the right equipment. Often times however, the process of using a synth might feel, well…too synthetic. But, if you’re a producer interested in adding expressive organic elements their synthesizer workflow, check out some of these products that can help you bring the human element to your sound.

Genki Instruments Wave


The Wave from Genki Instruments is a wearable ring-like modulation device that you can use to wirelessly connect to and control any synth plugin in your DAW. Once you’ve synched up your Wave to your DAW, you can begin customizing its functions and the parameters your gestures will effect. The Wave is capable of recognizing up to 6 different gestures: tilt, roll, vibrato, tap, pan, and click. These gestures are easy to perform and can be synched to any parameter you choose.

One of the most interesting uses of Wave is controlling vocal effects like delay and reverb in real-time. Simply connect your Wave ring to an effect plugin on your vocal chain and use the gestures to manipulate your voice. You can even set up your gestures to control different key-commands within your DAW. The device also comes with it’s own software that you can use to help set up your parameters, customize your gestures, and create presets.

Ultraleaps Leap Motion Controller


Ultraleaps Leap Motion Controller is a similar device to the Genki Instruments Wave in the sense that it captures your hand movements but the Leap Motion Controller does not require you to wear a device and can pick up more hand gestures than the Wave. By connecting a motion capturing desktop device to your DAW, your whole hand becomes the controller for your plugins. The Leap Motion Controller captures the movement of individual fingers as well as your palms, giving you many more options when controlling your sound. Below is a demonstration of the Leap Motion Controller attached to a woodwind style synthesizer: 

Not only can the Leap Motion Controller be used for your musical needs, but it can be used for several different purposes like VR, V-Tubing, and video game design. You can even operate your computer and write text using it. Though this device was first released in 2012, there are still so many practical uses for it other than bringing some organic elements into your music creation workflow.

Artiphon ORBA


The ORBA from Artiphon is an all-in-one synth, looper, and controller operated by your organic expressive touch. Like the Wave, ORBA recognizes its orientation as you move the object around to effect your sounds. ORBA can sense tilts, spins, and shakes. There is also a responsive touch pad on the top of the device that you can slide your finger on to manipulate sound. ORBA even recognizes bumps against the object that can be used for percussion sounds.

The ORBAs looper operates like many other loopers. As you play a beat on it’s touch pad, the beat is recorded and looped back for you to get creative with. You can add extra drum sounds or begin adding built-in bass or synth sounds. You can also create leads using the touch pad and use ORBAs vibrato recognition to bring your sound to life.

The thing that these devices have in common is that they are all modulators. Modulators can control many different parameters of your synthesizers and are important to bringing movement and an organic feeling to your sound. Learning to get the most out of your modulators can truly bring your music productions to the next level. With Sound Collectives “Modulation in Ableton Live” course you’ll be able to do just that by learning to use LFOs, envelopes, and other modulators. 

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To learn about courses at Electronic Music Collective please visit our course page. Email us at [email protected] or call 646-747-0144 for additional information. Follow Us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube: @makemusicemc

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