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Assignments and Modulators

Assignments are a great way to add expressivity to your sounds. Assigning an aspect of your playing to control a knob, button, or slider within your set allows the sounds to really respond to the nuances of your playing. Create different combinations of assignments to make your set respond to how hard, how fast, and where you play--all in real-time and with fune-tuned control!

When using an assigment or modulator, there are three main things to consider:

1. What parameter do you want to control? Examples: reverb dry/wet, panning, mute button, transpose, attack

2. What drum/device/input do you want to control it with? Examples: zone of snare drum, button of a MIDI controller, macro knob

3. How do you want to control it? Examples: speed, velocity, MIDI CC values, LFO modulation

Assignments and modulators both allow you to change any of these three things at any point. The main difference is that assignments allow you start with the asignment's destination parameter (#1) , while modulators allow you to start with the mode of control (#3). Which one you choose depends on your preferred workflow. To understand the difference, let's look at an example of each:


A screenshot of the right-click pop out menu to create a new assignment

The process of making an assignment starts with the parameter receiving the assignment. Right-click on the parameter in your set that you want to control and select New Assignment. In the example above, the sampler's 'tanspose' parameter will be the destination of the assignment.

Once you've chosen the destination, you can create an assignment based on the assignment's source (external input) or the assignment's type (quick create) from this right-click menu.

Source: Selects the input that controls the assigned parameter. Type: Selects how the input controls the assigned parameter.

Selecting any of the 'quick create' options from this menu will create an assignment with its Type set to that option (Velocity, Timbre, Speed, Envelope, LFO, MIDI Control) and its its Source set to 'Default'.

A screenshot of the pop-up assignment creation window

The screenshot above shows the result of choosing 'Timbre' from the quick create options. With this assignment, you can transpose the pitch of the sampler up/down by playing from center to edge on snare 1.

Having a 'Default' source means that the assignment will inherit the input(s) from any input filters present on or above the assigned module in its respective layer. Set-level macros can receive assignments, but there is no 'Default' source option on these assignments because input filters don't apply to them.


Selecting 'Default' as the source of an assignment on a module will allow you to move that module around to different layers without breaking the assignment links.

For this reason, 'Default' is the recommended assignment source, with one notable exception being Cross-Control. If you want a module's parameter to be controlled by a different input than the input that is triggering the module, you must select the source input directly.

In addition to Source and Type, the assignment window allows you to adjust the sensitivity, parameter control range, parameter control type (continuous, momentary, toggle, target), and glide amount (the amount of time it takes to move from one output value to the next).


Modulators work the same way as assignments, but while assignments start from the recipient of the assignment before choosing the mode of control, modulators start from the mode of control before choosing what will receive the modulation.

To access the Modulator panel of a module, click the panel icon in the top right corner of the module. From the dropdown, select "Modulators" to view the Modulator panel. Click the + button in the bottom right of the Modulator panel to add a modulator.

Once you've created your modulator, you need to grab its handle and drag it onto the parameter you want it to control:

A screenshot of a modulator being dragged on to a parameter

The example above shows a timbre modulator being dragged onto the transpose parameter of a sampler. This will result in the same assignment as the previous example: timbre from center to edge on snare 1 transposing the sample up/down.

It's often preferable to use a drag-and-drop modulator rather than a right-click assignment if you plan to use that same modulator type/source to control multiple destination parameters. In that case, rather than making identical assignments on each destination parameter, you can drag the same modulator onto each one. Then, any changes you make to that modulator will be applied to all of its destination parameters.

Assignment/Modulator Types


A screenshot of the velocity modulator type

Sets a range between soft and hard. For example, if you assign velocity to filter cutoff without adjusting the range, quiet hits will set the filter cutoff close to 20 Hz, while loud hits will open the cutoff to around 20,000 Hz.


A screenshot of the timbre assignment type

Sets a range between two timbral zones, for example: center and edge. You could right click on a Reverb mix knob, select New Assignment, and select timbre: center to edge. Now hits in the center will send the mix knob close to 0 (no reverb) and hits on the edge will send the mix knob to close to 100.


A screenshot of the speed modulator type

Sets a range between slow and fast. Playing fast (like buzz rolls) will set the parameter to its top value. As with all assignments you can adjust the sensitivity: maybe you want the parameter to be at its low value at medium fast playing, and move to its top level with brisk 16th notes, in that case you would drag both sides of the sensitivity range inwards.


A screenshot of the envelope modulator type

Sends a shape (attack, decay, sustain, release) to a parameter range. And because Sensory Percussion is a drumming system (in most cases you won't be interfacing with envelopes using a piano keyboard) there are the additional parameters of* start*, peak, hold, end, and use velocity which simulates the pressing and holding of a key.

LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator)

A screenshot of the oscillator modulator type

Sends an automated wave pattern to a parameter range. This is a nice way to control a parameter without actually playing a drum. Available shapes are sine, triangle, sawtooth up, sawtooth down, square, and random. You can scale the shape, add smoothing, adjust the phase, change the rate (0.01 Hz - 40,000 Hz), and add jitter.


A screenshot of the MIDI control modulator type

To add a MIDI assignment, first make sure you have enabled your MIDI device in Sensory Percussion audio settings, and added a Hardware MIDI input.

Make sure you have a MIDI virtual input added to your set.

Now right click on a parameter and select that virtual input as the assignment input. Select "learn" in the top right hand corner and press a button or key on your MIDI device. Now that button/key is the input to the assignment.

If you want a knob or fader to control a parameter, select a MIDI Control as the assignment/modulator input. Select "learn" and wiggle a knob to set the assignment input.

This "learn" button exists in the MIDI control assignment window as well as the MIDI control modulator:

A screenshot of the MIDI control assignment type