The Essential CS4L Production Pack by Michael Johnson

The Essential CS4L Production Pack is an integral part of your personal production arsenal. Combining a drum synthesizer, percussion sequencer, monophonic analog model, future-pad generator, a bold dynamics processor, and a pitch shifting delay, this 6pack covers all of the bases and beyond. A fundamental toolkit for producers and concise workspace for sound designers.


The Scapes Synthesizer incorporates the richness of pre and post envelope reverbs with wavetable and scanned synthesis. You’ll find yourself making mostly beautiful pads with this instrument.

There are two bandpass filters that help shape the sound which you can pan individually in the stereo field. Once again, a small modulation system is included on the right side, so that your pads and textures will always have motion.


Prkshn is a sound design tool that specializes in generating percussive envelopes and random rhythmic sequences. This is a single voice synthesizer in which there are four sound generation mode and seven unique envelopes. Each mode and envelope uses a different synthesis technique to generate it’s texture. Experiment with both the voice and envelope options individually by perusing the drop-down menus.

The Sync option turns on the sequencing function of this instrument. You must have Live playing for this to work – Prkshn uses your session’s tempo to sync up to your track. Select Cycle, next to the Sound and Envelope menus, to cycle through the options in ascending order. Select Rand to randomly select sound and envelopes.


Pitch Mod Delay is a delay processor that can manipulate the pitch of the delayed signal. It has features like stereo spread, low-pass filter cutoff, and a feedback control.

The Modulation section controls a LFO which is modulating a pitch factor on a phase-vocoded delay signal – this ensures that the delay time remains the same while the pitch is being manipulated. Pitch Offset is a factor which affects the pitch of every iteration of the delay tap.


This monophonic synth is a great tool for designing dirty bass sounds, harsh analog textures, and massive noise clusters. Mono-Classic consists of two oscillators, amplitude and filter envelopes, two bandpass filters, and a modulation matrix.

Everything is capable of automation and is MIDI mappable with Ableton Live. (Hint: Try Automating elements of the Modulation Matrix for powerful results)


This is a bold dynamics processor that is capable of compression, expansion, and can intensely color the signal with distortion. The crunch switch activates a tangental clipping limiter which prevents the output from going past 1.0.

To operate with compression, choose a suitable threshold level, and also pick a ratio that equates to less than 1 (i.e. 1:5). To operate as an expander, pick a ratio that equates to more than 1.


BeatSketch is a four voice drum synthesizer. You have the power to design a Kick, Snare, Hat, and Tone voice – making up a minimalist drum set. The MIDI notes C3, D3, E3, and F3, are mapped to these drum voices respectively.

On the right, there is a randomization system, which uses a interpolated gaussian distribution as a modulation signal. Every element (except for volume and panning) of each of the voices is modulated by this signal when attenuated in. Experiment with attenuation amounts to get the most natural or unexpected sound.


XScanTable is a simple and efficient implementation of the Scanned Synthesis Algorithm by Verplank, Shaw and Mathews.

It uses the trajectory of a “circular string” and animates a collection of external tables for variety and richness.It is a simplified version of XQuadScanned particularly suitable for large string pads.


XQuadScanned uses a unique synthesis technique devised by Bill Verplank, Rob Shaw, and Max Mathews between 1998 and 1999 at Interval Research,Inc. They were working there on new ways of “animating” sound and how to directly control,in a complex and interesting way,the evolution of the timbre during live performance – a human/haptic rates.

The result was “Scanned Synthesis” in which wavetables are given “physical” characteristics by assigning to the elements in the table (the samples) physical parameters (mass and elasticity) and connecting them to each other in a network to each other and to the “ground” via “damping”.

You can read more about this powerful new synthesis and processing technique in The Csound Manual and from some of the online tutorials, but CsoundForLive is the best place to “explore” the sound world that this technique reveals – one in which dark, rich, timbres and textures are “constantly and naturally evolving”.

XQuadScanned follows four pre-defined trajectories around the network of masses which can be unique or identical and used simultaneously – for even more sonic depth.


A resonator is a device or system that exhibits resonance or naturally resonant behavior.It’s a filter, but one with “personality”, “physicality”, and “attitude”.

Based on Fran├žois Blanc’s “mode” opcode, the CsoundForLive resonator effect gives the user a wide range of physically
modeled percussion instruments to use are a controllable filter for their sources audio.

In the Csound Manual, John Bower has compiled a list of “modal frequencies” for various objects and materials such as tabla, wood, string, tibetan bowl to name but a few,and these were used as the basis for this collection.

This beautiful, unique, and rich “filter” adds interest and nuance to samples and synths and will surely become one of your go-to processors in all your Live work.