What is Harmonic Prism?
In 99% of cases, when we play any particular musical note, the Harmonics associated with it are related to each other by a particular mathematical relation;
The Harmonics in a standard waveform are an integral multiple of the fundamental.
For example, let's say we are playing a saw wave at 440Hz. In that case,
The Fundamental frequency/First Harmonic will be at 440Hz,
The 2nd Harmonic will be at 440*2 = 880Hz
The 3rd Harmonic will be at 440*3 = 1320Hz
The 4th Harmonic will be at 440*4 = 1760Hz
and so on...
These are called the harmonic frequencies.
But what happens when these Harmonics are played at another frequency value? In that case, those harmonics are referred to as Inharmonic frequencies.
Harmonic Prism is the unit that performs this function, It shifts the Harmonic frequencies into inharmonic range. You have the freedom to choose what frequency you wanna shift, to what extent, and in which direction.
Why is Harmonic Prism so important?
For Music producers who deal with instruments on regular basis, this function may not sound so intriguing. But for Game and Film sound designers, this is a goldmine.
When you shift certain harmonics into inharmonic range, it introduces the metallic and dark character into sound. This character can be very useful in creating Dark bells, Lead, Pads, cinematic FX, SFX, and subshifts.
This function can save you a lot of time and money on field recordings.
Exploring Harmonic Prism Functions
Now that you know how the Harmonic Prism works let's look at how to use it in sound design.
Harmonic Prism has its own dedicated shaping window which you can access from the Shaping section of Harmor.
In the Prism shaping, the Harmonics are divided according to the octaves. The window can be divided into 2 sections -100 to 0(Below the center) and 0 to +100(Above the center).
All the harmonics that are below the centerline(i.e. -100 to 0) shifts towards the left when turning up the harmonic amount.
All the Harmonics above the centerline(i.e. 0 to 100) shifts towards the right when turning up the harmonic amount.
All the Harmonics at the center are unaffected by the Prism, i.e. they do not shit no matter how much you turn up the prism amount.
Prism Amount is a bi-directional setting. It sets the amount and polarity of the harmonic shift.
0 to 100% sets the default shift of harmonic window, 0 to -100% reverse the shift. Now all harmonics above the center will shift to the left while harmonics below the center will shift to the right.
There are two prism modes in FL Studio Harmor Add and Multiply.
The Add Prism mode shits all the harmonics including the fundamental. And while doing so the distance between harmonics increases or decreases based on the prism amount.
The Multiply Prism Mode mode on the other hand does not affect the fundamental frequency no matter what shape or prism amount you use. Moreover, it shifts all the harmonics in a relative position. Multiply is a softer mode.
Prism to Harmonic Level Relation
We have 3 options that relate prism amount to the harmonic level.
Harmonic Level to prism amount off - This option keeps the prism amount independent of harmonic level.
Harmonic level to prism amount on - The prism amount changes according to the harmonic level/amplitude.
Harmonic level to prism amount inverted - The prism amount changes in an inverted wav.
So that was the Hamonic prism inside FL Studio Harmor, if you have any questions drop them in comments like it's hot.
Now that you know how to shift harmonics however you want, design some metal sounds and I will see you soon in the next module where we will talk about the Pluck section in Harmor.