Modules

Below, you’ll find detailed descriptions of all the various modules in Lux BWEI.

Clock

Clock

Since the key to brainwave entrainment is synchronization, a lot of design went into making the various components stay synchronized with each other. The core of the system is the unit’s master clock. This clock can be set manually to any frequency from sub-delta ( < 0.5 Hz) all the way up to the beta range (45 Hz) or even higher (although you might not want to use it at such high frequencies). The clock may also be slaved to the DAW’s project tempo, or one of several fractions or multiples of it. Several other Lux modules have their own clocks, which can then be synchronized to fractions or multiples of the master clock. This allows the creation of complex sync relationships that can follow changes in tempo, yet still remain in sync.

Tempo Sync – this parameter synchronizes the clock to the DAW’s project tempo. You can select musical lengths from as slow as 2 bars to as fast as 64th notes. Dotted values are also available.

(Hint: Tempos are measured in beats per minute, or BPM. This is a count of how many quarter notes can be counted in 1 minute. Therefore, 60 BPM = 1 beat per second = 1 Hz. The formula is Hz = BPM/60)

When the clock is not synchronized to tempo (that is, when Tempo Sync is set to “None”), the Rate knob can be freely adjusted. The text readout below the knob displays the rate value in Hz, whether the clock is sync’ed or not

The Range Readout appears just below the Tempo Sync dropdown list. It simply tells what brainwave range the current rate falls under, according to the following values:

Range Frequency Commonly Reported Effects
Sub-Delta 0 – 0.5 Hz Unknown
Delta 0.5 – 4 Hz Deep, peaceful sleep to deep relaxation
Theta 4 – 8 Hz Deep relaxation, imagery, dreaming
Alpha 8 – 13 Hz “Relaxed alertness”, imagination, meditative mind
Beta 13 – 30 Hz Heightened alertness & concentration
Gamma 30 – ? Hz Unknown

 

Light LFOs

LightLFO

These are 2 of the 4 modules that send an (optionally) flashing audiostrobe (light) signal. They work by taking a constant audiostrobe tone and “chopping it up” with a waveform.

  • Rate Sync – choose whether to synchronize the flashing to an outside source or set it manually (“None”)
  • PW/Ph Sync – choose whether to sync Pulse Width and Phase knobs to either the Audio, Noise, or BB LFO. This creates a cool effect which makes the lights correspond exactly to any changes to the audio module to which they’re sync’ed.
  • Waveform – choose whether to modulate the audiostrobe signal with a sine, saw, ramp, triangle, or pulse wave.
  • Rate – When Rate Sync is set to manual, the Rate Knob lets you dial in the desired rate by hand.
  • PW – (Pulse Width) changes the ratio of on/off for each cycle of the pulse waveform. Low values = mostly on. High values = mostly off.
  • Phase – Waveforms usually start at zero. Phase offsets the start point of the waveform. The range goes from -180 to +180 degrees. + or – 90 degrees is perfectly out of phase.
  • Bright – controls the volume (brightness) of the audiostrobe signal.
  • Range Readout – appears just below the Rate Sync dropdown list. Click here for a fuller description.

 

Light Triggers

LightTrigger

The light triggers use a MIDI note as a switch for turning the audiostrobe signal on and off. While the LFO is easy to program, it is only capable of one rhythm; the endlessly repeating cycle of the waveform to which it is set.

If you want to create a more interesting pattern, you can use the MIDI Light Triggers. By pressing the trigger MIDI note, you turn on the LED. Releasing the note turns it off. By varying the rhythm of your playing, you can make more complex patterns than the LFO. Think morse code vs. a metronome. You can also use your DAW’s MIDI sequencer to create very complex patterns that are impossible to play by hand.

Note that only the lowest octave of the MIDI keyboard (Notes 0 – 11) may be selected as triggers. This frees the remainder of the keyboard for playing binaural beats.

  • Trigger Note – selects which MIDI key (on the lowest octave of the keyboard) will serve as the LED trigger.
  • Velocity – When on, the LED brightness will vary according to how hard the MIDI key is pressed.
  • Attack – Sets the amount of time it takes for the LED to reach full brightness after the key is pressed.
  • Release – Sets how long it takes for the LED brightness to fall back to zero after the key is released.

 

WAV Player

WAVPlayer

This module loads any WAV file and feeds it to the audio input module (see below) for further processing. It can load any size file, provided you have enough RAM to keep it in memory. I recommend using it with harmonically rich sounds which loops seamlessly.

  • Load Button – (Blue folder icon) opens a file dialog for you to navigate to your WAV file. Note that for your saved presets to work correctly (especially when sharing with others), WAV files should be stored in the \VstPlugins\Lux BWEI_*.**\LuxData directory.
  • Clear Button – (Trash Can Icon) clears the wav file from memory, but does not delete it from the disk.
  • Normalize – Raises or lowers the volume of the WAV file so that its peak volume measures at the selected level.
  • Loop Direction – Loop the file continuously forward “LOOPLOOPLOOPLOOP…” or forward, then reversed “LOOPPOOLLOOPPOOL…”
  • Loop Mode – either loops the file, or plays it once, then stops (One-Off).
  • Pitch – Slows down or speeds up the playback speed of the WAV file, by up to one octave. Higher or lower values can be entered manually.

 

Audio Input

AudioInput

The Audio Input module receives audio from either the built-in WAV Player module, or external audio from your DAW (if your software supports it). For detailed instructions on setting up your DAW for audio input, read the advanced section.

The audio that comes through this module is sent to its own dedicated Audio LFO.

  • Source – choose which audio source the module receives.
  • HF Cut – Turns on a notch filter which removes a narrow band of high frequencies around 19.2 kHz (audiostrobe frequency) so that your audio doesn’t accidentally trigger the LEDs.
  • Output – selects a stereo output to which the audio will be routed after passing through the Audio LFO module.
  • Lo Pass – Sets the threshold at which low frequencies are allowed to pass.
  • Hi Pass – Sets the threshold at which high frequencies are allowed to pass.

 

Noise Generator

NoiseGen

Noise is essentially all audible frequencies being played at the same time. If you were to count up all of the individual audible frequencies in the spectrum, you’d find that statistically, most of them are high-pitched. We therefore hear unfiltered noise as a somewhat high-pitched hiss. However, when shaped, noise has some pretty cool properties. It resembles the sound of falling rain, ocean surf, and wind. Because it has this relaxing effect, there is certainly a place for it in AVS sessions.

The noise module allows you to generate noise which can be shaped by the onboard filters and sent along to its own dedicated noise LFO.

  • Noise Type – choose between white noise, which has more high-frequency components in its spectrum, or pink noise, which has fewer (making it sound less hissy and more dull)..
  • HF Cut – Turns on a notch filter which removes a narrow band of high frequencies around 19.2 kHz (audiostrobe frequency) so that the noise doesn’t accidentally trigger the LEDs.
  • Output – selects a stereo output to which the noise will be routed after passing through the Noise LFO module.
  • Lo Pass – Sets the threshold at which low frequencies are allowed to pass.
  • Hi Pass – Sets the threshold at which high frequencies are allowed to pass.

 

Binaural Beats Generator

BBGen

The Binaural Beats (BB) generator lets you select various methods for setting the base pitch of the tones, as well as the rate at which the beats occur. There are also options for playing the tones with a keyboard.

Like the Audio Input & Noise Generator modules, the BB Generator has its own dedicated LFO for modulating the volume of the tones.

  • Rate Sync – Choose whether to set the beats rate manually, or sync it to another source.
  • Range Readout – appears just below the Rate Sync dropdown list. Click here for a fuller description.
  • Pitch Source – Choose to set the base pitch of the sine tones manually from the Pitch knob, or via MIDI (through the keyboard).
  • Release Mode – Sets whether MIDI key presses play forever, or whether they turn off when you release the key.
  • Output – Selects a stereo output to which the BB signal will be routed after passing through the BB LFO module.
  • Rate – When Rate Sync is set to manual, the Rate Knob lets you dial in the desired rate by hand.
  • Pitch – Sets the base pitch of the sine tones.
  • Glide – When playing the tones with a keyboard, glide creates a gradual shift from one pitch to the next when played legato. The knob controls how much time it takes to glide from one pitch to the next.
  • Attack – Sets the amount of time it takes for the sine tones to reach full volume after a MIDI key press.
  • Release – Sets the amount of time it takes for the volume of the tones to fall back to zero when the MIDI key is released. This only works when Release Mode is set to “manual”.

 

Dedicated Audio, Noise, and BB LFOs

DedicatedLFOs

These are the modules which shape incoming audio to “flash” at various rates, either freely, or in sync with the lights. It is with these modules that you can craft isochronic tones by modulating the sources with a pulse wave. Each of these modules also constantly sends out its Pulse Width and Phase values to the Light LFOs so that you can slave the lights perfectly to the audio.

  • Rate Sync – choose whether to synchronize the volume modulation to an outside source or set it manually (“None”)
  • Range Readout – appears just to the right of the Rate Sync dropdown list. Click here for a fuller description.
  • Waveform – choose whether to modulate the audio signal with a sine, saw, ramp, triangle, or pulse wave.
  • Rate – When Rate Sync is set to manual, the Rate Knob lets you dial in the desired rate by hand.
  • PW – (Pulse Width) changes the ratio of on/off for each cycle of the pulse waveform. Low values = mostly on. High values = mostly off.
  • Phase – Waveforms usually start at zero. Phase offsets the start point of the waveform. The range goes from -180 to +180 degrees. + or – 90 degrees is perfectly out of phase.
  • Depth – controls the strength of the volume modulation. Set at zero, you hear no modulation at all. At 10, the volume cycles up to full blast and back down again to silence repeatedly at the set rate.
  • Smooth – Softens the sharp edges of the saw, ramp, and pulse waveforms to minimize audible clicks.
  • Stereo – (Audio & BB LFOs only) Delays one side of the stereo signal, giving a “widening” effect to the stereo image. Note that when set to 10, the stereo parameter effectively doubles the modulation rate. Entrainment purists may want to set the rate of the LFO to 1/2 the desired rate while using this feature at full blast.

 

Modulation LFOs

ModLFO

This is where the possibilities for session design get really crazy. As you play with the parameters in Lux, you’ll notice that the most amazing effects are created when parameters change over time. For instance, slowly changing the Pulse width of a Light LFO seems to create the perception of changing geometric patterns behind your closed eyelids. Tweaking the Noise Generator’s Hi Pass filter sounds really cool. The Mod LFOs can be used to automate these kinds of changes over time.

The Mod LFOs do not output an audible signal. Instead, they output a waveform which can be used to control many other parameters in Lux. It is used in conjunction with the Modulation Matrix.

  • Rate Sync – Since the type of modulation is not intended for brainwave entrainment, the sync choices available here are all divisions of the master clock rate.
  • Waveform – Choose the waveform of the modulation signal. These modules have a much more extensive list of waveforms available. Experiment!
  • Rate – When Rate Sync is set to manual, the Rate Knob lets you dial in the desired rate by hand.
  • Depth – controls the strength of the modulation signal sent to the Modulation Matrix.

 

Modulation Matrix

ModMatrix

Think of the Mod Matrix as a patch bay for modulation signals. It is with this module that you take the signals from Mod LFOs 1 & 2 and tell them where to go and what to do.

Notice that there are separate horizontal rows at the top which correspond to the two Mod LFOs. Along the bottom are vertical columns which represent destination parameters. Each destination parameter has a pair of small knobs (Min and Max) for each Mod LFO, which gives control over how the parameter responds to the modulation signal.

It can be confusing, so let’s look at an example: We want the Left Light LFOs brightness to change slowly over time; to gradually go from zero to full brightness. This can be achieved by sending a modulation signal from Mod LFO 1 to the Left Light Bright parameter.

First, set the Mod LFO 1 to a sine wave. Set its depth to 10 and make sure it’s turned on.
In the Mod Matrix, find the Left Light Bright column and find the cell where it intersects the LFO 1 row.
Inside of this cell, set the Min knob to 0 and the Max knob to 10.

Now, when you play the session, you’ll see that the Left Light LFO’s brightness knob is illuminated with a red LED, and it appears to be moving on its own. If you decide you don’t want the Left Light LED to turn off all the way as it’s being modulated, you can adjust the Min knob to a higher value, like 5. Now, you’ll see that the LED is gradually fading from full to half brightness and back again.

As you can see, the possibilities for creating visually and musically interesting sessions are greatly increased by using the modulation matrix.

  • Min Knobs – Set the value that a parameter will take on when it receives the minimum value of a modulation signal; or in other words, at the trough of the modulation waveform.
  • Max Knobs – Set the value that a parameter will take on when it receives the maximum value of a modulation signal; or in other words, at the crest of the modulation waveform.
  • Freeze – “Pauses” Mod LFOs 1 & 2 at their current value, and then resumes when the button is clicked again. This is useful for investigating the cause of certain visual or audio effects. For instance, if you have a complex modulation patch set up in the Mod Matrix (with many parameters changing over time), you may notice that at a particular moment, a striking visual pattern appears behind your eyelids. If you click Freeze, you can then take off the goggles and study the various parameters to discover how that effect was achieved.
  • Reset – Returns all of the Min and Max knobs to their default positions, effectively cutting off the modulation signal to all parameters. Individual Min or Max knobs can be reset by double-clicking on them.

A side-effect of using the mod matrix is that when you reset it, you’ll notice that many parameters jump to a centered position. I have spent countless hours trying to find a solution to this behavior, but with no success. If I ever figure it out, I will certainly update the plugin. In the meantime, please just do your best to work around it.

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