FXpansion’s Geist 2 features functionality known as “TransMod”. I’ve been interested in learning about this for a while, but didn’t get around to it until recently. I didn’t really understand what it was, but had read an interview with the Crystal Method a couple of years back where they seemed to be excited about it.

So what is the TransMod feature? According to Geist’s FAQ section it “allows you to dial in complex modulation setups from interacting modulators like LFOs, step-sequencers, envelopes, maths functions and macro controls in a very intuitive way. You can set modulation depths from each modulation source to virtually any parameter in Geist2 in a visual way instead of the rather abstract list-based approach of a traditional modulation matrix.

In practical terms this means that you can add life to almost any parameter in Geist that you want using modulation. You can apply envelopes, velocity, randomization, step sequencers and more using the TransMod capabilities. I like to use it to vary the gain on a pad or layer, so that the volume of that particular sample varies in a similar way to how a human would actually perform.

I find that the trickiest part of beat making is making the beats not sound robotic and repetitive. There are a lot of tricks to avoid this robotic feel, and I’m always looking for more. Right now the TransMod feature in Geist is my new favorite way of handling this.