**Intense Tech with Defense Mech — Don’t Sleep on Z (feat. Hypnogram)** - Posted December 13th, 2018 by [DEFENSE MECHANISM](https://defensemech.com) Note: [traducción al Español por Pixel_Guy encontrado aquí](../es/03-no-te-duermas-sobre-la-z-presentando-a-hypnogram.md.html). Hello, and welcome back to Intense Tech, where we take an in-depth look at some of the features of LSDj to both help you level up your understanding and your skills as an artist! In last month’s lesson, we looked at the wave synth. We’ll be detouring away from wave synthesis for a couple lessons, but we’ll return after we lay the groundwork for an exciting wave synth lesson! This month, we’ll take a look at the Z command for LSDj and explore how it can [spice up your life!](https://www.penzeys.com/) **Note**: An earlier version of this post, written by [Hypnogram](https://hypnogram.bandcamp.com) appears at [https://hypnogrammusic.blogspot.com/2016/03/dontsleep-on-z-by-h-ypnogram.html](https://hypnogrammusic.blogspot.com/2016/03/dontsleep-on-z-by-h-ypnogram.html) (Used with permission – Thanks Noah!). --------------------------------------- Like the LSDj Wave synth which we looked at in the last [two](https://defensemech.com/intense-tech/en/01-lsdj-wave-synth-deep-dive-part-1.md.html) [tutorials](https://defensemech.com/intense-tech/02-lsdj-wave-synth-deep-dive-part-2.md.html) , the perplexing Z command is often misunderstood. Let’s clear the matter up with some fun demonstrations of creative uses of the Z command. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be armed with a load of new techniques for adding some controlled chaos to your compositions! To begin, let’s take to the [LSDj manual](https://www.littlesounddj.com/lsd/latest/documentation/) (version 6+), to get at exactly what the Z command is: > **Z: RandomiZe** > > The Z command repeats the last non-Z command, adding a random number to the original command > value. The Z value controls the maximum value of each digit to be added. Now, let’s get right into learning by example! **Random Vibrato** ------------------ ![](../media/z01.mp4) For the first example, I’ll break things down step by step. On step 0, we have a note with a `V00` command. Every other step afterwards, we have the same note with a `Z03` command. Since the last non-Z command was V, each `Z03` will act as another V command, applying one value out of four possible values: either `V00` again, `V01`, `V02`, or `V03`. However, it will not add to or otherwise affect the previous Z command – so you can’t randomize a Z command itself. **Random Duty Cycle** --------------------- ![](../media/z02.mp4) It may not entirely make sense at first how the Z command could apply to a case like pulse duty cycle, since the W command uses graphical values instead of numbers, but rest assured it works very well. 12.5% pulse width = `00` 25% pulse width = `01` 50% pulse width = `02` 75% pulse width = `03` In this example. every `Z03` command has the possibility of applying any possible duty cycle. However, since 25% and 75% effectively sound identical, it will provide more random variation in the sound if the Z command’s range is reduced by changing it to `Z02`, which will give us either 12.5%, 25%, or 50% with equal probability. **Random Panning** ------------------ ![](../media/z03.mp4) The O command is another case where it isn’t obvious how the Z command works. O controls left/right output and can also be used to mute output from both channels entirely. It is therefore important when applying Z commands that you choose the initial value of the O command carefully. `OLR` (both channels on) = `00` `O__` (both channels off) = `01` `OL_` (Left channel only) = `02` `O_R` (Right channel only) = `03` In this example, we are alternating between left-only and right-only panning. However, if we wanted to randomly choose between both channels on, left channel only, and right channel only, we would set our initial O command to `OL_`, then use successive `Z02` commands. In version 6, the Z command also works in tables, where it will randomize the last effect used in the table. Randomly alternating between `OLR` and `O__` can be used on a table for an instrument with Automate=ON for a random gating effect, as shown here: ![](../media/z04.mp4) In this case and in the case of pulse duty cycle changes above, if the range of the Z command exceeds these four values, the value will be the remainder after the Z value is divided by 4. For example, if `Z11` (`11` in hex equals 17 in decimal) randomly applies the value of 17 to our P or O command, 17 divides into 4 4 times, while leaving a remainder of 1, so this Z command would apply the same effect as it would if it were applying the value of `01`. **Random Melody** ----------------- ![](../media/z05.mp4) Let’s note the second part of the LSDj manual’s description of the Z command, where it states that Z controls “the maximum value of each digit to be added.” This means that each digit of the Z command functions independently of the other. > **Example:** > > `Z02` adds one of `0`, `1`, `2` to the original value. > > `Z20` adds one of `0`, `10`, `20` to the original value. > > `Z22` adds one of `0`, `1`, `2`, `10`, `11`, `12`, `20`, `21`, `22` to the original value. > > Note: Randomize does not work with Hop, Groove and Delay commands at the > moment. *Note on the note: Randomize DOES work with Hop, Groove, and Delay commands as of version 8.1.9.* This can be useful in cases where we want to randomize pitch, for instance using the F command. `Fxy` controls pulse finetune with the second digit `y`, and the first digit `x` controls the tuning for pulse channel 2. `x` represents how many semitones (half-steps) should be added to the current note. So by applying `ZF0`, we can randomize a melody, but only in pulse channel 2. Each Z command will add any note in between and including our current note to an octave plus a major third above it.

Random Chords

![](../media/z06.mp4) In LSDj version 4, the digits in the Z commands were not independent of one another, which makes using Z with the C (Chord) command less useful, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some interesting sounds out of it. With the independence version 6 introduced, it’s possible to gain more control so that, for instance, chords can randomly alternate between major and minor. A minor chord is created with `C37`, and a major chord is created with `C47`. Therefore, if we use a `C37` command and apply `Z10`, the Z command will apply either `C37` or `C47`.

Random Sweep

![](../media/z07.mp4) Our final example is a [signature Hypnogram sound](https://soundcloud.com/hypnogram/phantasm-dragon) (listen at the 1:30 mark to hear it in context). It’s really fun and easy. Keep in mind that this lead sound will only work in Pulse channel 1 as it’s the only channel that features a hardware sweep. These are just a few examples of what you can do with the Z command. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try to come up with your own! ------------------------------------------ Please support [Hypnogram](https://hypnogram.bandcamp.com) by buying their albums on Bandcamp!!
------------------------------------------ I hope you enjoyed this tour through the wave channel synth! Thanks to all my patrons for their support. If you'd like to offer support, please consider [joining me on Patreon](https://patreon.com/defensem3ch). It means a lot and it helps me continue to make and host this content, pay for translations, and get your input on what kinds of articles to write next!


Thanks again for reading, and until next time, this is [DEFENSE MECHANISM](https://defensemech.com), signing off! ---------------------------------------- Previous: [ <-- Wave Synth Part 2 ](02-lsdj-wave-synth-deep-dive-part-2.md.html) Next: [libLSDJ --> ](04-manage-your-lsdj-save-files-with-liblsdj.md.html) -----------------------------------------