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Walkthrough of EXHALE by Output

Welcome to Exhale by Output. This is your modern vocal instrument that takes things to a whole new level, and whether you’re a producer, an artist, or a composer, anyone who wants to push the envelope in terms of what’s possible with vocals, that’s what this instrument can do, and it’s all centered around this brand new vocal engine, designed by us at Output.

This video is going to run you through exactly how this works, from choosing different presets, manipulating the macros, and looking at the different note modes, right through to actually diving into the engine and seeing what’s possible in terms of either tweaking an initial preset, or designing our own sound from scratch.

So let’s see how this works. There are three different modes, and between these different modes, we have 500 different presets to choose from, which we can navigate through using the browser at the bottom of the screen.

If we want to narrow down the selection of presets, we can use the tags to find a specific style of sound. So we can use the mode we want, and then choose a few tags to narrow down these 500 presets to find exactly the sort of sound we want.

So first of all, let’s take a look at notes mode. Now, what notes mode does is it takes some sound sources, and chromatically maps it to the keyboard. So if I press a specific note on the keyboard, let’s say I press the note — let’s say, D3.


Then the sound source is going to be played at the note D3. So we can do chords or melodies that will fit in with our track musically.

Let’s take a look at one of my favorite presets within the notes mode. That is Robo Chant.

[Robo Chant]

And just like Signal, we have four macros in the main window of Exhale that allow us to manipulate the main character of our sound, which we can either do with our mouse, or we can automate it, or map it to a MIDI controller. Whatever suits our personal work flow.

[Robo Chant, adjusting macros]

And we can use the tags to filter down these presets to a specific type of preset. So let’s say I want a warm, airy pad. I can choose warm, airy pad, and it will filter down all of these presets to an appropriate set. I like this one in particular, number 31.

[Lachaim samples]

We have two more modes. Let’s look at the second mode, which is loops.

The way that loops mode works is it takes thirteen notes on the keyboard, and what Exhale does is it maps each one of those thirteen different loops to a different note on the keyboard, specifically C2 through to C3. So for each one of these presets, there are thirteen different loops available that we can either play individually, or we can layer them up for some interesting and creative results.

Let’s give you some examples.

[loop playback]

And that is loops mode.

Let’s move over to slices mode. Slices mode works similarly to loops mode, in the sense that there are thirteen different sounds available, and each one of these sounds is mapped to one of the notes from C2 through to C3, just like loops mode, but the difference with this is the way in which the sounds are initially generated.

So in the case of slices mode, there was one initial sample that has then been sliced up into lots of different bits. The cool thing with this is this allows for a whole new set of creative ways in which you can play the sounds. You can either play them individually, or hold them down for some loop sections, and if you’re really good, you can actually play these slices, these individual samples MPC style for some nice and fun, glitchy, creative results.

Let’s give you some examples of the sounds in slices mode.


And there’s one really useful feature of both loops mode and slices mode that allows you to tune the particular sample you’re working with to a particular key. So let’s grab a preset to demonstrate this.

[Weird Yorke]

And if you look at the top of the screen, you’ll see a Cm. So this means C minor. So this means that the preset we’ve chosen will be tuned to the key of C minor. If we click it… You see we have all of these other options as well. So if we were writing a track in, let’s say, A minor, you could click A minor.

[Weird Yorke, A minor]

And suddenly, all of the vocal samples in that particular preset will come out in that particular key, and actually, we have the major scales available too.

[Weird Yorke, adjusting major scales]

Now, most of you will probably stay in this main window, choosing one of the 500 or so presets, choosing one of the different note modes, and tweaking those macros to taste or automating them, or modulating them by hand, but some people might want to take things to the next level, and you can do that in Exhale. You can dive into the engine, whether that’s tweaking a preset, or making your own preset from scratch.

So let’s grab the initial notes mode preset and dive into this engine. The engine is split up into a few different sections. We have the sources panel, we have the rhythm panel, and then we have the effects panel. In particular, there are two different categories of effects. We have the mod effects, and we have the insert effects.

Let’s first look at the sources panel. This is where we generate our initial sound. In the case of notes mode, we actually have two different sources. We have source A on the left hand side, and we have source B, which we can turn on and off.


Now, you don’t have to use two different sources, but I find the best sounds result when you do. So let’s first of all focus on source A, and we can choose a source by clicking this window here. There are four different pages of source sounds we can choose from. We have one shots over here.

[one shots]

And we have pads, the difference being in the case of pads, we can actually sustain the notes, and it will continue to ring out.


We also have tabs Tape 1 and Tape 2. These are more interesting vocal loops that have been processed and taken to a whole new place. Let’s give you a few examples.

[Tape 1 sample]

Let’s choose this one.

[Tape 2 sample]

What I find works well is if you choose source A and source B, but you pan source A very slightly one way, let’s say, 11 or so to the left, and we pan source B a little bit the other way. Say, 11 to the right.

Let’s choose our source B sound.

[Tape 1, source B sound]

I like that one.

Now, we have the source for our sound. Let’s look at the rhythm panel. This is where we can add some rhythmic modulation to our sound, and the way in which this works is we have this rhythm panel that determines the modulation, the rhythmic change that we’ve programmed in, and then depending on how we setup these mod effects, that determines what is actually rhythmic modulation is modulating.

So what I think would be cool is if we have this rhythm panel modulating the pan to basically move the sound side to side a little bit to give it a bit of stereo movement and add some interest.

So we’re going to turn on the pan, and we’re going to pull up this A and B amount. Just basically determines how much this rhythmic modulation is modulating the parameter below. So let’s pull it up halfway or so for source A, and halfway or so for source B.

Let’s see if we can hear now this subtle stereo movement that should happen at a one-eighth division. You can see it says one-eighth. By default, the rhythm panel will be setup with a sine wave modulation. Let’s see if we can hear it.

[panning modulation with samples]

I can definitely hear that moving side-to-side. If we crank up this amount, we should definitely hear it a bit more obvious.

[panning modulation with samples]

I find that subtlety is normally the key with pan modulation. And we can change this modulation shape if we want to, as well as the rate. So we can click pattern, let’s choose this one here, it should sound quite fun, and let’s change the rate as well to something a little bit slower. Let’s try a quarter.


And finally, let’s have a look at the insert effects. These are the effects at the bottom which happen right at the end of the processing chain. They’re not affected by the rhythm panel modulation, they’re purely affected right at the end. So typically, it would have things like compression, delays, and reverb in this box. Let’s change the reverb. Let’s go into reverb. Let’s choose a different reverb. Maybe something a bit more creative. Let’s try Building Clutter Short.

[samples, Building Clutter Short reverb]

Let’s have a little bit of pitch flutter, almost like vibrato. So we’ll hop into the pitch insert effects, we’ll turn on the flutter, we’ll pull — in fact, we’ll turn off the pitch envelope entirely, pull down the amount. If we turn up the amount, we can hear it in action.

[samples, pitch modulation, adjusting amount]

I like that. It’s nice and subtle.

[samples, pitch modulation]

And to put the final finishing touches on our sound, what I want to do is ease back on this rhythm modulation very slightly so that the pan movement is a little bit more subtle and we’re going to hop into the ADSR, the main envelope for our sound, and tweak that a little bit. So we’re going to add a little bit of a longer attack to our sound. At the moment, there’s not much of an attack.

Let’s also add to the release. So we’ll give it a nice release as well. Maybe 1k, the same as the attack. And here’s our final sound.

[sample, adjusted ADSR envelope]

Thanks for watching and stay tuned to our page as we’ll be releasing more videos.




Output designs innovative music software for the modern musician. We've partnered with them to feature some their videos. Learn more at

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