Music is an aural art. If it sounds good, it's good music.
— Duke Ellington
The modulation matrix is used to modulate different parameters in the synth. This can add movement and complexity to the sound. In the analog world, patch cables are used to modulate different parts of the synth. Each row of the matrix can be thought of as a virtual patch cable. These connections allow you to orchestrate how your sound evolves over time. The matrix has 16 rows. Each row has the following fields:
- Source: The control signal generator to use as a modulation source.
- Destination: The parameter to be modulated. Not all synth parameters can be modulated.
- Polarity: The direction the destination parameter is modulated in. Can be either negative, positive, or bipolar.
- Amount: The depth of modulation. A full amount represents the full range of a destination. An amount that is turned up too high will clip the modulation signal.
Multiple modulation sources can be routed to the same destination. This can be used to generate organic or complex movement that isn't periodic. The amount parameter can then be used to dial in the mix of each modulation source. The amount parameter controls the level of the modulation signal being sent to the destination.
In general, static sounds are not very interesting. Modulation helps to give sound some movement and character. That doesn't mean the movement needs to be significant. Sometimes, it's the little things that make the biggest difference. Layering gentle changes using the modulation matrix can turn a simple sound into something far more interesting. In any case, sound design is all about experimentation. Trust your ears, if it sounds good it is good.