Steppin to the AM
Modulation sources help a sound evolve over time. When creating a pad sound for example from a sampled hollow tube try adding some band pass filters and setting the cut off and resonance to be modulated by an Envelope or Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO). This set to a slow rate will cause a long evolving or moving sound that may be more complex and interesting. Additionally Mod sources can be controlled by aspects such as a mod wheel on a keyboard or even by the velocity envelope on your keyboard. So by pressing a key harder you can make your sound evolve more sharply or more smoothly depending on your positive or negative settings. When used on Drums Modulation sources can cause some pretty interesting and funky results such as a filter sharply cutting a kick or snare drum to create a pulsing effect.
Side chaining is the aspect of using a different source to control a parameter on your sound. This is often applied to compressors by having a kick drum side chained into the bass lines compressor. This will allow the bass line to quiet down just as the kick drum is triggered and can create a nice pumping sound. This technique can also be used to create high hat and cymbals that pulsate through a mix. Mod sources and destinations can really open up the way a sound is expressed.
So don’t hesitate to try interesting combinations like having more than one parameter modulated by the same source. Simple sync of an LFO to a filter in time with the music even when used subtly can cause a great feel in a track. If your able to save your sound along with envelope and modulation settings it can be a really great way to take a mundane sample and spice it up a good bit.