Archives for May 2016
Hello, today i am going to be doing my first in a series of synth sound design tutorials.
The first sound i’m going to show you is a simple but effective staple of 80s bass, the classic slap bass sound!
Im going to be using sytrus to demonstrate with, but you can use literally any 4 op fm synth to do this.
STEP 1. Operator 1 should be at 0.500 in pitch, although this only matters relative to the pitch of the others, this is going to be the carrier operator. I usually leave the volume envelope alone on this one, but if you want to adjust the volume for this one i recommend doing so after all the other steps.
STEP 2. Operator 2 is going to be modulating operator one. This operator is going to also be at 0.500 in pitch, so in ratios that would be 1:1 carrier/modulator. Set the vol envelope to a short, plucky decay with no sustain (I dont usually bother with release for this type of sound). Crank up the modulator signal going into our carrier (operator 1) on your modulation matrix (or equivelent thing) until it sounds a bit like a finger picked bass sound.
STEP 3. Operator 3 is going to be modulating operator 2, this operator is going to be 11.3333 in pitch, although any pitch between 10 and 13 sounds ok, 11.3333 was just a sweet spot. So the ratios so far are 1:1:12 roughly. Set the operator 3 vol envelope to be similar to the envelope of op2. Carefully crank up the level feeding into operator 2 until you reach a nice level.
STEP 4. Operator 4 is going to modulating operator three. So op2 modulates op1(carrier), op3 modulates op2 and op4 modulates op3. The pitch of operator 4 is going to be 0.500. so the final ratios are gonna be: 1:1:12:1. you don’t need to play with the envelopes of this one, just adjust the volume feeding into op3 until it sounds like a convincing slap bass.
The final thing you can do to make this sound even better is to use a subtle early reflections style room reverb with a chorus on top. 😉
Doubts about how to emulate a specific sound? Ask directly to Sam!
When someone says 80s inspired or synthwave or new retro usually metal does not come to mind. However metal was one of the most important genres of the 80s and is still growing strong today. The sound of the 80s synths right now is taking a wide variety of different directions and producers are mixing all sorts of style and genres with the “80s sound”.
To write this, I was inspired by Meteor and his track Destroyer and the whole Parallel Lives album. It sounded like something bikers would listen to in a bar on a side of a dusty highway in the middle of the dessert. In other words face melting and awesome.
The mix of synths, epic drums and distorted guitars works brilliantly. Disonant chords create a dark atmosphere which is very close to the heart of every metalhead. There is a great balance of rhytm and lead which creates tension and release, simply put it is one of those albums that gives you goose bumps the whole way through
Speaking of dark atmospheres there is a great band called Dance With The Dead. Their sound is very cinematic and it is easy to dive into it fully and get lost in the sea of dark, heavy and slightly horrory atmosphere. Their new album The Shape is something very fresh sounding however still holds a lot of traditional synth sounds.
Both Meteor and Dance With The Dead have both heavy distorted rhytmic parts as well as epic, giant, huge melodic solos. And you can hear the inspiration from metal as the heavy cascades of heavy synths and distorted guitars blast through your speakers.
Perturbator‘s The Uncanny Valley is by far the heaviest, the darkest, the meanest synthwave (if you can even call it that) album I have heard by far. There are no distorted guitars but their place is taken by an orchestra of face melting synths. Dark atmospheres and satanic imagery on the album cover art is adding to the metal side of it. I would recommend putting this on full blast and playing some Doom or Duke Nukem
As well as the artists mentioned above there is a great V/A compilation put out by Werkstatt Recordings titled Altars of Synthness. With a goat skull and such a badass name this is also cover album. Synthwave covers of metal. To me a highlight was a Raining Blood cover by The Deathless. Even though the idea, the art and the concept of this compilation are great the tracks are not as heavy as they could have been it lacks the punch and the drive that are so essential to metal.
Overall, I am very excited to see more and more mixes and blends of synthwave with metal. The heavy and dark side of synth music is here and it melts faces off.
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