What up music producers. If you’ve been stuck in the lab for days on end like me, you may be looking for something that will spark your creativity and inspire you to create your own new sample sounds. In this post I have rounded up a few tutorial videos that will hopefully get you going on creating your own new samples and sounds with your soft synths and samplers. There are tons of techniques out there that can really help you to add more texture to your music production, and any time you learn new music production techniques you are bound to stumble on some cool sounds through experimentation.
I have found that this experimenting process is much more satisfying when you have a very good understanding of the production tools that you are using. A lot of us like to load up preset patches in samplers and synths and tweak from there – its a great starting point. But if you can really get in there and understand the various components of your synths and samplers, you are well on your way to creating your own totally unique sounds.
First of all, lets talk about samplers. Most samplers work pretty much the same: you load up a bunch of audio files, map them out across the keyboard and hook up your midi keyboard. boom, instant triggered sounds. Most samplers also have various filters, envelopes and some form of modulation ability. Because so many soft samplers work in the same manner you should be able to gain a lot of working knowledge from these tutorial. If you have happen to have NI’s Kontakt 4, that’s great because it is one of the deepest and most powerful software samplers available to you, and these first 2 videos by Terrence Lennon (Ivory Key Productions) do a GREAT job of getting you familiarized with how Kontakt 4 works, especially if you want to create your own drum kits or other sample patches. Listen closely to Terrence, because he really hits all of the important points in understanding how your sampler works.
Another helpful video is actually a tutorial for Kontakt 3 that I believe NI had a hand in producing. It succinctly outlines the modulation capabilities of Kontakt 3 (which of course is applicable to Kontakt 4). There are about 7 different Kontakt 3 tutorials available on youtube, so if you are really in the dark definitely go back and watch those.
Here is another video that is actually really helpful. This guy explains how to insert a speeding-up kick drum roll into your track (a la a trance-style drum roll buildup right before the drop). I like this video a lot because he shows not only how to use the pitch change modulation from within Kontakt, but he shows how to input the midi into Cubase (or whatever DAW you use) so that it sounds right and smoothly rolls into the drop. Pretty cool.
Now, on to synths. Again, Preset patches are immensely helpful in getting an idea of the sounds you want for a particular track – but why not delve inand learn how to manipulate all of the features of your soft synths? Now we are talking about having REAL creative power at your fingertips!
There are literally TONS of soft synths out there. There is no way that I could begin to list them all, so I’ll just share a couple videos that explain some basic synth programming in two popular synths: NI’s Massive and Reason’s Malstrom synth and Combinator feature.
The first thing most people want to know about Synth programming is how to get really crazy wobbling bass lines or lead lines. This sound is incredibly common in the Dubstep scene that has recently grown in popularity here in the US. You can apply this technique to any synth sound and any genre though, experiment and see what you get! The key to making this kind of sound is by tying an LFO to your filter cutoff and varying the LFO rate…watch the video to see how he does it in Massive!
The last video I want to share will show you how to make a simple lead synth patch, just like you heard in the 90’s gangsta rap days. This is a great video because he will take you through all of the steps of taking an initialized patch and sculpting it into something useable. He manages to touch on several important points that you will want to apply to ALL of your synth programming in the future.
Dre synth effect in Reason:
I hope this stuff is enough for all you music producers to chew on. I’ll be back soon with another post that will expand on your sampler and synth experimentation by providing you with some helpful resources that you can find around the internet, in the way of forums, blogs, etc. In the meantime, keep producing and turn up the music!