How do you get your synths to sound huge?

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?
kamalmanzukie
KVRist
145 posts since 12 May, 2012

Post Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:04 am

Kinh wrote:
kamalmanzukie wrote:
kamalmanzukie wrote:actually ill make it easy for you. heres all of that edited together. its cherrypicked from half a dozen files, with only the parts considered the most beneficial added in. certified fair trade, GMO as hell

if you can get this weakly modulating the frequency of whatever you use (1.5 hz at most + or - at most) i think you'll find some of the mojo you're after
here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aOGuE ... q70Y8Yhut4
I'm no sound designer. So can you tell me what do I need to learn or do to accomplish what you're suggesting. I get the basics of what you're saying which is use a special type of wave form to modulate the frequency of the oscillator. I have FM8 and Reaktor6. Modular synthesis is uncharted territory for me and FM8, as far as I know you have a frequency offset to modulate which has a ratio, both of which are controlled by an 'amount'.
reaktor 6??? brother that was all u needed to say

kamalmanzukie
KVRist
145 posts since 12 May, 2012

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:05 am

Kinh wrote:
kamalmanzukie wrote:
kamalmanzukie wrote:actually ill make it easy for you. heres all of that edited together. its cherrypicked from half a dozen files, with only the parts considered the most beneficial added in. certified fair trade, GMO as hell

if you can get this weakly modulating the frequency of whatever you use (1.5 hz at most + or - at most) i think you'll find some of the mojo you're after
here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aOGuE ... q70Y8Yhut4
I'm no sound designer. So can you tell me what do I need to learn or do to accomplish what you're suggesting. I get the basics of what you're saying which is use a special type of wave form to modulate the frequency of the oscillator. I have FM8 and Reaktor6. Modular synthesis is uncharted territory for me and FM8, as far as I know you have a frequency offset to modulate which has a ratio, both of which are controlled by an 'amount'.
reaktor 6??? brother that was all u needed to say

kamalmanzukie
KVRist
145 posts since 12 May, 2012

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:15 am

Kinh wrote:
kamalmanzukie wrote:
kamalmanzukie wrote:actually ill make it easy for you. heres all of that edited together. its cherrypicked from half a dozen files, with only the parts considered the most beneficial added in. certified fair trade, GMO as hell

if you can get this weakly modulating the frequency of whatever you use (1.5 hz at most + or - at most) i think you'll find some of the mojo you're after
here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aOGuE ... q70Y8Yhut4
I'm no sound designer. So can you tell me what do I need to learn or do to accomplish what you're suggesting. I get the basics of what you're saying which is use a special type of wave form to modulate the frequency of the oscillator. I have FM8 and Reaktor6. Modular synthesis is uncharted territory for me and FM8, as far as I know you have a frequency offset to modulate which has a ratio, both of which are controlled by an 'amount'.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YqO7w ... NAQJ6IuyY3

you're on your own figuring it all out tho. its actually pretty badass 303 clone

Kinh
KVRian
1120 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:04 pm

Thanks for your suggestions but nothing above gets me even close.

Anyone else?

kamalmanzukie
KVRist
145 posts since 12 May, 2012

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:58 am

Kinh wrote:Thanks for your suggestions but nothing above gets me even close.

Anyone else?
yes. learn now to follow your ears. if you know what your after, keep doing things until that is what you hear. unfortunately you seem to be on a streak of not finding. the tools at your disposal are definitely capable of whatever you're after. don't get fixated on the tools, the most important thing is the vision.

Kinh
KVRian
1120 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:34 pm

kamalmanzukie wrote:
Kinh wrote:Thanks for your suggestions but nothing above gets me even close.

Anyone else?
yes. learn now to follow your ears. if you know what your after, keep doing things until that is what you hear. unfortunately you seem to be on a streak of not finding. the tools at your disposal are definitely capable of whatever you're after. don't get fixated on the tools, the most important thing is the vision.
I got the vision, I know what doesn't work, just cant get from point a to b and it's frustrating as hell! :x throwing a mic stand into a perfectly good monitor type frustrating. Shit! this is the only thing I suck at, distortion on polysynth.

kamalmanzukie
KVRist
145 posts since 12 May, 2012

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:06 pm

Kinh wrote:
kamalmanzukie wrote:
Kinh wrote:Thanks for your suggestions but nothing above gets me even close.

Anyone else?
yes. learn now to follow your ears. if you know what your after, keep doing things until that is what you hear. unfortunately you seem to be on a streak of not finding. the tools at your disposal are definitely capable of whatever you're after. don't get fixated on the tools, the most important thing is the vision.
I got the vision, I know what doesn't work, just cant get from point a to b and it's frustrating as hell! :x throwing a mic stand into a perfectly good monitor type frustrating. Shit! this is the only thing I suck at, distortion on polysynth.
hmmm. been there. and i've pushed through a lot of dead ends by trying to be really stubborn in thinking about it in two ways

trying to find some new way of understanding, visualizing, any new angle at all

thinking about what i am trying to achieve, and trying to bridge what would need for that to happen to what the next thing i would need to do would be

probably sounds obvious, but if you're really stubborn and keep wailing almost everything will give way eventually, its an amazing thing about being human, that things tough beyond imagination will give out before we do

sineglacier
KVRer
7 posts since 18 Nov, 2017

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:54 pm

3 saw waves detuned. Then distort result. Then compress result. Then distort compressed result. Then add filter effects. When we do it like this our patches sound pretty huge.

Kinh
KVRian
1120 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:51 am

sineglacier wrote:3 saw waves detuned. Then distort result. Then compress result. Then distort compressed result. Then add filter effects. When we do it like this our patches sound pretty huge.
Any examples of your work where you've done this?

andymcbain
KVRist
179 posts since 10 Jan, 2017

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:48 am

Personally I don't think this sound track sounds aggressive at all but I can see where you're coming from. My theory would be -

The synths sounds huge because they basically span the entire frequency range, and arrangement at that moment in time. It's all in the layering - you've got a high fizzy lead, a harmonically rich bass line, a kick and a snare (possibly more) all hitting on the beat. So the percussive samples are giving you the punchy transient and giving the illusion that the lead and bass have a lot more punch than they really have, and pretty much every frequency in the track is present from subs to top end. Someone mentioned earlier in the thread that if you were to solo these sounds they would sound quite weedy in isolation... I don't know for certain but I would probably agree with that.

You've also got the psychoacoustic thing of the "ooh - ooh - ooh" vocal sounds occurring off the beat, and separate from the punchy transients of the percussion / lead combo, so they sound almost weedy in comparison. This gives a sense of perspective... a big sound is only big when it's placed next to something small.

Nothing fancy going on here IMO, just good mixing, well chosen sounds and clever layering... deceptively simple!

kamalmanzukie
KVRist
145 posts since 12 May, 2012

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Wed May 09, 2018 8:22 am

pretty sure its actually just some type of formant filter. you could get somewhere in the ballpark with a few resonant bandpass filters fixed at vowel frequencies, morphing between them

brainzistor
KVRist
286 posts since 9 Jun, 2015

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Tue May 22, 2018 6:33 am

Kinh wrote: I got the vision, I know what doesn't work, just cant get from point a to b and it's frustrating as hell! :x throwing a mic stand into a perfectly good monitor type frustrating. Shit! this is the only thing I suck at, distortion on polysynth.
Since I play guitar and drums, one of the first things I was doing in Fruity Loops 4 back in a day was to just slap distortion on synths, I wasn't a synth guy, I just wanted to experiment.
However, one day I figured out that it's not just about distortion but it's also about waveforms.
For example, when you just go and slap some random waveform like this in Sytrus:
Image

this waveform will give you nasty sound, it's distorted without distortion effect.
The difference is that with distortion effect you have artifacts all over the place, but with this kind of waveform you don't have those artifacts, the sound is different, it's clean and distorted at the same time,
let's call it a "clinically clean distortion".
Then, you apply unison and you have that fat, distorted bass sound with ease, when you lower down the pitch by -24 and place notes in lower octaves, like C3, D3 notes.
All of this is done in 15 seconds and you just used 1 operator, or oscillator.
Then you can move to 2nd stage to combine that with other operators, to use Sytrus in a typical FM way or for example to combine that sound with a simple sinewave in other operator, to "fill" the sound with sub bass.


I can't talk about FM8 because I never even had it.
If someone told me to create some fat, big, distorted bass sound, I would just go straight to Sytrus and do things I mentioned. It's not something new, I was doing it way back in Fruity Loops 4 because at that time I was interested in breakbeat, big beat, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Propellerheads and stuff like that. So, you have drums and then you need some distorted bass sound.
At first I was sampling my guitar, creating my own loops, I would use Fruity as a drum machine and record crap load of riffs and shit and later on chopping them, changing pitch and stuff, everything was on beat, then I started exploring synths and Sytrus was way complicated for me at that time, but I started learning it by just sitting for days and weeks creating nothing but distorted bass sounds, moving step by step...

After all, there is a good reason why FM synths become popular among dubstep and aggressive dnb genres artists because you can create all those nasty, distorted bass sounds and growls with ease and at the same time everything sounds clinically clean.
I mean, you have people like SeamlessR who created crap load of tutorials and gave presets from tutorials he created. Basically, you have him creating the same thing but in million different ways.
The difference is when you take subtractive synth and use sawtooth waveform and then use distortion on it, you'll have artifacts all over the place. However, if you open Sytrus and slap some nasty waveform, you'll have a clinically clean distortion and then you apply unison on it to "even" up the sound and you can use waveshaper in Sytrus to add additional distortion.

I mean, if you just look at that waveform in the picture, it's how distorted sound visually looks like, you can see how peaks in waveform are cut off, it's like increasing the gain and using limiter and the sound sounds distorted.
It's the same thing when you take electric guitar and set gain to zero. You start increasing it all the way up to 10 and you get distorted electric guitar sound and you when you record it, it looks like this:
|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

Now, the difference is that the source for guitar is a string, the same way when use xyz synth and then apply distortion on it, but when you create a custom waveform, your source is a nasty waveform, oscillator itself and that's why you don't have artifacts, but you can actually control distortion by changing waveform.

This is all related to that sound in video, because that sound is generic to me, there's no any crazy rocket science in that, it's just fat, deep, sound with unison and maybe some stereo enhancer was used to widen up the sound a bit and then you have a separate sinewave used as a sub bass.
Distortion + unison = fat, deep, massive sound.

alligatorlizard
KVRist
94 posts since 14 Mar, 2012

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:24 am

Haven't read thru all replies, so probably already been said, but: distortion! Even if subtle, will be quickest way of making it aggressive. If you don't want it dirty as such, even very subtle drive/dist/saturation will still make a sound aggressive without it sounding like Slayer. I use all sorts for this, Guitar Rig FX pedals, Amplitube, Decapitator, Trash, Saturn, whatever fits. When I first got into synths, I had no idea how to get the sort of sounds e.g. Crystal Method were using - but then tried distortion. Was a bit of a revalation, and as a long-time rock guitarist well-used to stomp boxes, felt silly for not trying it sooner!

If you want it ultra clean, no hint of distortion, compression and eq (and a good starting sound) will have to be your weapons. Chorus/Flange and reverb/delay also will add a lot.

Have fun!

musicartist
Banned
102 posts since 3 Apr, 2018

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:47 pm

Detuning always helps in making a patch sound bigger

User avatar
Ry Manning
KVRer
14 posts since 29 Jun, 2018

Re: How do you get your synths to sound huge?

Post Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:13 pm

For those synths you're talking about, it's not only layers that are detuned and covering the entire voicing of the chord progression - but also a short reverb to get that spatial feature that a plain detuned supersaw won't have (the deep, wide space that characterizes the sound).

Try going through your DAW's reverb presets and you should find a small drum room or something similar - now add it to your supersaw playing your chord progression and adjust to your liking. You will hear the sound i'm talking about. After that, it's really about precise EQ & leveling to achieve the proper spacing in your mix.

Return to “Production Techniques”