Posts Tagged ‘Modular synth’

My first tune to incorporate my modular synth!! And yes, it is House, not Drum & Bass. I fancied a bit of a change, and to be honest, the modular does lend itself to House & Techno styles, and I just found it great fun to do!!

For the synth heads out there (if not your thing, skip this bit), the modular sound (the bouncy sound at the beginning of the tune) is produced using 2 No. Tiptop Z3000’s Oscillators going through a Tiptop Z2040 Low Pass filter, which is heavily modulated via some LFO’s, synched via a 4MS QCD and Audio Damage Sequencer 1. This is then further processed within the DAW with a delay, another filter (cutoff tempo synched), a bit of distortion, compression, EQ & finally some soft clipping. The sound is duplicated onto another track, with different processing to provide the mid and low frequencies. This was a real pain to get right, as I wanted some depth a points, but also I did not want the sound to get too muddy.

Anyway, onto other aspects of the production!!

This track totally veered off from my original vision. I wanted the result to be much harder, but I played around with some chords, that ended up becoming the main arpeggiated lead, that I could not resist to use. This resulted in a much more laid back and chilled track. With this basis, I then used the same root note and chords for the violins.

I have used “Cytomic – The Glue” a fair bit on this tune, which has to be honest become my “go to” compressor. I just love the SSL sound, and I have got used to the way it works on the transients, and like how the attack & decay work. I have used “The Glue” on quite of few individual channels, from Violins to tame down some of the high frequencies, to the arpeggiated chords. I love this compressor on the 2-bus it’s just got this lovely “sheen” to it.

The mix down was a long drawn out process, but to be honest, there was some learning on the way that slowed things down, I’m sure a pro could have mixed this in a 10th of the time I have. I used a few new tools this time, mainly “KRK KNS-8400” Headphones that helped me shape the bottom end and Kick (Even with extensive treatment, I cannot trust my room 100%), and they also are a good second reference. I also used the Elysia Museq EQ. Wow, is all I can say about this plugin. It is so transparent, and you can really push some gain without it sounding harsh. I would not use it for clinical chopping, it’s not for that, but to just bring them violins out a bit, and to do wonders on the Master Buss it’s great.

Another new first, was using soft clipping techniques, to clip the transients on the snare and on the Master Buss (amongst others). This allowed me to bring the overall volume of the track up in a more transparent way, than say a compressor, prior to some final limiting.

Samplemagic AB was another great plug-in I have started to rely on, so that I can easily compare my track to commercial releases. I’m still working on getting them to sound as good as the commercial releases though ;-p

Anyway, now this tune is finished I can go back to my modular for further inspiration. Mmmm damn, that means more nights lost in the deep deep hole of the modular world 🙂

I have been busy lately delving into that deep dark place called modular synthesis.

I must admit I was apprehensive at first, as all that I seemed to find on youtube was guys making, ummm, well, bleeps and bleeps and more bleeps. It was a revelation to find some  videos with people using modulars for techno and electro house, including Deadmau5. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to make bleeps and drones, that’s fine, everyone to themselves, but this was not the direction I wanted to go in.

It took a lot of research, but finally I have built a system, that at first seems like a standard synth. But with the addition of a Make Noise Rene sequencer, some Ginksythesis LFO’s and the awesome expert sleepers ES-3 module, I have been able to work in a different way and produce different sounds and melodies than I normal would.

The modular synth

The modular synth

The ES-3 module together with the TipTop Z3000 VCA’s allow me to keep to musical scales and synch everything up perfectly with my DAW. I have more modules planned, including a wave shaper to give me more sonic possibilities.

I have got to say, that even though I cannot save presets, something that worried me when I first thought about getting into modulars, it is more than compensated for, with the programming and sound shaping possibilities. Another thing to mention is that the modular synth community is full of really helpful & friendly people, with the forums having less trolls than other ones I have visited in the past.

So what am I going to do with this? I really fancy trying out some electro house style music, giving me a break from the DnB, so stay tuned!!!