Making Avant-Garde and Ambient NI Massive Drones

With so much attention on bass music and EDM genres, it is easy to forget just how flexible Massive really is. This lesson shares how to make some very deep NI Massive drones!

For me personally, some of the most enjoyable sound design and music making sessions I have are 100% free and open without any pressure to make anything specific. This can result in deep ambient stuff, or perhaps way out there avant-garde material, hard hitting glitch-hop, old school funk, etc. The list goes on and on. One thing remains consistent in these sessions though. NI Massive is usually part of the project at some point as it begins to develop. And the reason I continue to turn to it (even though I have a ton of other synths to use) is that it is so easy to make it do what I want. This lesson in making NI Massive drones is a nice reminder that this amazing synth is not made to produce any one kind of sound or music. It’s called Massive for a reason! It can do just about anything you could ever ask of a wavetable based subtractive synthesizer.

This sound starts out with just one oscillator in play. But as you can see it is quite easy to keep adding more elements as you build up you NI Massive drones. It is such a liberating experience to simply experiment and play with the different features and parameters in extreme ways to create new sounds. Using the Feedback parameter of the Comb filter so early in the audio chain let’s you take advantage of so many more opportunities compared to using just the main feedback unit on its own. And running the filters in Serial mode rather than the default Parallel mode allows for much greater control over how the filters affect the sounds development over time. In this case, a Lowpass filter is what the sound flows through after being passed through the Comb filter.

Modulation assignments are made to bring movement, interest and many changes over time to the NI Massive drones. Whether you choose to use envelopes, LFOs, Steppers, Performers or a combination of all of them the possibilities seem endless. The more you push the boundaries of Massive, the more you discover new ways to use it! The truly brilliant part of building successful NI Massive drones is that you can use one as a template for even more drones. Simple swap out the wavetables and you have a completely different sound! And this can also be said about using different types of modulation, filters, effects, etc. Once you’ve finished following along with this tutorial, you should experiment with making your own. Chances are, you will create some very cool sounds that will inspire new tracks!


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