Today I will show you how to make a very cool lo-fi style rhythmic synth that can be used in downtempo, chilled, ambient and minimal productions quite easily.
[aside title="Beautifully Subtle!"] Lo-Fi is such a wonderful genre of music because it actually seeks out and embraces noises and impurities, which is kinda rare in today’s digital age![/aside]
Ideally, this sound will need very little tweaking to be used successfully in a song. That being said, I highly encourage you to play around with it once you are done following along with this NI Massive tutorial to see if you can truly make it your own sound. This same approach can be used to create a wide variety of sounds, not just something minimal and subdued like this.
To begin with, load up a Sine-Triangle wavetable on OSC1 and set it to run in Formant mode. Next, load a Roughmath II wavetable on OSC2. And lastly, load an Escalation I wavetable on OSC3. This gives us our very core sound, but it’s a long way from what it will be. Routing will become important as we move through this tutorial, so make sure that at the end you match up your setting to match those shown in the pictures provided.
Next, a Daft filter is inserted into Filter1 and an Acid filter on Filter2.
Now that we have the basics set up, let’s begin to build our modulation controllers. To save on time and space here, we will make all them together and then assign then to the necessary parameters throughout Massive. Let’s begin with the main Amp Envelope.
Now for the 5LFO tab. This will be used to modulate the wavetable position and Intensity parameters on OSC1, and will generate a rhythmic pulse to our sound.
The 6LFO tab is kept very simple. It will be used to control the wavetable position and Pitch values on OSC2.
The 7PERF tab will be used to generate even more rhythmic motion to our sound by modulating the Amp value of OSC1.
The 8LFO tab is also going to be kept pretty simple and will be used to slowly modulate both Filter1 and Filter, as well as an Insert which will be added to the mix shortly.
Below are two images showing the settings for the controller assignments. Notice the filter routing of OSC1 and OSC2.
Now let’s add some Noise. I chose Murmur, as it really seems to fit the feel I am shooting for here. And a small amount of feedback needs to be fed into the filters.
Time to set up our Inserts. Load a HP LP Filter onto INSERT1 and assign the LFO we just made on the 8LFO tab to control both knobs, as is shown in the image below. A Sample & Hold effect is also added to INSERT2 at this point.
The next step is to set up the Voicing tab. Increase the Unisono to a value of 2, turn on the Pitch Cutoff feature, switch it to Chord mode and offset the slider very slightly to add a small amount of phasing to the sound. And before we leave here, turn on the Pan Position feature and spread the sound out across the stereo field to make our sound seem fuller and a little bigger.
The last step in the session is to set up them FX and EQ tabs. Starting with FX1, load a Small Reverb. On FX2, load a Synced Delay. And the small adjustments made to the EQ will help finish shaping our sound.
Below you will find two audio samples. The first is just our sound on it’s own and the second is with some other instruments, so you can get a better idea of how this sound may be used and how it works.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Massive synth tutorial. If you have a request or suggestion for future lessons, just shoot us a message and let us know. Thanks for stopping by!