ZEBRA 2 Sound Design

Expert skills, know-how, tricks and tips

This comprehensive, 8-hour synthesis programme will give you the expert skills, know-how, tricks and tips you need to become a sound alchemist.

Starting with the basics of subtractive synthesis, we take you through eight main sections – primarily using Zebra 2 – covering everything from sound sources and oscillators to modulation and FX modules. The tuition moves from the beginner level to some pretty advanced stuff in Zebra 2: all delivered in the relaxed, straightforward tutorial style you’ve come to expect from SoundMagus Music Production Videos.

We’ve included all the patches and presets you’ll need for the course; and all videos are supplied in high resolution mp4 format. With the majority of the videos, we also supply a PDF file with notes consolidating all the main points.

Tricks and tips you need to become a sound alchemist with ZEBRA

Sound Sources, Filters and Oscillators

Videos 1 through 4 show you the ropes if you are a beginner with Zebra or a pro. Once you’re up to speed with the basics you’ll be walked through how to design a sound from the ground up – learning all about sound sources, oscillators and filters.

Video 1 – Synthesis: The Basics
First up – six short videos giving you a quick overview of what’s to come in the rest of the course, and advising you on how to get the best from it. We start by introducing you to the audio path, modulation, modulation sources and lots more in the course’s main software, Zebra 2, moving on to look at basic sound-generation in other synths – namely Reaktor 5 and Predator (these 2 synths are only used in this section).

Video 2 – Sound Sources
This section is split into two videos – basic waveshapes and complex waveshapes. We start off by covering sign-wave harmonics, sawtooth and pulse-wave harmonics, triangle-wave harmonics, square-wave harmonics and, of course, dodecahedron-wave harmon…OK, only kidding! We do, however, go even further in the second video, covering oscillator phase and polarity, hard sync, detuning oscillators, multi oscillators and combining waveforms. Phew! And that’s just section two!

Video 3 – Zebra 2 Oscillators/Sound Sources
Here’s where it gets funky, as we delve into the oscillator module and its parameters. So that’s wave, tune, detune, vibrato, wave selection and mix effects. And more where that came from in the FMO video, including key scale, modes, tuning and vibrato. The third and final video in this section looks at noise sources – white, pink and digital noise and crackles.

Video 4 – Filters
Now it’s onto the fine-tuning, as we take you through low, high and band-pass filters, as well as notch (band reject), peak, formant and comb filters. You’ll learn about filter parameters and slopes, and how to use specific parameters to control others, rounding off with Zebra 2′s comb filter and XMF (cross-modulation filter).

Modulation, automation and effects

The second half of this 8 hour course takes you down the rabbit hole. You’re going to take a look at modulation and automation which is the secret of deep and beautiful sound design. You’ll also learn about how to add effects to help get that sound out your head and into your track.

Video 5 – Control & Modulation
In this section, we move on to cover envelopes – specifically, the MSEG (Multi-Stage Envelope Generator), in Zebra 2. Next, we take you through the ins-and-outs of both global and voice LFOs (Low-Frequency Oscillators), finishing with a look at real-time controls – the X/Y pad, midi-learn and automation, to be precise.

Video 6 – Other Control Parameters & Modules
If you’ve got some brain-room left, we’ve got more stuff to fill it with in section 6 – starting with polyphony, portamento and legato. We also check out Zebra 2′s other features and modules, such as channel and modulation mixers, global effects, the modulation matrix and ARP/SEQ – the arpeggiator.

Video 7 – FX Modules
By now, you’ll be a virtual synths specialist: all that remains is to add the cherry on your cake of sound. We show you how in the effects section. At first, an explanation on Insert FX and Send FX, then we cover specific Zebra 2 FX modules. And just in case you were wondering, that’s the effects grid, modulating FX parameters, the compressor, delays, the equaliser, modFX, shapers, the ring modulator and reverb (comprising the reverberator and diffuser).

Video 8 – Putting It All Together
It’s not over ’til it’s over – and it’s not over yet. Here you’ll find a juicy two hours’ worth of videos on patch construction in Zebra 2.3/2.5, covering bass, leads, pad, arp, strings (bowed and plucked), SFX, percussion and Theremin. And there you have it – subtractive synthesis in just over eight hours!

About SoundMagus

So why did I create SoundMagus Music Production Videos?

Simple. Because I love music, I love making music and I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. I’ve been part of the electronic music scene for as long as I can remember, and it’s given me so much. SoundMagus Music Production Videos is my opportunity to give something back – namely affordable, high-quality video tutorials designed to enhance your creativity, musicality and technicality – no matter what your starting point.

In a nutshell, I want to help people create the music they love, their way – without having to put up with that irritating elitism that exists within some electronic dance genres. The result – great quality music with real depth; music that can be shared and enjoyed amongst our whole online community for years to come.

My music production career got serious back in the early 00s in London, when I completed my HND in Music Technology. Since then, I’ve rarely been without a project to get my teeth into.

As well as developing and managing SoundMagus Music Production Videos, I work on a number of my own Psy Trance projects. I also professionally master albums for LUA Records and will soon be releasing some tracks on MoonQuest Records’ up-and-coming album.

All the best, Mark.