How to Make an Agressive Phased Formant Wobble Synth in NI Massive
This sound is a seriously wicked synth, building in intensity and character as you move up the keyboard with a little help from Massive’s KeyTracking feature.
Big, filthy, nasty, heavy, distorted, layered, wobble synths are everywhere right now, and NI Massive is being used to created a ton of them. This is an approach to this popular sound that will help to elevate your music and increase the tension and excitement as you move from one end of the keyboard to the other. It has a monster low end, with a slow rhythmic, pulsing wobble and a high end that builds in harmonic presence and in speed. This combination works incredibly well together and can easily be a part of a wide range of music styles.
We start with OSC1. Load up a Pulse-Saw Sync wavetable and drop the pitch just a hair over one octave. On the OSC2 panel, load up an Escalation I wavetable and offset the pitch up a few bits. And for OSC3, load up the Chrome wavetable and raise the pitch one octave. All three of the oscillators are routed to Filter 1.
A small amount of phasing is introduced to the OSC2 sound through the Modulation OSC panel.
Now to set up the filters. On Filter1 load a Lowpass 4 filter and set the volume to full. On Filter2, load up a Daft filter and raise it’s volume to full. Now to get the kind of processing that we want, we will now set up the filters in a state between serial and parallel. This will send most of the signal through Filter1 before it reaches Filter2. Now set the filter mix to be biased towards Filter1, as seen in the image below.
A quick stop at the main Envelope to shape the curve a bit, and increase the volume.
Now on the 5LFO tab, set your up to match the image below. You will notice that not only has the top wave been swapped out for a square wave, but it is also being mixed evenly with a sine wave below. The Internal Envelope of this LFO has also been tweaked a bit to extend the attack and decay. This internal envelope is then set to modulate the amp parameter of the LFO. And KeyTracking is set to modulate the rate parameter of the LFO, which increases the rate as you move up the scale.
Now we can assign this LFO to modulate the cutoff and resonance parameters on both Filter1 and Filter2 (as shown in the image above).
On the Voicing tab, you will need to increase the number of voices being used. Now turn on the Pitch Cutoff, switch it to chord mode and tweak it just a bit to introduce a little more phasing. Toggle on the Pan Position and slide it away from mono in the center, to give this sound some more space to develop in.
Let’s now move down to the Noise panel and load a Metallic preset and send this signal to both filters. We will set up the Feedback panel, routed to both filters and modulated by KeyTracking, as well.
A little more shaping needs to be done to accentuate the right elements of this sound. On the Insert1 panel, load up the Bitcrusher and assign KeyTracking to modulate the Crush parameter. Now on Insert2, load the Sine Shaper preset.
The last steps take place in the FX and EQ tabs. Load the Brauner Tube in FX1. This will provide some much needed drive and distortion. And for FX2, load the Delay effect. And lastly, turn on the EQ and set it up to match the image below. This will help call out some of the formant elements in the middle of the frequencies and accentuate some of the cooler effects of the phasing.
You can see a picture of the entire Massive interface below, as well as hear a couple of audio examples. The first player has just the solo synth. The second has the synth being played along side some other instruments to give you a better idea of how it works in a mix. No processing has been done to the sound outside of Massive.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this one. Please send us a message if you have a request for a tutorial, or if you have one that you would like to share with the rest of the MassiveSynth community. We are always happy to help out either way!