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Welcome back to the second installment of this month-long look at designing analog soundscapes...

Massive Tutorials

Analog Soundscapes and Instruments with NI Massive Part 2 - Drifting Chord

Welcome back to the second installment of this month-long look at designing analog soundscapes and instruments with NI Massive. This week we look at a drifting chord element.

Jonny is back to kick down some more knowledge and a few pro tips about designing this type of drifting chord element that was inspired by the music from bands like Boards of Canada. In the first video, we learned how to make a nicely layered arpeggiated sequence. This time around the focus is another layered element for our song, but this one will have much clearer delineation between the layers and use slightly more complex programming to accomplish the pitch modulation and sequencing.

This rather unique patch will start with a default Square-Saw I wavetable loaded into OSC1, which will become our pluck element. Then a Sin-Tri wavetable is loaded into OSC2, with the pitch dropped two octaves, which will become our bass element. And lastly, a Square-Saw I wavetable is loaded into OSC3, with the pitch raised up one octave, which will become the lead element. Moving now to the Voicing tab, the synth is set to run in Monophonic mode and the total number of Unison Voices is increased to four. The voices are then spread out across the stereo field using the Pan Position feature. You can adjust the glide parameter on the OSC tab.

Now that the core sound has been made, we can begin setting up the first Stepper. This one will be used to create the quick plucky sequence generated by OSC1 once it is assigned to control the pitch parameter. The second Stepper is set up and assigned to modulate the pitch of OSC2, which will create a simple bassline. The third Stepper will be assigned to the Pitch parameter of OSC3 , giving us the lead element in this patch.

The rest of this process is all about shaping the overall sound and adding more subtle modulation assignments to change things up a bit and make it a warmer analog layered sequence. A Performer is assigned to control the Amp parameter of OSC1, providing us with a nice pluck effect. The Modulation OSC panel is set up and used to modulate the position of OSC3. A small amount of Chorus and Reverb are added to provide a bit more depth and space. The EQ unit is used to shave off some of the high end frequencies, softening the over all sound. Finally, a Lowpass4 filter is loaded into Filter1, with a modulation envelope controlling the Cutoff parameter for a nice reveal effect as the sequence plays through.

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