Dutch House lead design in Massive
Even if this isn’t a genre you produce, learning this technique can still help you get your head around some of the deeper functions and features of Native Instruments Massive. The next guest post from Rob Janssen.
“Dutch” House leads
by Rob Janssen
Love ‘m or hate ‘m – but they’re something fresh. Well – okay, not entirely fresh, because the method of programming the drums and the usage of a sampler was common in baile funk – the electronic dance music of Rio de Janeiro.
It is however a neat challenge to try to make this in Massive. Now, the usual approach would be something like this:
- – take a sample of a vocal – someone singing, speaking
- – snip out a small piece of a vowel that you loop (most of these sounds have a “vocal” quality to them)
- – play the melody on the keyboard, and use the pitch bend wheel or stick to create the glides – alternatively, use portamento with the time parameter set to a second or so
Let’s see what Massive can do for us in this regard.
Note: in almost all cases I start from the default factory preset. What’s shown here reflects what you have to change about this preset to achieve the result.
In the other article, I show you how to make a better default patch that’s more conducive to a specific sub-discipline of sound design – emulation of most subtractive synthesizers – but since I can’t count on it that people read that article, assume that I’m starting with the good old Untitled Sound you get when you load Massive in your host.
First, the sequence; it kind of sounds like a marching band preset from an old Casio keyboard.
I’m using the Performer for this. The bottom curve doesn’t matter since we’re not using it, but you could consider creating an alternate sequence on the bottom, and then assign a controller to the XFade Seq to blend or switch between these. Sync and Restart are enabled; it’s playing 16th notes, and it’s monophonic – meaning that playing a new key will restart the entire sequence, and you won’t have any of the patterns going out of sync (this is an interesting effect by itself, but not desirable here).
If you don’t know how I did this – click on the “Load Curve” button. Instead of the sliders on the left, a palette appears with curves. When you click on a curve, it becomes a kind of “brush” – you can simply “paint” it over all the steps. Use the ones shown below to draw the sequence; you notice you can change the height of each step by moving the mouse up and down – and you can do this afterwards too (clicking on Load Curve again closes the palette) This is a pretty neat way of drawing automation.
Now that the rhythm is in place, we continue with the pitch.
To make the pattern repeatable and predictable, I’m using a synchronized LFO. This is laziness – I could use a Stepper, enable Glide, but since we don’t have to care much about tonality, I don’t have to. The output of the LFO is routed to the oscillator (see next screenshot). Reason I’ve chosen two curves is so that it’s easy to switch between them with a twist of the knob, if you route XFade Curve to one oft
On to the sound source itself. The sound is very focused – it’s a single oscillator. Route the Performer to OSC1’s amplifier.
As shown in the analysis of the sound, the basis is a vocal. After trying some waveforms – the only science was experimenting – I decided “Melomantic” in the Digital/Hybrid category would do the job. This also shows a small weakness – it’s hard to go through so many waveforms and find the right one – and some waveforms which are excellent for static use lose their charm when you modulate them because the rest of the wavetable isn’t that exciting.
Lastly, add a short slapback delay and the Dimension Expander as the effect – these make a reasonable artificial substitute for a short Room reverb, and they’re probably easier to control.
The result should sound something like this:[audio:https://theheartcore.com/massive/DutchHouse.mp3]