How to Design an LFO Sharpened Lead Synth with NI Massive
When it comes to using the LFOs inside of NI Massive, don’t think that making things wobble is all they can do. This insightful tutorial from OhmLab will show you how to make an LFO sharpened lead synth that will keep the party going!
All too often when I am in a training session with someone who is learning how to use Massive, I find that people misunderstand and underutilize LFOs. They are not there just to make things bounce from left to right, or make a bass synth wobble. In fact, LFOs can do a whole lot more than most people ever give them credit for. Although Massive is not a frequency modulation synthesizer, you can still use some of the same ideas to change the way you make sounds in this monster synth. I will show you how you can take one LFO and use it to add a nice sharp edge to your lead synths in this lesson, and it’s something you can use again and again to enhance your sounds in a number of different ways. Let’s get started.
I am going to start with the LFO this time, rather than the oscillators like I normally do. This is simply to help explain the importance of this modulator in regards to how it is set up and affects the parameters it is assigned to control. As you can see in the image below, this LFO is set up to crossfade between a Triangle wave and a Sawtooth wave. You should also notice that it has been assigned to modulate its own Rate. This is really what makes this approach work. You will see how as we progress through the tutorial.
Next up are the main oscillators. First, I loaded up a Melofant wavetable into OSC1, dropped it about 2 octaves and set it to run in Bend – mode. Then, a Grain II wavetable is loaded into OSC2, dropped almost 2 octaves and is set to run in Formant mode. Lastly, an A.I. wavetable is loaded into OSC3 and the pitch is offset a few cents. Now the LFO is assigned to modulate the Wt-position and Intensity knobs of each oscillator, as well as the Amp knob of OSC1. The nice thing about this technique is that you do not here a drastic change with each and every assignment of the LFO. It is simply a tool used to enhance what you already have going.
The next step is to set up the Modulation OSC panel which will be used to introduce Phasing to OSC1 and a Ring Mod to OSC3. The pitch value has been offset a few cents, as well.
Now come the filters. A Lowpass4 filter is loaded into the Filter1 panel, while a Daft filter is loaded into the Filter2 panel. Both Cutoff knobs are being controlled by our LFO.
Some Metallic Noise and some Feedback are both send to through the Filter1 panel.
A Sine Shaper and a Bitcrusher are both inserted into the mix to help accent some of the edge of this synth.
Next, a Brauner Tube Amp is added for some added drive and a small amount of distortion. A Chorus effect is added to widen the sound. And the EQ is used to highlight the highs and lows just a bit.
The last big step in this process is setting up the Voicing tab. First, the synth is switched to run in Monophonic mode so it can glide between notes. Then the total number of voices is increased to four, giving us the chance to use the Pitch Cutoff, Wavetable Position and Pan Position features.
Below is a picture of Massive that shows the routing and the small addition of the LFO being assigned to modulate the Panning of the synth. The audio sample is the finished sound along with soem drums to give you an idea of what it may sound like in a mix. No processing has taken place outside of Massive. The result is an LFO sharpened lead synth, perfect for a wide range of music styles.
Do you have a tutorial request, or perhaps have one of your own that you’d like to share? Let us know by sending us a message today. Thanks for stopping by!