How to Synthesize a Bomb Explosion Sound in NI Massive
There are many ways to create impressive explosive sounds in NI Massive. This quick lesson in how to synthesize a bomb explosion shows just one way and utilizes a few key features within the synth that can be used in many variations of this same idea. It only takes a few minutes to really nail a sound like this one, but to make it impressive requires a bit more work outside of the synth itself. So once the sound design portion of this tutorial has been completed, I will share a couple of pro tips to help you make it bigger and much more believable!
Normally I begin a sound design session in NI Massive with setting up the oscillators, but for this type of sound I generally like to start by setting up the envelopes. There will be two main envelopes used in this lesson. The first is this Modulation Envelope you see in the image below. It will be used to help shape the delivery of the sound and is essential to making it more realistic. After all, if you are going to synthesize a bomb explosion it needs to come across just right or it just sounds lame.
This next image shares the Main Amp Envelope curve. Notice that both of these envelopes have the Zero Trigger Reset feature engaged.
Next, the main oscillators are set up. In this example I have chosen to use a Square-Saw I wavetable loaded into OSC1, a Crusher wavetable loaded into OSC2 and a Carbon wavetable loaded into OSC3. Many other wavetables could have been used to achieve similar results, so you definitely experiment with others to find your own variation on this sound. There is great flexibility when you attempt to synthesize a bomb explosion in NI Massive. You can also see that the Modulation Envelope we set up earlier has been assigned to control to Intensity and Amp knobs of each of the oscillators. One more thing to take note of before moving on is the filter routing assigments for each oscillator.
Now we can set up the Filter1 panel with a Lowpass4 filter and adjust the Cutoff parameter accordingly.
We are about to add some Feedback, Insert Effects and noise, so setting up the Routing tab first will allow us to control how these things affect our sound overall.
Brown Noise and Feedback are introduced at this point. The Feedback is especially integral to synthesize a bomb explosion properly.
A Sine Shaper insert effect and a Hardclipper insert effect are added to provide more grit and drive to the sound.
The total number of Unison Voices is increased to two on the Voicing tab.
The Restart Via Gate feature is enabled on the OSC tab and the starting position of OSC1 is set. It is absolutely necessary to have this type of sound delivered exactly the same each and every time it is triggered. To synthesize a bomb explosion like this is an exercise in understanding how a sound like this actually works in the real world and then trying to recreate every part of the mechanics behind it.
The last step in designing this explosion is to set up a Dimension Expander on the FX1 tab, a Reverb on the FX2 tab and the finish shaping the sound with the EQ unit. If you have been following along with the lesson up to this point you will know that although the sound is pretty good, it is nowhere near great. So we need to spend a little time spicing it up with some additional processing in your DAW.
Parallel processing is the key to making ti all come together. It helps preserve the original sound and the dynamics, while increasing impact and presence. Below is an image of the mixer board setup, as well as the setup for each of the three plugins used. An EQ is placed directly on the sound’s channel. A compressor and a reverb unit are both loaded onto auxiliary channels which we rout the sound to via individual busses. The sends happen Pre Fader and the setting of the compression and reverb are extreme, but since they are layered with the original sound at a lower volume level it all works out just fine. Keep in mind that there are any number of things you can also do to intensify this sound or otherwise tweak it to your liking. EQ, compression and reverb are just the basics and you should expand upon what we’ve done here to make it your own.
Here is the final sound.[audio:https://www.massivesynth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Massive-Bomb-Explosion-by-OhmLab.mp3|titles=Massive Bomb Explosion by OhmLab]
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