NI Massive Knowledge Bank Series: Labrinth Style Gliding Synth
Today we explore how to make a gliding synth that moves between two main sounds, as you hear in the Labrinth song Earthquake.
Welcome back to another installment of the Knowledge Bank Series, where I pick a question from the MassiveSynth Knowledge Bank Forum that has yet to be answered and provide an in-depth look as to how you can go about making the sound, fixing the problem or whatever else the post has to do with. Today we explore how to make a gliding synth that moves between two main sounds, as you hear in the Labrinth song Earthquake. The question was posed by Knowledge Bank user, 1DAN and I’m glad he did because this is a pretty useful technique and can save you a lot of extra work in the long run.
Like I mentioned in the forum, this really comes down to proper Macro assignments, filter mixing and EQ automation. So let’s get right into it and see how it’s done!
First we need to make a nice layered sound to work with. I chose to make something similar to the synth heard in the Labrinth song so I could provide the most relevant answer possible for the original forum post. This needs to be a rather full sound with three oscillators working to allow us to make to the transition have the most impact possible. Keep in mind as we move through this tutorial, that any filter, EQ mix, Inserts, wavetables, etc can be used and I really do suggest that you play around with this for your own projects.
First, the OSC tabs. On OSC1 I selected the Sonic wavetable and set the Mode to Bend+. On the OSC 2 tab I chose Sinarmonic II and set the Mode to Bend+. And for OSC3 I selected Strontium and set the Mode to Bend-. Also take notice of the filter routing via the sliders at the right side of each OSC panel. This will allow for better control of both sound design and gliding between our two main sounds in the end.
Now before we go any further, we need to make a few adjustments to the main envelope on the 4Env tab.
And now to set up our glide so we can hear it throughout the entire process of building our synth. Click on the OSC tab and set it up according to the image below. Take notice of the Restart Via Gate selection, as well as the Attack and Decay settings.
We now must make a couple changes to the VOICING tab in order for the glide effect to be heard.
Now onto the Filter panels. For Filter one I have gone with Lowpass 4 and turned the volume slider all the way up. And for Filter 2 I have selected Comb and set the volume to about half. Make sure you settings match up without he example image before moving on past this step, including setting the Filter Mix slider all the way down in the Filter 2 position. This means that all we hear now is the sound running through the Filter 2 panel.
Time now to put a tube amp into play to rough the sound up a bit. Set up a Classic Tube on the FX1 tab and adjust the knobs according to the image below. And add Chorus to the FX2 tab. Again, follow the example image to arrive at the best settings. To add to our overdriven sound we now turn on the EQ tab and turn up all the parameters a bit.
We need to give this sound a bit more life and feel. So turn on the MODULATION OSC panel and set the Position mode to oscillator 3, adjust the knob to match the image below. I also added some noise. I selected the Hi-Metallic setting and made some parameter changes. Then set up the Feedback to run almost exclusively to Filter 1 and set up the Routing panel as seen in the image below. Notice that the little return arrow on the Feedback panel now reads “F1”.
Next I added a couple of Inserts. On the INSERT 1 panel I chose the Frequency Shifter and for INSERT 2 I chose the Parabolic Shaper. This is pretty much the last thing to set up before we can begin assigning our macro control.
As you can see in the image below I used one Macro to control a bunch of different parameters. The main things affecting the sound is the Filter Mix slider and the EQ. There is a second image showing the macro assignments on the FX1 tab. Now by turning the single Macro knob, or automating it in your DAW, you can easily achieve the same effects that Labrinth does in his song Earthquake.
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of the Knowledge Bank Series. If you have a question that’s gone unanswered for a while or happen to have a sound you wish to emulate, let us know by posting your question or request in the MassiveSynth Knowledge Bank Forum and who knows, you may just end up getting your’s answered in an in-depth post like this one! Thanks for tuning in, everyone. 🙂