Quick & Easy Series: Deep House Synth in NI Massive
Welcome back to the Quick & Easy NI Massive Tutorial Series! In this episode I will be showing you how to create your own deep house synth that can be customized to your liking. To begin with, like most other tutorials in this series, the final product is by no means final and should be considered a template or starting point for you to base your own sounds off of. I am simply trying to show just how quick and easy many of the most popular and iconic sounds in music can be made in just a couple minutes using NI Massive. Let’s get started!
First off, this deep house synth is going to have three oscillators, many others you encounter may only have two, but I would like to create something a little more flexible so it can be utilized in more than just one kind of music. So I have selected Herby for OSC1, Disto for OSC2 and Classic for OSC3, as all three of these basic wavetables embody the type of sound we have all come to know and love as deep house. Take a look at how each is set up before moving on to the filter panels, and take notice of the filter routing sliders at the right of each of the OSC panels. The slight detuning of each of the three oscillators is simply meant to create a subtle phasing effect that will later be enhanced just a bit more with further modulation.
We are now going to set this up as a Serial filtered sound rather than the typical default Parallel, which means all three oscillators will be running through only Filter 1 (because this is how we are routing them) before going through the Filter 2 panel. So the second filter will receive your sound already shaped by the first, further manipulating the waves. We are also going to move the far right slider all the way down to Mix 2, so we only hear what is coming out at the end of this serial chain. Now select Daft from the Filter 1 Panel and Lowpass 2 from the Filter 2 panel, and turn both volume sliders all the way up. Set your knobs to match those shown in the image below.
We now move to the FX and EQ panels to we can get closer to that big spread out and spacious sound that comes to mind when we think of deep house. Add Reverb to FX1, Chorus to FX2 and turn on the EQ. Go ahead and set your parameters to match those seen in the images below before moving onto the next step.
Now you may wonder why we made such slight adjustments to the EQ. It’s actually to help this next addition pop out a bit more. This iconic sound comes from a time period when tapes still ruled our stereos, so I tend to add a little of that tape sound back to this kind of synth. Move down now to the Noise and Feedback panels. Select Tape Hiss for the Noise and adjust the settings on both panels to match the image below. Without the change made to the EQ, this addition is not heard the same way. You can hear this by turning off the EQ panel and turning it back on again.
Time to adjust the main envelope to get the true ‘lead pad’ sound we are looking for. So on the 4Env tab go ahead and set yours up to match the image provided. The slight adjustments to Attack and Release will make the sound ease in and out more in the character of the traditional sound. The small hike in the Decay level will help combat the quieter overall sound caused by the filters and lowered amp settings of the main oscillators (all of which are in place to soften the synth).
Earlier I mentioned that the slight phasing effect created by the detuning of the oscillators would be enhanced somehow. We will now walk through this. Go ahead and click on the 5LFO tab and turn down the Rate just a little, as is shown in the image below. You will also want to move the top sine wave over to match mine.
We will now apply both the LFO and the Envelope we just set up to the Modulation OSC panel. First, click on Phase to se up the Mode. Now click on 3, so that OSC3 is being affected by the changes we make here. Now detune the main Pitch value just a bit and apply the LFO and then the Envelope to the Phase controller knob as I have in the image. This now slowly changes the sound of the sound leaving the OSC3 panel and adds a very subtle touch of character and development that will benefit most music of this type.
That’s it! This is our basic deep house synth. It is now up to you to use the right chords and progressions to really bring out the full potential of this sound. And since this is a Quick & Easy tutorial we will leave that part of the process for another day. For know you can hear it in action, with a very basic house beat, by listening to the audio sample included below. As always, all the settings and even the overall approach of creating this sound are mere guidelines and you should feel free to experiment and play with it to better suit your needs. And as with many other synths, there will always be more than one way to arrive at this sound. That is the true beauty of sound design.
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of the Quick & Easy NI Massive Tutorial Series. If you have feedback for us or want to suggest a topic, please do not hesitate to leave a comment be low or contact us directly!