December 6, 2020
This sound is very similar to the intro bass on the track “The Hills”, by The Weeknd.
I’m going to go through each section of the synth patch and explain why I’ve chosen these specific settings and how they affect the sound.
We’ve set the VCA (Variable-gain Amplifier) control to “ADSR1”. We want the character of the sounds volume to match the attack, decay, sustain, and release of ADSR1.
The mode is set to mono as we only want to allow one note to be played at a time.
I’ve set voices to 2 instead of 1 as it helps add a bit more character when applying pulse width to the oscillator modifier (seen later).
Drift is set to “On” so that the sound kinda glides between notes as you play. Listen again to the example track to see if you can spot the drift effect.
I’ve kept pretty much all the controls here as the defaults besides the PW (Pulse Width) modifier. I’ve increased the pulse width to give the sound a bit more depth (pulse width gives an almost chorus like sound to a synth) and I’ve set the PWSRC (Pulse Width Source) to LFO2 (which we will see later).
I’ve mostly kept the oscillators to the defaults. Shape 1 is set to a (sort of) saw wave which gives the synth a gritty tone. Shape 2 is set to a pulse wave (square wave) which is a very aggressive tone. Tuning is kept default as well as the other dials.
As I’m using both oscillator shapes, they are both turned up to about half way on the mixer.
To give the sound more power I’ve turned up the sub for a more rounded bottom end.
I’ve added a tiny amount of noise and feedback as they help create more harmonics and therefore more grit. Be careful however as these can quickly muddy a sound.
Finally, I’ve added a bit of ring modulation to add even more harmonics.
I’ve set the VCF mode (Voltage Controlled Filter) to LP/HP (Low Pass / High Pass) which lets you use the CUT slider to remove or add frequencies from low to high. It’s initially set about mid way as I’m using ADSR2 to control the filters effect.
Mix Spread is all the way down as we’re only using one filter.
Due to my incompetence we’re not actually using LFO1 for anything! So erm, as you were…
wait, wait but we ARE using LFO2!
LFO 2 is being used to affect the Pulse Width from the Oscillator Modulation section. It’s pretty much all default except for the timing, which I’ve set to 1/4.
The confusingly named “ENV 1 - VCA” is also refered to as “ADSR1” throughout the rest of the synth, so we’re going to stick with ADSR1 for our naming choice.
ADSR1 is being used in our Voice Controls section to manipulate the character of the overall sound. Small changes here have the biggest effect.
I’ve set the Attack to be pretty instantaneous, meaning the sound starts the instant you press a key.
Decay is set around mid so that the sound naturally dissipates when you hold a key down.
Sustain is set all the way up so that the sound will continue to play no matter how long your holding a key for.
Release is set just a touch above zero so that the sound stops quickly after you let go of a key, but not so quickly that it sounds jarring.
Finally, Chorus. The secret to a huge sound.
The chorus effect from u-he Tyrell N6 is pretty damn good, it’s honestly awesome that they’ve included the effect as part of this free synth.
I messed around a bit with the chorus parameters at first, but ended up resetting it to default as I thought it sounded best that way.