Tuesday 10 February 2009

Student Diary - Exploring Synthesis

We're now getting into the really juicy part of the course, learning how some of the synths in Logic work, and how the various parameters and filters affect the output. This is where we start adding meat to the bones, or in other words basslines and melodies to our drum patterns.

It is exciting to be able to connect the style of a favourite producer or an effect in a particular track to the techniques which we are being taught; the "aaah... so that’s how he does it" moment if you like.

Take for example 'Wobble Bass', the staple of the Jump-up Dubstep sound which has exploded into prominence in the past couple of years. I now know it is achieved using the LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) assigned to a parameter, most commonly the cutoff. The LFO speed can be altered, but usefully remain in time with the track tempo, for a fast wobble over a 16th note down to a really slow one over 16 bars. Rusko is a favourite producer of mine who has truly perfected this technique to create some of the most squelchy, bone crunching, dancefloor destroying basslines that I have ever had the pleasure to ‘get my skank on’ to! Check his tune ‘Woo Boost’ for a perfect example.

The ES2 is a spaceship-like synth with a seriously daunting number of knobs and twizzly bits for a novice producer. I’ve fiddled around with the parameters a fair bit before but have never quite managed to work out was affecting what. Within one lesson I have a much firmer grasp on how the sound is affected by oscillators, filters and other parameters. Learning more about envelopes has clarified in my head how techno producers such as Nathan Fake, Extrawelt and Stephan Bodzin go about creating those spacious, evolving soundscapes in their tracks; The sort of music that I love to listen to whilst gazing out the window on a long, rainy bus journey (which seems to happen quite a lot in London!)

Now I can’t wait to try emulating these sorts of effects used by my favourite producers. And most synths follow the same theories and principles, so hopefully I will easily be able to translate these techniques to some of the other synths that I am looking to get my hands on!


admin said...


I noticed your post & thought I'd let you know of a few good resources.

Firstly, Lazy Records has a great range of Music Production Tutorials & articles here - http://lazyrecords.co.uk/articles

In particular this wobble bass tutorial - http://www.lazyrecords.co.uk/articles/wobble-bass-kontakt.html

Hope these help!

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