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Creating a Simple, Yet Phat Sounding Synth
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jditmer0
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2nd May 2012
Old 2nd May 2012
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Creating a Simple, Yet Rich Sounding Patch

I'm trying to figure out how to create a very simple, yet rich sounding synth.

Because it's really hard to describe what type of sound i'm looking for, please listen to the following well-known songs at the time stamps i've posted below. Keep in mind, i'm not looking to replicate these exact synths; i'm just trying to get an idea of how to create rich sounding synths with this kind of simplicity

main synth at 0:32
Mike Posner - Please Don't Go - YouTube

main synth at 0:30
Vengaboys - We like to Party! (The Vengabus) - YouTube

Here are my thoughts on it. It has no phasing, no unison effect, for the most part no chords (with the exception of a few very subtle harmonics). There are maybe around 10-15 oscillators layered up. There are couple different octaves set on the oscillators. I believe the oscillator's phases are all set to restart upon ever note that is triggered. I'm not sure if each oscillator is tuned slightly different from the others or not. (If you disagree with any of my assumptions, PLEASE let me know and correct me)

From what i've tried over the past few years, simply layering different waveforms doesn't seem to do it. Should I be creating a different track for EACH and every waveform I use to create this type of sound and filter/equalize each waveform differently? Please share in detail the process you might go through in creating this kind of synth.

I have had about 4 years of trial and error with no luck in creating a simple, yet rich sounding synth. I would absolutely love some advice - thank you!
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the first one is a simple square wave bass - the distortion in the higher frequency is because of that waveform, not because of layering.
shouldn't be too hard to make this

the second one is a filtered synth line, probably a triangle ("horn" preset), layered with another (with another waveform perhaps) pitched an octave lower.

both mono, IMO you're expecting something complicated, but that's not it.
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it must be more complicated than that, he's been trying for four years to get those sounds. yes, four years, trying to come up with something that is probably a stock preset in every other subtractive VST ever made.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jditmer0 View Post
I'm trying to figure out how to create a very simple, yet phat/full sounding synth (I do not mean full as in wide).

Because it's really hard to describe what type of sound i'm looking for, please listen to the following well-known songs at the time stamps i've posted below:

main synth at 0:32
Mike Posner - Please Don't Go - YouTube

main synth at 0:30
Vengaboys - We like to Party! (The Vengabus) - YouTube

Keep in mind, i'm not looking to replicate these exact synths-just trying to get an idea of how to create similar type of synths. Here are my thoughts on it. It has no phasing, no unison effect, for the most part no chords (with the exception of a few very subtle harmonics). There are maybe around 10-15 oscillators layered up. There are couple different octaves set on the oscillators. I believe the oscillator's phases are all set to restart upon ever note that is triggered. I'm not sure if each oscillator is tuned slightly different from the others or not. (If you disagree with any of my assumptions, PLEASE let me know and correct me)

From what i've tried over the past few years, simply layering different waveforms doesn't seem to do it. Should I be creating a different track for EACH and every waveform I use to create this type of sound and filter/equalize each waveform differently? Please share in detail the process you might go through in creating this kind of synth.

I have had about 4 years of trial and error with no luck on creating this kind of sound. I would absolutely love some advice - thank you!
4 years?
On one sound?
Damn you don't give up do you!
10 to 15 Oscillators layered up, damn I only use a couple!
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Posting in a how do I sound like Vengaboys thread.
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This must be a troll post, spending 4 years trying to sound like the venga boys, oh..my...days..
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Vengaboys might be viewed as bad taste, but let's face it, the actual sounds don't differ in the slightest from "cool" music discussed on this forum.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brassica View Post
Vengaboys might be viewed as bad taste, but let's face it, the actual sounds don't differ in the slightest from "cool" music discussed on this forum.
Yeah, you're right Skrillex and the Vengaboys are pretty much the same, I can barely tell the difference....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
the first one is a simple square wave bass - the distortion in the higher frequency is because of that waveform, not because of layering.
shouldn't be too hard to make this

the second one is a filtered synth line, probably a triangle ("horn" preset), layered with another (with another waveform perhaps) pitched an octave lower.

both mono, IMO you're expecting something complicated, but that's not it.

Thanks for the response! I'm highly confused. Square waves do not sound a thing like the synth from Mike Posner. Is it a customized square wave your referring to? What are the steps you take in detail after you load up the square wave...besides eq, compression, distortion, harmonic content booster, saturation? Is it mostly just a great deal of carful and precise Equalizing? Also, what do you mean when you say the second one is a filtered synth line. Thanks for the help


Quote:
it must be more complicated than that, he's been trying for four years to get those sounds. yes, four years, trying to come up with something that is probably a stock preset in every other subtractive VST ever made.
I have been through a thousands of presets, none of them get close to the sound i'm looking for. Please explain what needs to be done to get it to sound vivid! Thanks!


TO ALL: Thanks for the responses everyone. There actually seems to be some who think that i'm trying to replicate the exact synths in the examples I posted, however, that is not what I have spent many years tying to do. As I have mentioned in the original post, "i'm not looking to replicate these exact synths; i'm just trying to get an idea of how to create rich sounding synths with this kind of simplicity". They were just used to give you a general idea of what type of sound i'm looking for. Another example could be the black eyed peas synth at the 1 minute mark
The Black Eyed Peas - The Time (Dirty Bit) - YouTube

I would highly appreciate some good constructive feedback! thanks guys
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Reptil told you how to do those sounds... after that it's just a matter of mixing and mastering, not synthesis.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pier View Post
Reptil told you how to do those sounds... after that it's just a matter of mixing and mastering, not synthesis.
Exactly.
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Quote:
From what i've tried over the past few years, simply layering different waveforms doesn't seem to do it. Should I be creating a different track for EACH and every waveform I use to create this type of sound and filter/equalize each waveform differently? Please share in detail the process you might go through in creating this kind of synth.
I think this is the issue. Sounds to me like you've been trying to layer samples and not actually synthesize anything?
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@OP - Do you have any tracks online to hear? Perhaps if we heard your sounds which 'aren't quite there', some suggestions could be made. Just a thought...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pier View Post
Reptil told you how to do those sounds... after that it's just a matter of mixing and mastering, not synthesis.
Quote:
Exactly.

Ok guys, I am left more confused than ever before. How does mixing and mastering change a simple square way into a full and rich sounding synth. I would say my mixing and mastering skills arn't terrible, but after I fit everything into the arrangement with carful and precise EQ and side-chained multiband compressors, it doesn't change how the actual synth sounds. This is why I have always thought it is synthesis. What is it that you are referring to in the mixing stage that results in this rich type of sound. Please provide descriptive feedback! these little one liner hints are not enough to have a clear understanding!

Brassica, here is a clip of something i made, however, it won't do much good because it doesn't include the simple and rich synths i'm looking for. I can't even give you an example of where i'm at with making those because i'm so far off and so god awful at making them it's not worth even putting up.
http://soundcloud.com/user9587687-2/clip1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jditmer0 View Post
That doesn't sound too different from the Kesha Tik Tok bass sound. Here - pop sound sources

Those are bog-standard saw waves.

Quote:
There are maybe around 10-15 oscillators layered up.
No. The sounds are very simple and not achieved by layering a boatload of oscillators, especially not of the Vengaboys.

Quote:
I believe the oscillator's phases are all set to restart upon ever note that is triggered.
That's usually not an entirely desirable quality. For unison spread sounds it's especially damning as you don't get a nice continuous sound but a plastic-like attack sound, because the phase is the same.

Quote:
I would absolutely love some advice - thank you!
What are you using?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jditmer0 View Post
Ok guys, I am left more confused than ever before. How does mixing and mastering change a simple square way into a full and rich sounding synth.
It's not a square wave to begin with, but that aside.

Each sound has its own room in the mix. When you have a nice wide pad in Omnisphere, it eats up lots of the frequency range. If you want to add vocals in the same range, it means that something else needs to go. You either reduce volume or carve away the parts that are in the way so the vocal's got its own place (and can thus be played at full volume).

If everything is fat, nothing is. That means that what needs to have impact and fatness needs room, and that means the rest has to go - either temporarily or permanently, in terms of volume or occupied frequency range.
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I'm confused, is this track yours? If so, I wouldn't worry about synth sounds, you've had 212,923 listens on youtube, you must be doing something right!

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I get phat synth sounds out of my 1 osc Eurorack Modular. 1 real analog osc will always sound better than multiple virtual analog or vst osc.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
That doesn't sound too different from the Kesha Tik Tok bass sound. Here - pop sound sources


Those are bog-standard saw waves.


No. The sounds are very simple and not achieved by layering a boatload of oscillators, especially not of the Vengaboys.


That's usually not an entirely desirable quality. For unison spread sounds it's especially damning as you don't get a nice continuous sound but a plastic-like attack sound, because the phase is the same.


What are you using?


It's not a square wave to begin with, but that aside.

Each sound has its own room in the mix. When you have a nice wide pad in Omnisphere, it eats up lots of the frequency range. If you want to add vocals in the same range, it means that something else needs to go. You either reduce volume or carve away the parts that are in the way so the vocal's got its own place (and can thus be played at full volume).

If everything is fat, nothing is. That means that what needs to have impact and fatness needs room, and that means the rest has to go - either temporarily or permanently, in terms of volume or occupied frequency range.


Thanks for the detailed response. I do know already that you need to place each element in its own spot within the frequency spectrum. I also understand that if everything is fat sounding in the mix then nothing is. But I first need to be able to get a simple basic waveform to sound fat, which I was always under the impression is impossible to do without adding more oscillators to it and filtering out certain frequencies. Also, if the venga boys synth is just bog-standard saw waves, why on earth do my saw waves sound 100% different from theirs. And are there multiple saw waves playing?

Here are my options as far as VSTi's:
Image line (morphine, Poizone, Toxic Biohazard)
Korg (legacy cell, monopoly, MS-20, Polysix)
Zebra
absynth 5
Massive
sylenth1

thanks for the help!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brassica View Post
I'm confused, is this track yours? If so, I wouldn't worry about synth sounds, you've had 212,923 listens on youtube, you must be doing something right!

That is definitely not my track. Thats actually the original song; I don't know why it's title says it's a remix. The song I posted was a remix of that song.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jditmer0 View Post
But I first need to be able to get a simple basic waveform to sound fat.
LPF & EQ & sound layering.. It's no trick or secret.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offki View Post
Yeah, you're right Skrillex and the Vengaboys are pretty much the same, I can barely tell the difference....
You sir are my favorite poster right now.
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3rd May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nebelfrau View Post
LPF & EQ & sound layering.. It's no trick or secret.
from what everybody is saying here on this post, sound layering is not at all how you create this kind of sound
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jditmer0 View Post
from what everybody is saying here on this post, sound layering is not at all how you create this kind of sound
Sure. I only answered your inquiry on making a basic waveform "fat".
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nebelfrau View Post
Sure. I only answered your inquiry on making a basic waveform "fat".
so your saying to get a basic waveform to sound rich, it DOES require multiple different oscillators with each one equalized/filtered differently?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jditmer0 View Post
There are maybe around 10-15 oscillators layered up.
10-15 oscillators?! Was it a Roland Gaia?
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Originally Posted by ChristianRock View Post
You sir are my favorite poster right now.
This whole thread is killing me
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Ai View Post
http://soundcloud.com/rogue-ai/single-analog-osc-synth-demo

I single analog osc can sound phat. The filter is important as well. Here I used an 18 db low pass filter, with a little delay.
I'm sorry, but that doesn't sound rich or clean even the slightest bit. Phat maybe, but it's only phat because of the high resonance you added.

I'm sorry if I haven't used the write words to describe just exactly what it is i'm looking for. I did the best that I can as far as describing the general sound I'm trying to make
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jditmer0 View Post
I'm sorry, but that doesn't sound rich or clean even the slightest bit. Phat maybe, but it's only phat because of the high resonance you added.

I'm sorry if I haven't used the write words to describe just exactly what it is i'm looking for. I did the best that I can as far as describing the general sound I'm trying to make
It's analog, of course it is going to be dirty.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aunshui View Post
This whole thread is killing me
me too. Thus far, i'm disappointed with the results of this lol. I have actually never been more disappointed after posting a new thread lol
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