On Patching Your Own Synthesizer Sounds

People who create electronic music usually don’t creates patches for there synthesizers. At least, that’s what I have noticed as of late. I think in part it is a matter of the over saturation of edm, again. But It can also be a time consuming affair, it can be a challenge to learn, yet an exceptional skill in the arsenal of any electronic musician. But you must have the rudimentary understanding of how a synthesizer works. Otherwise, your imagination will be bottlenecked andyour skills will cease to grow.

As of late I’ve been diving head first into synthesizer patching and wiring all over again, albeit on the computer. I’ve been creating an extensive amount of synthesizer patches for Native Instruments Massive. It is a semi-modular analog, wavetable synthesizer. At first, it seems daunting, but its very handy to have a good grasp at wiring modular synthesis. And there good reasons why you want to create your own patches.

Do it in betwen music making. You only have so much time in a day. If you want to dedicate
your time to music making that is great. But if you’re making electronic music, patching new
synth ideas is very effect during the interim, while you’re thinking of new ideas. You can wire
something up between new song ideas. I found it ended up give me new musical ideas.

The possibilities are really limitless on a synth and that’s what I’ve always love about them. Once you get around to working with one you really get the idea can have numerous outcomes. I ask myself how many knobs are on this thing? and how many ways can each knob be hooked up to each other, it gets really grand. It’s like going for a walk in a new place, you end up gathering inspiration from everywhere.

For instance, just the other day I came up with a simple patch I titled ‘Sine You Later’ The sound are seemingly simple sine waves that ebb and flow and vary in pitch and is filtered, yet the beauty of it all was taking a Low Frequency Oscillator and connecting to the reverb so that when the sine plays for a certain duration the sound goes in-out seeping into the distance. I thought it was really lush. I made second patch ‘Sine You Later II’ and the LFO was in a different cycle, making an interesting rhythm of different reverb types going in and out. I ended up making a neat little ambient track right after. Too much fun!

Massive IDM Patches Nova Spire.jpg

Emulating sounds becomes easier, when you start patching your own sounds. When you join an electronic music community, one of the most common threads you notice are the how do you sound like ‘x’ threads. By patching your own material, you get the hang of it and begin to realize how certain people create their sounds from scratch. Once you get the hang of it, and your patches become really good, who knows, maybe you can have people say they want to sound like you do.

I have created over 200 synthesizer patches within the past couple of weeks, I plan to continue creating. Possibly expand on different synthesizers. I find all synths are the same, but I usually hold preference for a great intuitive interface. Some of the sounds were inspired by a lot of artists I admire, for instance Aphex Twin, and some were created through simple necessity, it’s when you are making a song and none of the sounds are cutting it, you realize, “Damn, I’ll just make my own.”

Rewiring common preset sounds becomes easier. That’s another thing. For time’s sake when I need a sound, and it’s similar to another I usually tweak it. But it must be said, in the end nothing sounds like a preset everything is always routed into a effects channel. It is more fulfilling to create your own sounds rather than using a stock preset or a tweaking, but I have no qualms about music producers who do this, I don’t hate, because in the end all that really matters is if the music can totally affect you.

4 comments

  1. Great read and good call. I’m guilty of working with the presets from the synths I use but I’d love my imagination to be able to do the work work rather than clicking through 1000’s of sounds until I find one I think I can work with. Glad you provided and example as well– coincidentally NI Massive is one of my main go-to’s, so I’d definitely be interested to learn how to make my own grimy dubstep sounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *