How To Make Your Synths Sound More Analogue
We show you how to make your DAW synths sound more analogue
In our latest music production blog, we dive into Ableton and transform its stock 'Analog' synth into a vintage analog dream.
Detune waveforms and pitch modulation
Firstly, we can set both oscillators to sawtooth waves (chosen for their harmonic richness) and drop one down a octave. Then slightly detune and pan them away from each other, giving us a full, wide sound to build upon. To begin adding character, we can add some pitch modulation to 'Ocs1', which adds a ramp up or down to our chosen pitch.
NOTE: Although we're using Analog for this example, the parameters we are playing with here are present in most, if not all, synths.
Moving across from the Osc engine, we can start to play around with the shape of the filters. Here, we can adjust the timing of attack, decay, sustain and release once a note is triggered.
This can be used to create movement, character and, most importantly, vibe to our synth patch. Start by turning the filter down to nice starting tone, then tell our envelope shape follow by increasing the 'Env<Vel' and 'Attack<Vel' amounts. Play around with these settings on both Osc until you have a performance you like!
Note: Often on analog synths, you'll see the envelope settings laid out as faders/knobs labelled A, D, S and R, for both the envelope and amplitude of a synth. This stands for Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release (visually represented by the shape in the middle left of the Analog interface).
LFO and Chorus
Moving beyond the synths parameters, we've added the analog sounds best friend; A 'Chorus-Ensemble' effect unit. By adding the Ableton LFO as well, we can modulate the amount of chorus we will hear by 'mapping' the LFO to the 'Dry/Wet' mix.
NOTE: You can modulate the 'Dry/Wet' mix manually using your DAW Automation mode, but setting an LFO to do that for us can save time, and by introducing some 'Jitter' we can also add some randomness!
Izotopes 'Vinyl' is a free plugin that can add considerable tone, shape and character to our patch. If we set it to '2000' mode, we can hear it pair back the brightness and add some 'warp' to the sound.