7 Easy Ways To Spice Up Your Synth Parts

10-06-2014 08:04 AM

Synths appear so much in modern music, be that in dance, pop or even in film scores. If you are not careful they can just add mush and swamp a track like a blanket or an arp can be just an annoying riff.
Here are our 7 top tips for making them work harder for you.
Filters Are Essential

Filters are cool. Of you have a pad sound you can add some movement to it, either as a long sweeping filter or an organic LFO driven filter. This works well on pads as well as strings. Read this free article on using filters in Pro Tools
Sometime A Big Bottom Is A Bad Thing

Roll off the bottom end with a 1 band Eq. Simply insert and then filter out everything from around 120Hz downwards. It can help remove a lot of mush and give space for the bass and kick.
Make Your Own Arpeggios

Be creative with arpeggios. It is easy just to find a cool preset arpeggio, hit the keys and just let them play. Instead create you own with step input, copy and paste and some transpose. You would be amazed how much better your own creation sounds.
Stacks Sound Better

Stack the sounds. Try building layers of sounds to create new and complex ones. Add some metal, pad, sweep and the see how they work with each other. Watch this video to see how to do it
Time Based Effects Can Really Add Interest

Have fun with delays and reverbs. Take a simple synth line and then add a delay, perhaps working on an alternative rate such as a triplet, it can really help to add interest to top lines and leads.
Sample And Stretch The Sound

Create a new sound and then sample it, then play it way out of its original sample range. As you play a sample beyond these ranges the character of the whole sound changes and creates some very cool effects. For example try sampling a bell at C5 and then playing it at C1!
Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink

Copy and slide. Very like a delay effect, but sometimes you can create some really cool effects by copying, pasting and moving MIDI parts on the grid. Try just moving the part a 16th or making a copy and creating a MIDI delay! Check out Julian’s recent nudge video here

Have fun! Any ideas you want to share?