Great Sound Starts at the Source

If you've been recording music (or working with audio in any capacity), you've probably heard this before. Great sound starts at the source. You can't always fix it in post. Getting it right before it hits the tape is the best way to get a great mix.

I've come to not only accept this fact, but to embrace it fully and use it to guide my production decisions.

This is especially important to me when it comes to synth tones. This is an area that has been easy to put off in the past, but I have come to realize how extremely important it is.

Getting Better Synth Tones

For me, getting better synth tones starts with taking time to craft the perfect settings for the part I am working on.

If I am working on a lead hook synth, I might even create the tone from scratch. This way, I can manipulate it exactly how I want to. I start with the sample (if I am using a sample based synth like NI's FORM) or the oscillator settings. Once I get the timbre correct, I move on to the filter and amplifiers to modify the sound.

It's easy to get it "close" and just move on to recording the part. But I have found that the benefits of taking your time in this stage are extremely worthwhile.

My Favorite New Tool - NI's FORM

The GUI for Native Instruments FORM sample based synthesizer.

The GUI for Native Instruments FORM sample based synthesizer.

I have been working a lot with this synthesizer over the past few months and have found it to be an incredibly powerful and flexible production tool.

In a track I am currently working on, I have recorded several vocal samples of my voice - on my iPhone. I liked the tone and sound of the lower quality microphone for this particular sound.

Then, I loaded it into FORM and started manipulating. The Motion setting is extremely powerful for this. I like spending time with this in order to create more complicated tones from simple sources, ultimately adding a layer of subtle complexity to my synth tones.

After I've added the oscillators, filters, and effects, I still find the sound to have a nice organic feel to it. This is why I love this tool.

It's also rather intuitive to get started, and easy to really manipulate the sound to exactly how I want it.

Video - FORM Review

Check out this video review of FORM I did for Westlake Pro to learn more.

New Track Coming Soon

I'll post a new track soon that features the synth tones I am discussing in this post - title TBD.

Music, IdeasDean Palya Jr