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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Dec 17 > BIG SYNTHS IN LOGIC PRO X

BIG SYNTHS IN LOGIC PRO X

There’s more to a mix-filling synth sound than simply pressing the Unison button. Mark Cousins shows you how to add real scale to your patches…

LOGIC PRO X TUTORIAL

Once upon a time, ‘big’ synth sounds meant equally large budgets – with only the wealthiest musicians able to stack together multiple polyphonic synths in the aim of creating mix-filling synth lines. In the world of virtual instruments, however, this level of excess is much easier to achieve, as even basic software setups have access to a number of different poly synths. What quickly becomes apparent, though, is that the process of creating these big synth sounds is more than just layering multiple instances of the same synth patch. Creating a truly ‘big’ synth sound requires a considered and thoughtful approach, arguably exploiting a number of different synthesis techniques.

To understand what makes a sound ‘big’, we need to break down the various ways this can be achieved. This will involve considerations like pitch, detuning, stereo positioning and effects, all knitted together to form distinct layers of sound. Although the end listener hears a singular patch, in reality, you’ll need to construct this from three or so separate layers, each making a distinct and separate contribution.

PERFECT UNISON

Your quick-and-easy starting point for big synthesiser sounds is the Unison feature, found on both Retro Synth (which we’ll focus on for simplicity) and the ES2. Unison imparts instant stereo width and body to a sound by adding additional voices, each slightly detuned and positioned across the stereo image. In the case of Retro Synth, for example, you can specify the number of additional voices (two, four or eight) as well as the relative amount of Voice Detune and Stereo Width. Balancing these three key parameters – voice count, detune and width – is what you use to define the scale of the patch.

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About MusicTech

Making music is an expensive pursuit. From monitors to microphones, DAWs and plug-ins: before you know it, just getting your creative space in order has made a serious dent in your bank account. But it really doesn’t have to be this way. In Andy Jones’ in-depth cover feature this month, he dives head-first into this ocean of free software, highlighting the best of the best and detailing how to use it effectively to build a track – for free! Elsewhere this issue, we’ve got the first in a new A-Z series, detailing some of the oft-used, key terms that you’ll likely hear and need to understand in the music-making world. Alongside all this, we’ve got our usual range of reviews, tutorials, tips and a complete guide to the vast high-tech world of controllers. We’ve also, very excitingly, teamed up with the best studio in the world with this issue’s free Abbey Road calendar. We hope you enjoy the issue.
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