How to make a Tiësto-style Dance 4 Life stab sound
The detuned stab in Tiësto's Dance 4 Life gives the track that extra bit of grit and really cuts through the mix. We're going to show you how to recreate the sound in LinPlug's Albino 3, a demo of which can be downloaded here.
Step 1: The dirty synth stab from Tiësto's Dance 4 Life might sound as if it's a product of common-or-garden subtractive synthesis, but in actual fact, it requires you to get your hands dirty with some frequency modulation trickery. Fire up Albino 3 so that we can get started.
Step 2: Albino's demo version doesn't come with an initialised patch, so open it in your host and click the Load Patch button. You need to load up the Z_initial preset.fxp patch, which can be downloaded by right-clicking here.
Step 3: If you're using the full version of Albino, you'll find the Z_initial preset patch in the Diverse Sounds folder. Start by setting the first oscillator's waveform to a square wave, then turn on the second oscillator and set it to Analogue mode.
Step 4: Set the second oscillator's wave shape to a square too. Check out the right-hand side of Oscillator 1's panel – you'll see a list of destinations for the oscillator's output. Select the FM one, which causes Oscillator 1 to modulate the frequency of Oscillator 2.
Step 5: We now have a sawtooth-like sound, but with a little detuning, we can get something much more interesting. Set Oscillator 1's Cent value to +50, and Oscillator 2's to -50. This gives us a basic Dance 4 Life stab.
Step 6: For the final touches, turn Oscillator 2's Sub Osc up about half way, and activate a Compressor in the first effect slot. Use this to make the stab as loud and nasty as possible.