How to make a Tiësto-style Dance 4 Life stab sound

Get some detuned dirt going on in Albino 3

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.

{PAGEBREAK}

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.

{PAGEBREAK}

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.

{PAGEBREAK}

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.

{PAGEBREAK}

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.

{PAGEBREAK}

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.

{PAGEBREAK}

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.

Get free plugins. Pro samples. And expert tutorials.
Make amazing music on your Mac or PC with the world's best-selling music software magazine.