Lead synths in melodic forms of techno use snappy filter envelopes for pluck sounds that lend themselves to atmospheric processing. Here we show you how using Xfer Records' Serum…
Step 1: Bright waveforms provide a good starting point for lead synths. Basic Shapes position 2 is selected for Osc A, and a saw wave for the Sub Osc but with the octave set at +1 so that it’s in the same register. Osc A is detuned slightly to provide a unison sound between Osc A and the Sub Osc.
Step 2: Osc B also uses a sawtooth wave but set to one octave below Osc A to thicken the overall sound. Additionally, multiple voices for Osc B are created by setting the Unison control to 4 with some Detune dialled in to provide a richer, and wider, sound.
Step 3: Pluck sounds are created with a short Attack and fast Decay. Release determines how long it takes for the notes to subsequently fade out. By default, Env 1 is routed to the amplifier, but we can also associate Env 1 with the filter so one set of envelope controls are used for both.
Step 4: We have opted to use the MG Low 12 filter, set Env 1 to control the filter Cutoff, and routed Osc A, Osc B and the Sub Osc through the filter. There any many excellent filter types to try in Serum. These can also be used in the effects section in addition to the main oscillator filter.
Step 5: Within Serum’s effects page, we have added some subtle bitcrushing using the Downsampling circuit in the Distortion rack. This is mixed in at 20% to add some digital-sounding harmonics. This is followed by some light compression to even out the notes and gel all the elements together.
Step 6: Finally, we have added two plugins from Native Instruments. Firstly, some granular space from the Dark Impact preset in RAUM. This is followed by a slightly modified version of the Relay preset in REPLIKA. The mix of these effects adds space and dimension creating a wash of sound like a synth pad.