Despite now being decidedly long in the tooth, Native Instruments' legendary Massive synth still sounds every bit as amazing as it did when it first arrived a decade ago.
In this walkthrough, we'll show you how to use Massive to design a highly mobile melodic sound. For more power synth tutorials, get your hands on the May edition of Future Music.
Step 1: Let’s deconstruct a preset we’ve created for NI Massive, called Seq Twangy Lead.nsmv. The patch’s main ‘clock’ is provided by the 5 Performer mod source, which is sequencing all three oscillators’ Amp amounts. Spin the 7 Pattern macro knob to fade between 5 Perf’s two different rhythmic patterns.
Step 2: All three of Massive’s main wavetable oscillators have been stacked together for complexity: Osc 1 gives sub weight; Osc 2 is a fizzy ‘reverse’ layer for interest; and Osc 3, set to the Polysaw II wavetable, provides the patch’s core ‘chord’ element.
Step 3: To give Osc 2 its distinctive warping effect, we’ve negatively modulated its Amp with 5 Perf; and a simple sine LFO (6 LFO) sweeps its wavetable for even more movement. We’ve also used a looping 16th-note rhythm (via the 7 Perf mod source) to sequence the Noise oscillator’s Amp amount, creating a plucky hi-hat layer.
Step 4: For extra timbral interest, Filter 1 is set to a tuned Comb type. Filter 2 outputs the dry signal, so we can use the filter Mix slider to fade this comb effect in parallel - to blend its effect into the mix, raise the 1 CombMix macro.
Step 5: Massive’s built-in effects give the sound thickness and character. Modulated bitcrushing adds grit; the Frequency Shifter blends in shifted tones in parallel; Tele Tube adds grunt and drive; and Reverb gives the final stamp of space and depth. Subtle EQ bumps gently beef out the patch’s treble and bass.
Step 6: Finally, by altering various synth settings over the course of an arrangement, our impressive melodic rhythm can be made to evolve and progress - which is why all of eight of Massive’s macros have been assigned to key parameters. Fire up the patch for yourself and get tweaking!