What are your tips on creating Clean & Professional patches?

(Looking for Advice)

Hi, what is some helpful advice for creating Clean and Professional patches?

  • Advice on identifying and removing unnecessary noise & frequencies.
  • Advice on creating patches with a clean distinct tone that contrasts and mixes well with other sounds & frequencies within your song.
  • Advice on when to use Phase and best way to take advantage of it.
  • Advice on using effects effectively (pun intended), cleanly, and satisfyingly.
  • What practices should I strive for and which ones should I avoid?
  • Any advice on making Patches sound Clean, Satisfying, Distinct, and Professional.

Thank you for all the help & replies in advance!

(My Tips)

1: Reduce Pops & Crackles:

  • Increase the main Envelope Attack & Release slightly if you hear initial unwanted pops to remove them.

2: Use Movement:

  • Keep your sound in movement to enhance the dynamics and contrast but keep it under control while finding ways to make it impactful and satisfying.

3: Oscillators & Waveforms First / Effects Second:

  • Focus on the sound you want to create from scratch by using the Oscillators & Waveforms first. After you perfect the sound and remove unwanted frequencies / noise, go for the effects. Rely on creating the perfect sound you want using the Oscillators / Waveforms first, then use effects sparingly. Use effects to enhance your sound, and only occasionally use effects to define your sound when you need to.

4: Write Patches over Midi Tracks:

  • Write patches over patch specific Midi Tracks. If you’re writing a Bell Patch, use a Bell like Midi track. This helps test your Patch sound over different notes, velocities, and periods of time.

5: Create Patches in certain Frequency ranges to help stand out in an overall mix

  • It may be tempting to create patches covering the entire frequency range, but it is really helpful to lower the usage of high frequencies starting around 2k-5k Hz and cut off frequencies lower than around 60-100 Hz to provide space for other instruments / sounds in the mix (Unless your sound is defined or revolves around those frequencies)
    Filtering frequencies helps reduce interference and clashing with other instruments using the same frequencies in your mix, and it will help the listener make out each sound clearly & distinctly. Listeners find it satisfactory when they can clearly make distinctions between different sounds within in a mix.

6: Analyze Frequencies

  • Take note of how each waveform (Sine, Triangle, Saw, Square) takes up space on a frequency span analyzer. Sine waves take up one harmonic while Saw waves take up many harmonics that reach way up into the high frequencies. It is good to look at which frequencies your Synth Patches are taking up / affecting and learning to adjust them so they cleanly fit into your mix. It is also very helpful to analyze frequencies and techniques inside many Synths from their factory presets that were professionally crafted and made.

7: GO CHAOTIC

  • Sometimes you find the perfect patch / sound by going Nuclear and just hitting the randomization button. You never know, your next click might be a hidden gem that you would have never found any otherwise.

8: Trust your ear and the compass inside your heart that guides you.

  • Do it

-MadR

3 Likes

Great tips! I would add:

  • check the levels. If you build a pad, and the levels are in the red with just a few notes, you have a problem

  • provide some useful macro mappings. As the preset author, you understand the essence of the sound better than anyone. Likewise, you should know what parameter tweaks will bring the most sonic interest or expand the usability of your preset. With sensible macro mapping, your preset is more useful out of the box

3 Likes

Thank you, and so true! I also love when people put creative names for Macro titles to describe the certain tone it creates / changes / affects hahaha.

All great stuff here.

  • What I see that is missed a lot is the delay of the reverb. By adding that little bit of delay to the reverb allows the original sound to come through before the reverb. That way it’s not being washed out right away. It keeps the punch of a sound which helps it cut through the mix better and it can help shape the room. I almost always do this on lead and pluck patches.

  • Check the patches up and down an octave. Every once in a while a certain octave or note could boost unwanted frequencies depending on the patch. Many times these can be fixed inside the synth with EQ or a slightly lower resonance of the filter if it’s high.

3 Likes

Thank you for those!!! Delaying the Reverb to let the Original sound come through first to pack a punch is a really great tip!

very good advice.
One thing that seems important to me and that helps a lot is the frequencies, as you well advise.
I, as a musician, prefer to see it as notes, since each note is nothing more than a specific frequency. So having knowledge of harmony helps a lot.
By controlling the transpose snap we can send specific notes, intervals or scales to each oscillator.
we can assign to oscillator 1 an interval of 5th and create a bass with a random modulation in its pitch of an 8th …
Anyway, with three oscillators we have almost an orchestra, so we can create a song in a preset.

2 Likes

That’s a really cool one! It creates chords that are in the key you transpose snapped them to and makes the synth sound huge and like an orchestra!

1 Like

Great tips here, really helpful!

And I would add:
Use the capabilities of Vital …
Even if you’re happy with your one Osc patch, try to give it an additional character with the other both. As you know, most of an instrument sound is defined at its first milliseconds. So the attack phase is crucial, whether your ‘ping’ sounds like a piano, a guitar or a bell. And also in pad sounds there are enough possibilities to give it a unique timbre by adding even subtile layers.

3 Likes

Love this tip!

Another tip that I found really helpful was to resynthesize! To use this feature in Vital, right click on the oscillator and click “Resynthesize preset to wavetable”.

An awesome trick you can do is to select a Square Wave, set the Unison voices to 16, set the Unison Detune to 1%, right click on the oscillator and resynthesize 3 times, then modulate the wavetable frames using an LFO and you can get some really awesome sounds!
(I learned this trick from Au5’s YouTube Channel, I highly recommend it)

2 Likes

Transients - they are a good way to let the listener know something is happening. They bring attention to a certain sound without needing to make said sound extravagant. Take a sine save - if you add a pitch transient in the beginning, you get a pretty simple pluck, but still way more interesting to the ear. And that’s the other thing - interesting-ness.

There’s nothing wrong staying on the safe side of sound design. A supersaw never fails to add depth in a mix, but if you add a keytracked comb filter, you get a brass sound.

2 Likes

Thanks for the tip! I’m definitely going to start creating Transient sounds more!
Also I was wondering how people made brass sounding patches, thanks!