Ableton’s Operator is incredibly powerful when it comes to FM and basic additive/subtractive techniques, but like several other additive softsynths, there’s no way to animate the harmonics for morphing effects. Fortunately, there’s a workaround that lets users create their own smoothly morphing harmonic structures. It just requires a few extra steps, but the result is shimmering, animated textures that are well-suited for unique pads and leads.
Filtering by Tag: Production Tips
If you have an old digital polysynth that you no longer use because you’re unhappy with the sounds, here’s a way to bring it back to life with some analog attitude.
If you own a monosynth that includes an external-audio input jack, you can use its filter and amp to process the output of the other synth. The term paraphonic is used to describe this scenario, where a polyphonic instrument is running all of its voices through a single VCF and VCA. Modern analog monosynths with an external-audio input include Korg Monologue, the Arturia Minibrute and Microbrute, the Novation Bass Station 2, and all of the recent synths from Moog Music.
This is the first in a series of classic production tutorials from my 18-year run as the Dance Mix columnist for KeyboardMag.com. This year, I'll be hunting through the online archives for tips and tricks that are timeless and remain relevant to electronic music production of all kinds...
As one of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards states, “Repetition is a form of change.” For dance music, this isn’t merely a strategy, but a mantra. However, the fact of the matter is — unless your audience’s intoxicants are extremely good — too much repetition gets old fast. Too little, and you risk breaking the spell you’re casting on the dance floor.
The most common technique for keeping a riff interesting is to dramatically morph the synths and effects, creating crescendos and peaks to enhance the listener’s journey. This is well-suited to EDM, some types of house, and of course, trance. But drastic or sweeping changes don’t always mesh with the techno-related genres.
In this vintage tutorial from the Keyboard Magazine archives, I explain “subliminal automation,” a production technique for holding listeners’ attention without resorting to abrupt shifts.