Proceed with caution, lest your face be melted off.
Oscillators: 4 oscillators total
– Osc 1-3: Saw wave, 9 voice unison, with the unison detune amount turned up to where it juuuuust starts to sound a little out of tune. This detune amount will give you the aggression you’re looking for. Also max out the Unison width so we get a big wide sound. Then detune Osc 2’s overall Fine pitch down a bit, and Osc 3’s up a bit. Now you effectively have a giant 27-voice unison. FACE. MELTED.
– Osc 4: White noise. Pitch it up 4 octaves and high pass it. We just want really high, hissy white noise. Also apply the same unison settings as Osc 1-3 to get a big wide sound. And dial up the volume so that it’s very audible, but blends into the other saw oscillators
Filter: High Pass, 12 dB slope. Turn up the cutoff just enough to take some of the frump off the bottom.
Amp Envelope: Bring the Sustain down pretty far, and make the Decay fast. Then bring the overall volume up to compensate for the volume lost with the low Sustain. Now we have strong attack transient.
Distortion: Dial in just a little bit of aggressive clip-style distortion. It’ll fight with the pulsating unison voices, and make it a bit angry. Don’t go over board here. Just a tad.
Reverb: Big size, pretty wet. Dampen it to remove some highs, so that only the body echos throughout the caverns.
Compression: Spire’s X-Comp knob is brilliantly simple. I just turned it up halfway and it squeezes the sound, making it even more aggressive. But any compressor will do. Just bring down the threshold until it starts to tighten up.
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In this tutorial we’re gonna make a giant supersaw trance lead. And the key to this sound is basically just a saw wave with tons of unison. However, if you really wanna make a big, hard-hitting one, there’s a lot of subtle changes you need to make to really get that big sound.
I’m using Spire, and as you’ll see, there’s a couple reasons why it really lends itself well to this sound. But really, any synth that gives you big unison, lots of unison voices, you’ll be able to achieve it with that synth. So, let’s get started. Here we just have, good old, plain saw wave. And we’re gonna switch over to mono. One voice at a time. And, we’re gonna get right into it, unison.
So Spire gives us up to nine voices, and the more voices, the better. So, I’m gonna do all nine, as many as I can. And we’re gonna go full width. Nice wide, big sound. De-tune is key here. As you turn it up, yeah you get a more de-tuned sound, but that lends itself to kind of an aggressive tone. Listen to how it just becomes a little angry. So you can kinda dial in how much anger, how much aggression you want in the tone of your lead.
I’m gonna go right about there. Now, Spire has something unique which really helps with this and that’s this density knob, which, kind of messes around with how the different voices, in this case, all nine, how they’re spread out exactly. Right now we’re getting a very clean, uniform spread of our nine voices.
This is actually meant to emulate something called a hypersaw, which you see on the Access Virus, a famous synth. But if I crank the density, it’s gonna become a supersaw, which emulates something we saw in an old Roland, JP-8000 synth, it was a classic sound and it’s still used today because it’s this big, supersaw. Hear how aggressive and kind of messy it is? It’s that imperfect analog, versus clean hyper digital. Either one works, this is really taste, but we’re going for big, aggressive, trance, supersaw lead, so I’m gonna supersaw, full density.
Other synths will sometimes give you control over the spread, like Serum lets you really get in and dial how these things are spread out in a more complex manner. But in any case, you’re fine with either one. I just like this supersaw, ’cause of how big an aggressive it is. Now, I wanna go even bigger. But I’m maxed out at nine. So I’m gonna bring in two more oscillators with the same settings and de-tune them.
So, here’s oscillator one. I can copy, go to oscillator two, and paste. Go to oscillator three and paste again. So now, all three, one, two, and three, are both these big nine voice unison saws. I’m then gonna take oscillator two, turn it up to the same volume as one. And I’m gonna de-tune it up a little bit. Let’s just see how much. Bring in oscillator three and de-tune it down a little bit. Alright, so now we effectively have like a 27 voice, supersaw, this is a massive sound.
Now, on the top of our sound, we have that kind of washy sizzle, the shh. That’s just what happens when you put together a ton of de-tuned saws. I wanna emphasize that even more by layering some white noise. Oscillator four. And I’m gonna turn on the other oscillators for a second so you can hear this. So right now it’s a saw, switch to noise. Now, the key here is you’re gonna have to filter it separately from the other saws. And Spire gives us this built right into the oscillator itself.
If you’re using another synth, and you have like a second filter, ’cause we’re gonna need to use our main filter for something else, you can use that separate filter to shape the noise in a way I’m about to show you or you could just use a whole other copy of the synth, a whole other layer. But right now it’s low-passed. So we’re just getting this low, kinda gross round noise. We want this bright, sizzle-y top, so.
Switch to a high pass. Now we’ve got rid of the bottom and we just have the top. And this also has a big resonant peak in it, I wanna get rid of that. And it needs some width. Very nice, now. That’s kind of a rare feature as well, I see that in Spire, I don’t see noise width in a lot of synths, so, again, another key feature here. I’m gonna bring back in my other oscillators.
Now, this noise is still a little too bottom heavy. Even though it’s high-passed, I want it brighter, I want it higher. So I’m gonna pitch it up. There we go. Alright, so now we have this big, de-tuned washy sound. And this has gotta be bright and cutting, and some of these lower notes, there’s a lot of low end and body. I actually wanna remove that, so I’m just gonna grab, basic high-pass. And by default, Spire has a filter envelope, so I’m gonna get rid of that. And then I’m just gonna take off.
We don’t wanna get rid of too much of the body, we this to be a full sound, but I just wanna get rid of that big bottom. Okay, so we’ve established our sound. Now I wanna give it more bite, more impact, really drive it home. But before I do, just a quick word about our synth training app, Syntorial.
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Alright, so the first thing I wanna do is, create an attack transient, want this thing to really hit on every single note. We’re gonna use our amp envelope for that. So right now, we just have max sustain, there’s nothing really happening, it’s just on, off. So I’m gonna bring our sustain down. To about here. And, so you can hear what’s happening I’m gonna give it a long decay for a second. So you can hear, over this decay, it’s just getting quieter.
But I wanna make it faster so it creates more of a TKK on the front of the sound. So I’m gonna go right about here. And because our sustain is so low, we’ve lost a lot of our overall volume. So, bring it up. Alright, now we’ve got that spike at the front of the sound. Now I wanna make it a little angrier. I’m gonna use distortion. Lot of different distortion types here, I’m gonna go with clip. Crank our drive, and then I just wanna dial in a little bit, right? So there’s no distortion being applied, it’s fully dry right now.
It makes the noise a little bit more noticeable and it makes the saws a little angrier, a little more combative. And you can use other types of distortion. Not a huge difference in this case, but I like the clip, it’s got a bit more of a bite to it.
Next I wanna squeeze it with compression. Spire’s got this wonderful x-comp knob. It’s just a simple one-knob compressor. All this movement going on with the unison, all these voices, trying to compress that creates this really combative sound where everything is just kinda fighting and it just gets uncomfortably angry. Very nice.
You could do this with a regular compressor too, you’ll have to tweak the settings more, but the idea is that you’re forcing this moving sound to be compressed down, you’re squeezing it. Finally, this needs to be big and epic, we’re gonna use reverb for that. Gonna dial in a fair amount of wetness. I want it to be in a huge space, which a longer decay will give us. Oh yeah, we’re in a canyon, in a cavern.
Now, that’s nice, but that big, long, bright reverb kinda butts heads with the main sound. It just creates a lot of sound, it’s kinda messy. So I’m gonna dampen the reverb. It’s kinda like putting a low-pass on just the reverb. So we still get that big sound but there’s no more brightness in it so it’s not really filling up too much sound, it’s not really fighting the regular patch. And there you have it, big, supersaw trance lead.
Now, if there’s some patches you would like help with, any kinda patch, head on over to our forum at syntorial.com, and post a request there. And I or someone else will help you with it. There’s a link down in the description for that. And of course, we have a lot of videos like this on YouTube, so please subscribe.