Learn about building basic drum sounds using oscillators and samples.
- [Narrator] So now let's talk about creating your own drum sounds, and I don't just mean modifying factory sounds, I mean, like, if you really want to start from scratch and start to mess with stuff and modulate things. Let's go ahead and go over to the settings and let's jump to the tutorial kit. This is a really handy kit because it's got a lot of very simply put settings where you can customize very, very easily. So, we've got a couple of different kicks that we can hear of different varieties. And the snare drums, for example.
These are pretty simple sounds that use pretty simple and common synthesis components. So, this is a lot of stuff that you can get behind and mess with. I believe all of these are using synthesis. So, let's just jump over to this kick drum, here. And let's say we want to extend it, for example. Well, we just extend the decay here. Okay, let's do that but let's say I want a heavier transient. Where's the transient coming from in this particular kit? Well, the sound itself is coming from oscillator one and if we poke around a little bit we can see that our oscillator one pitch is right here.
And we can sort of have it wherever we want and if you're not quite hearing that, laptop speakers probably aren't going to be able to carry the low end that we have here. But the transient that we have is actually coming from right here. We have envelope number one modulating the pitch with a range of 40. I believe this is 40 semitones. Envelope number one is right here. And it's giving us that thwack. If I extend it out a little bit you'll be able to hear... It's got that sort of old-timey video game feel. I mean, not that old-timey, like a little vintage video game vibe.
Now, if I pull this back in... Let me pull this in even tighter. You can hear that we have quite a nice thing going with that. There are a lot of other things that we can do. Okay, so for example, we can push the saturation a little bit more, which is going to make it less of a sine wave and push it closer to a square wave. Then we have assymetry, which will bring out some new harmonics.
Okay, so for example I could take envelope two if I wanted and use envelope two to modulate the assymetry. And when we create a modulation range essentially you get this new tab. Remember, blue is for LFOs and envelopes. So, we have this range for envelope two, here. That's pretty cool. What if we flip it around? What if we bring this all the way down and give envelope two this range? Make it a little snappier, faster.
Lot of fun stuff there. Ooh, I like that very much. What if we want to add more smack to it? Let's go over to FM here. Now, that's going to take us back to our sine wave but with frequency modulation, what we can do is we can actually push this thing a little bit with our FM amount. Now, oscillator two is going to modulate oscillator one. Right now we're not hearing much. And that's because oscillator two is not on.
Let's go ahead and turn that on. Whoa. Sorry, guys, there we go. So now we have to work with the pitch of oscillator two in our overall FM amount. So, we're going to pull that modulation range down. Okay, so we've got our phase oscillator here which is pretty cool. We can hit it harder with some saturation if we want. Let's go over to envelope two and even it out a little bit.
Okay, so that's still a little heavy but we're good. And I'm going to get rid of the modulation on the saturation here. A lot of different ways to bring out different harmonics, we can go higher. Remember, envelope two is still controlling this guy. You can make it very, very quick.
Or, of course, the other way around. And then we can mess with our tuning if we want. I like that a lot, I'm just going to mess with my pitch a little bit here. And the saturation of course. You know, it might be a good time for a little bit of modulation with this guy so let's go over to envelope three.
So, it doesn't seem to be being used for much. And it's kind of abrupt so let's work the slope. And then our overall amplitude envelope seems to be carrying things on for a little long. Okay, we can make it longer if we want.
Oh, boy, does that carry things off. This is a bit of a grotesque sound but I think it's a lot of fun. Now, another thing that we could do, we could add a high-pass filter if we want. And I could use the resonance on that high-pass filter to add some low-end bump. Oh, yes, that's definitely the case. Now, what we can also do is we can add a little drive to this thing. We can add some bitcrushing or some distortion. I'm just going to go over to distort.
We can push a little harder if we want. And you can hear the distort here isn't doing much except remove our low-end. But boy that bitcrush sounds great.
Here, let's pull up-- this is a seven-second drum sound right now, we don't quite need it to be that heavy. Now, let's say we wanted to route our LFO to something. Let's jump over to snare one over here. And let's just say I wanted some pitch action to be moving around. Well, we're using both oscillators here, remember we're using frequency modulation which means that the phase oscillator, this first one is going to be sent to modulate oscillator one.
And so let's modulate the frequency of oscillator one, and it's actually already routed. So, I'm going to go ahead and turn that up and we'll jump over to LFO two here. And let's just put this on zero so that it'll just fire right away. And we could do a lot of things with this, first of all... We did it really fast, we could wind up with something very interesting, we could also use noise, which can create a lot of cool controlled chaos if we're using FM for drum sounds.
I guess we'd more call this randomness. We could also have a few cycles so it only does a handful of cycles before it stops. And let's pull this back down a little bit. Yeah, I like that. Now, there are a couple of parameters here that I would suggest you explore. For example, we have some ring mod action, we have a nice overall EQ that we can use which is very, very handy for pushing things.
Just remember that there are a lot of parameters here and to just experiment at first. There are a lot of great things that you can do and there are some great drum synthesis tutorials that are out there, and the more you explore, the more control you'll have over your individual sound. Now, the other thing that I wanted to mention real quick which is very simple, is the use of a sample. So, let's jump up. Ooh, that's a heavy bell. Let's mute you for now. Let's go over to my files over here and I can go ahead and I can grab a sample that I have handy.
This is just a 909 sample that I have. I can just take this and I can grab it, drag it on into the sampler there. And it's as simple as that. And once I have it in there I can go ahead and I can say, for example turn my filter off. I could add some EQ if I want to. Add more top-end, make it a little longer. Why don't we add some distortion to this thing and-- one thing I'd like you to keep in mind here is that we do have this arrow button here.
This is just a routing thing so all this does is make it so that we go from say, the distortion into the filter or the filter into the distortion, that's it. Push this thing a little harder. Maybe use some resonance, that might be fun.
We can also change this pitch if we want, we can pull it down. Now, this is a fairly simple 909 sample so there's not a ton going on in there, but there's a whole lot you can do. Now, I will say this, if you want to just use a drum sampler that only uses samples as many of us will sometimes, I'm not totally convinced that Ultrabeat is right for you. Because the thing is, it's a lot of work to get your individual samples in there. And Ultrabeat is more of a playground of customization for these different types of drum sounds.
And that's the thing is that it's not always totally practical if you just want to load in a couple samples to use Ultrabeat. Maybe think about using EXS or maybe some sort of third party drum sampler that's just grab and go, drag and drop, and you have everything set up and moving. However, if you do want to do a lot of customization and find some new sounds, which many people do, Ultrabeat is really a great place to start at least. It's in many ways sort of the opposite of the drum kit designer. You can really get your hands dirty in anything you want.
For example, another thing that you can do to create some nice drum synthesis, let's go over to this guy, is use the noise generator. Very common to use noise to create a snare type of sound. The more you check out 808 type sounds in this context, the more you will find... That noise is how we create a lot of these sounds. So, it's connected to envelope two, let's go ahead and see what happens when we open up the decay.
We can have more emphasis on the snare, we can have less emphasis on the snare, we can pull down the pitch a little bit. And we can go ahead and pull in envelope three which is modulating the overall volume for oscillator two. Get a little bit less emphasis on that overall pitch there.
There we go, I like that very much. Add some distortion. Some of the distortion action in here can be very, very subtle. Only when you switch settings sometimes at least for me, do I find that it's working, we're clipping a little bit there but again, just keep in mind the experimentation. I've learned a lot of drum synthesis techniques from poking around in Ultrabeat because if you can sort of get past the fact that it is very complex-looking and start to unpack it a little bit, it starts to become very simple to read.
And there's a bit of a learning curve there but it can be very rewarding in terms of creating and modifying drum sounds and exploring new territory with percussion.
- Using oscillators to build sounds
- Creating rich and expressive tones
- Adding movement via modulation
- Using tuning and randomness to sculpt sounds
- Adding effects
- Vocoder setup
- Customizing presets
- Loop slicing
- Multi-output routing
- Building custom drum kits
- Shaping drum transients and sustain