First of all, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope this year will be musically productive and that you find success with your endeavours. If you have listened to my music it is clear that they are based on sequences. These are recurring series of notes that drive the track along and take, you, the listener on the journey. I create these sequences inside Spectrasonics Omnisphere and in this post, I will show you how to create your own.
In this short
Lets start up Omnisphere and initialise the patch so we can build our own sound. Omnisphere now comes with four layers but for this tutorial we will only be using two layers.
In layer A we need a strong solid foundation on which to build the bass sequence. Set the layer to Synth and under the drop down menu select ‘A Solid German’. This is under the analog synth waveform menu. Set the filter to ‘Rich and Moogie 3’, which is under the ‘Low Pass Filter’ menu. Next set the cutoff to just off vertical and the resonance to just off horizontal.
You may wish to lower the depth on the filter section to give the patch a more snappy sound.
Adding Layer B
Next, turn on layer B and for this layer, we will load up a sample from the stock Spectrasonics library. To complement layer A we will look for a Moog type sample. I’ve loaded up ‘Juno 60 Moogie Octave’ and for the filter, we will use the ‘Colourful Resophaser’. This can be found under the ‘Speciality Filters’ menu.
This filter adds a vowel-type sound and you may want to go easy on the cutoff. So turn this right down and bring the resonance up a touch. I have also backed off the envelope a little as well. In the filter section I have brought the sliders down on the Depth (D), Sustain (S) and Release (R). This gives a shorter run on the filter to provide a snappier sound.
In the arpeggiator page of Omnisphere, the physical notes are selected using a drop-down menu above each active step. Each number represents a semi-tone, the travel from one key to the next on the piano. 0 is equal to your root note, in other words, the Key your piece is composed in. You may already be aware that most electronic/ambient pieces are in the minor mode. For this example, I will be using the key of C natural minor. This uses the following notes:
We can now number these notes to match Omnisphere’s sequencer.
0 = C 1 = C# 2 = D 3 = Eb 4 = E 5 = F 6 = F# 7 = G 8 = Ab 9 = A 10 = Bb 11 = B and finally 12 = C. This then continues all the way up to 24, two full octaves. Now to get a catchy sequence that will stand repition for a long time you need to come up with a pattern. Simply selecting each step to play will get a touch boring after a while.
This bit is a little trial and error. I find skipping an odd step and playing two next to each other at some point gives a good rhythm. To set the length of the sequence, grab the end of the glowing lines that appear below the steps. You can then drag this it out for the desired length.
It’s all in the notes
For this sequence I have settled on the following series of notes (note name and corresponding number in the sequencer):-
C(0), Eb(15), C(0), Eb(15), D(14), Bb(10), C(12), Eb(15)
If you have watched the accompanying video on YouTube I advised ending on the Root/Tonic note. The observant ones of you will see that I have not done this here. This sequence will work, however, as the last note falls within the C minor chord (C, Eb, G).
To give the sequence a nice feel set the Clock speed to 1/8th and modulate the Length to random. This last bit will alter the length of the notes and add some additional movement to the sound. We also add a little modulation to layer A as shown in the screen grab below.
Now we come to the fun part, adding some effects to provide more depth to the sound. To save on precious CPU cycles I have only used the Common effects section for this demonstration. Mind that you do not saturate your patch in effects as this will make it hard to get it to fit in with other instruments.
That’s it for this short tutorial. I hope that it will help you create your own sequences for your next track. There is an accompanying video over on YouTube to this tutorial which you can check out here.
If you have any comments, thoughts or any questions either leave them in the comments below or over on YouTube and I will get back to you.