Sound Design : Techno stab

Hi everybody,

I would like to get some help/tips to make some techno stab / chords. (Wouldn’t call these “dub techno chords” as it’s not really the same).

Examples :

(there are plenty of examples)

That’s pretty basic and I could achieve some similar results using a sampler but I would like to achieve it with my Syntakt or my A4 MK2 to be able to play some live jams (DAWless)

Thanks for your help and have a good day :slight_smile:

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Hi Technolover303

Maybe this could be a good start, if you’re willing to spend a little cash:

You could probably achieve the same thing by just forming a minor triad or a minor seventh chord and try out some Sound design on your own.

Good luck

bought this one a few weeks or months ago but couldn’t find anything close to what I am looking for. gotta give it another check.

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dunno how similar the Syntakt’s FM synth is to Digitone but this is a basic dub techno stab’s Digitone parameters

also, just watching loopop’s Syntakt review, the wavetable chord mode sounds like the best bet for getting there (he gets somewhat close just faffing about for a few seconds)


Feel like this should be super easy on the ST since that’s what the chord machine seems to do. The first example is just a filtered Saw wave chord I believe.

I personally make these sounds on synths and sample them in. Just did this on my Take5. Obviously with the ST, you can not do that but you can design them pretty quick. The tip I would say is spend a lot of time on the Amp and Filter envelopes to really shape the sound you want.

yes the second video should maybe be a good starting point (the first one being about dub chords which is not what I am looking for) ! Gonna give it a try :slight_smile:

I also used to make most of my techno stabs using a sampler (even from some piano chords) but I have no “hardware” sampler and I would like to get these without using a computer :slight_smile:

I’m bumping up this topic a bit cause I haven’t managed yet to get the expected
result… Any help is welcome :slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER; I’m an interested amateur with this stuff.

Start with a noisy waveform: square or saw (the one in the track Dione is closer to a saw). Make a chord: on the ST or A4 you’ll need multiple tracks for this. In Dione, it’s a minor triad - any root note, plus a note 4 3 semi-tones up and another note 7 semi-tones up.

The sound in Dione uses an envelope to modulate filter and amplitude. I can’t tell if it’s the same envolope: probably. The attack is very short, or 0. The sustain is low, or 0. The decay is fairly short, the release maybe a bit longer. As the track progresses, the filter cutoff (or the envelope modulation level) get raised, making the sound brighter. If you’re using an ST or A4, you’ll need to find a way to apply the same or similar change to the cutoff/modulation across the three voices. Options include: an external modulation source like a keyboard with a mod-wheel, or a BeatStep; using a Machine with two oscillators (SY BITS, DVCO) to get two of the notes, and only a 2nd track; etc.

The chord is being passed into a modern reverb with long decay and some damping.

Towards the middle-end of the track a sound comes in which, initially, I thought was the same chord passed into a delay, but it plays different notes, so it’s maybe a sample of the same chord, filtered a bit and then sequenced with a couple of different root notes.

The chord in Elevation is pretty similar. It’s got some distortion and the high end is a bit sharper: maybe the envelope is exponential (where in Dione it might just be linear). The way the tone of the chord moves as it plays at different pitches suggests it’s a sample through distortion and filtering, to me (rather than a sample that has the distortion baked in). The chord also passes through a delay with a dotted 8th time and enough feedback for 3-4 clear repeats. There may well be quieter secondary delays going on too. I think the delays feed into the reverb but I’m playing this quietly through a laptop and also just making this stuff up.

Elevation sounds like Dave Clarke’s Red 2 which did all the same stuff with chords, plus as phaser or flanger before the delays.

They sound like “dub chords” to me. It’s the rest of the track around the chords that doesn’t sound so much like “dub techno”.

A4 can be poly, so a track suffice.
And you can even use a mono track, tuning oscs and 5th subs, you can get minor or major chords. (Subs are square, and 7 semitones below, not 5, so the trick is to set Osc1 = +7, Osc2 = +3 for a minor chord, +4 for a major)

This is a major chord. :wink:


Thanks. I can’t count.

That 2nd note is three semi-tones up.

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thanks ! that’s helpful, will give it a try :slight_smile:

Would rather try to achieve it on the Syntakt first as I have no much room for the A4 at the moment :pensive:

Quick test.

@technolover303 if interested in settings :


Wow that’s nice ! Thank you ! Gonna give it a try this week !

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Glad if you like it, you should find better settings by yourself. :content:

Btw, listening to your first example, I’ve been more struggled by the rhythm of stabs, trying on mimick them synced. Disturbing, and surprising. Not as simple as I thought. Probably polyrythm.

5 step polymeter with two triggers spaced as evenly as possible, so: xoxoo

Also, one’s volume/velocity is slightly lower and I think a LP filter is used that’s a bit more closed on of the triggers. Which creates extra groove :slight_smile:


I guess it’s a classic @DaveMech?

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I do love that polymeter yes


@DaveMech sorry I was serious! :content:
Well, maybe it’s not off topic.
What about the sequence ?
(I’m used to regular 4/4 but you propose 5/4?)

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The track is just 4/4 with a 5 step polymeter stab of 16th notes