Tips for syntesising hats and top end percussion?

So Im aware of several online videos such as secret musics ones for doing kicks and tom percussion wit the A4.

Is anyone aware of any videos or just general tips for creating synthesized high hats, cymbals and other high end percussion noises with the A4?

I usually start with a white noise + filter + filter env, then add osc voice for different timbre.

Cheers created a few white noise sounds last night.

Anyone else got any more interesting percussion design tips? I’m hoping to create a full bank of interesting percussion noises over the next few weeks.

FM sounds can often be noisy or metallic or both… especially when you modulate different aspects with envelopes (pitch, fm rate, etc.) …

i find that FM hats are really good at cutting thru a mix

the other thing is to play around with the different envelope shapes, they really change the sound pretty drastically depending on the type

I think you can learn a lot with Druma from Darenager, reverse engineering to see how he program the elements you’re after


Everything with High-Freq. content can be a start. For envelopes a fast attack for the amp is mostly needed. Filter 1 has to let pass enough high - frequencies - so rather open - mostly with a good boost of resonance.
Probably 1 of the 2 High-pass filters for filter 2 - to begin no resonance - as it is better to add later if needed …
Many times for metal - percussion the tail is very important for the caracter you want to achieve. If you listen to any metal-sound you’ll notice there’s not just a sharp attack but a " wobbling " ( small up-down pitch-shifts ) after the attack - wich eaven can go faster or slower in time. ( for this the LFO’s :slight_smile: > Modulate LFO 1 speed with LFO 2 maybe > anyway I would prob. use synced LFO’s so to use them at the same time to add extra mod. in the attack ).
I think every Osc. waveform can be usefull,.but you should allso give the last option - kind of ring-mod - a try …
Mostly theres not alot of lo-freq; needed so filter 2 could go pretty up.
Adding noise to oscillator 1 can be interesting but I’d give it a fast fade-out- so it ccan give a burst of energy at the start but is gone in the tail - so those shimmering metalrrrrings shine clear. You could use ENV 2 to modulate the resonance of 1 or both filtrers or eaven the LFO 1 - speed.
resonance open at the start can give you a more open sound > for snares etc… ’ short tail ) > open at the tail or keeping it open more for cimbals etc… adjust to taste :slight_smile:
In the env’s you’ll rarely need a slow decay - there mostly has to be a rather short burst of energy followed by the tail.
All osc’s have pulsemod - very interesting for those typical freq. movements > and by changing the start-fase you can change the caracter of the attack without using the filters etc…
The best Tools are your ears and the surrounding soundss that will influence at deep level how you hear the percussion. ( so create and listen in context )
When you have something you like, save it and start to change ENV’s and LFO-speeds etc… you’ll be surprized what that can change.
Try ridicoulous high speeds for the LFO’s and modulate their speed for some percussion > or 1 - hit slow for others :joy:
I could keep going here, but … :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
( use short gates )

Interesting thread. Thanks for the link to the moog tutorial. I also love to dig deeper into drum synthesis on the A4 and design a bank of my own sounds. The druma soundbank is awesome, I think the A4 is highly capable for great analog drums. I find myself using the druma sounds as presets most of the time, so it’s like using samples. Would be more fun to do them on my own.
The new fm feature also opens the door for new percussion sounds I guess.

I’t’s the best Analog Drumsynth I know…and I haven’t upraded yet…
One of it’s great stregths is that there are so many parameters that I can allways find a way to re-adjust sounds to my liking, wich I have to do a 1000 times whyle composing, a little resonance more - a small env adadption, a little slower LFO… etc…NOT tO FORGET the extesive way to modulate each part of all the Env’s > fantastic to give differen expressions to Drums by velocity etc…and those FX-send-returns one can lock step <<< It’s a Space - Funk- Beat Machine :alien: :imp: :rage: :heart:
I got drums out of it > Most People just don’t beleave its a synth HAHA and it can go totally ELECTRONIC too … sometimes I think about the ARytm but ( maybe thats not honest ) when listening around I still think it can’t touch the A4. but I’m tempted because it seems handy to have 8 dedicated Drum-tracks.

are you referring to the AM parameters? Any suggested settings?


are you referring to the AM parameters? Any suggested settings?[/quote]
Not only to AM …I understand more or less ( what happens ) but to the first oscillator option witch I don’t understand really but it can give really nice results ( kind of feeding the Osc back to itself in relation to the second Osc.)… :confused: … things like filters, envelopes and more conventional osc. settings I can push in directions I can predict more or less… AM-settings etc… well I just fiddle until something comes up I like and than go from there. And AM is different from the classic AM as it’s depending on the pulsmod - settings of both Oscillators.
So instead of breaking my head around the AM etc… theory - I just try …and all that can be cotrolled by all modulators. :slight_smile:

I’m a work here ( no PC at home ) so it’s difficult to write ( big Brother Watching :slight_smile: )but i’ll give some more ideas the following days

Epic series on synthesis at SOS, covers percussion too.

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I’m gonna give some specifick tips I discovered on this machine per page the next days, because general knowledge can be useful but every synth is gonna give you different sonical results.
I’ still thinking wich page would be the most interesting to start with.
Logically that would be the Amp - page. or the Osc. 's pages …
And I have to do this between the soup and the patatoos at work without being tapped on my fingers… :imp:
When imitating or creating a sound it’s usefull to make a simple analyse of it before starting A 3 step - analyse.
How dous the sound START = Env attack
What’s the basic body MID = Env decay - sustain
How dous it END = Env release

AMP - Page
Amp-Env: ATTACK Most drum or percussion sounds start with a burst of energy ( fast attack ) and that energy fades very fast if not adrupt ( fast release )… So the attack-value has to be 0 or close to 0. All Env-types can be very fast so all env’s can be usefull but there are ( the last 2 ) specific Env’s with extra fast attacks, Modefiing their attack-times will rather change the caracter of the attack. For us humans the first milliseconds of a sound will define very strong how the rest of a sound is percieved, so tiny changes in the first thousands of seconds is of great impact. ( this will be even more noticable when using the others Env’s > to filter etc… )
. DECAY Mostly a fast decay will do good > after the burst of enery can go to 0 in allmost no time.
SUSTAIN Mostly a 0 value is what you need >>>>>>>>>> attack - decay and relaese are TIME- Values … The sustain is a LEVEL - VALUE. It’s the level when holding a note. For most percussion 0 is ok > no sustain needed. ( to reach the SUSTAIN both Attack and Decay - fases have to run to their end - if not the sound will go immediatly to the release fase. So you could make for EX a snare that " ruffles " when holding the key long enough. Same go’s if you want the combination of OPEN - CLOSED HIHAT within one sound, so you can open or close it by trig-length. ( open = sustain > closed = no sustain ).
RELEASE All kinds of variations depending what you want. For many Metal-sounds you’ll need a rather long RELEASE, Skin-sounds ( toms - tabla - konga etc… )will be shorter and some sounds don’t need it at all > wooden sticks or a hard snare.
Most of you will know all this, but I’m trying to be clear for beginners. please correct me if I write mistakes please
( When starting to create I usually put filter1 totally open with no resonance to have all High-Frequencies availeble. I find it somehow more pratikal to cut away Frequencies later on than to add )
Later I’ll come back more in detail on the AMP-ENV-settings in combination with the other Env’s and modulators + parameter-locking.

AMP-page FX-settings:
On the same page you can add chorus - delay - and reverb.
- Chorus : probably inveted to give a single voice the illusion of being multiple voices. ( depending on settings ). this way ypou can have a single let’s say Violin-sound to sound lika a group of violins. In extremer settings it becomes allmost like a fazer. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> when parameter-locked on some steps you can spread athose wider into the stereo-field, give them more body, but most important - make many of 1 voice.

  • Delay : VERY usefull for percussion. and by parameter-locking on some trigs you canbecome those typical DUB - Delaylines as it is a Send-Return system. By controlling the send-amouth with a Performace - encoder you can manully introduce blasts of delay tha will keep on repeating over the dry trigs when you close the send. Try out different time intervals ( rate’s ) - this way you can make triplets, or more exsotic sundevisions, or even change the rate
    while playing. Many time’s it’s best to filter a part the low freq’s out as those will give you a mess pretty easy. a trick =I really love is to modulate the RATE to the smallest settin ( = 1 ) while preforming. As the rate go’s faster repeats build up adding extra energy or when going slower giving extra space and Fraekness :alien: > in combination with Reverb-modulation ( let’s say the reverb close while the delay-rate go’s up < you can make a ritem come from the deapsea whirling up to the top ot the vulcan :joy: ! Rate modulation can be programmed per trig > and by tying thos trigs together by PARAMETER-SLIDING you can nbuild up or down the rate in incredible ways.
    - Reverb : again like for the delay < Per trig sending can be WOW !
    Usually I’ll allways add some small amout for any hats and other percussin that has high-frequencies. another great trick is lock 3 steps in the FX-track , make a parameter-slide from step 1 to 2. Trig 1 and 2 can best be set far apart, but trg 3 comes directly after trig 2. Reverb wet in step1 - Reverb dry in step 2 - back t wet in step 3 … try other variations - listen what happens :astonished:

For metal-percussion you’ll need long release settings for the ENV. Depending what you want the decay could be longer in combination with some sustain. Sometimes - like for giant Bell-sounds - you can use a fast attack ( hitting the bell ) + long decay - ( energy builds up )- to a high sustain ( metal ring’s ) - long Decay ( fade-out). U’d have to use the other ENV’s and mod’s too - but more on that later.( when explainig the other Env’s and LFO’s )… when the sustain is a maximum you won’t notice the sustain as the decay is the time to reach the sustain.
Dotted Env’s are the most used for percussion as you want the attacks to be retriggered for eatch note.
Don’t forget that the FX-track can have it’s own length > this way you can make a track that loops on a different trig from all other tracks - a nice way to make polyritmick modulation.
You can modulate every part of the Amp-env. Try changing the decay and sustain and-levels in different ways. by modulation ( velocity - lof’s - env1 and 2 - parameter-locking OR BY HAND IN REALTIME ( performance encoders ) . Very small changes in Decay and can result in huge différences > Going from a long release to 0.1 can be … :heart:
When using the performanc-encoders to adjust FX-parameters I mostly use a centerd setting for the encoder so the Delay can be modulated in positive or negative ways.
Setting short Reverb-times with a combination of high Early-Reflections can give you very metallic rushes over your percussion - most interesting when done manual or by parameter-locking…
CIAO :sleepy:

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Osc. 1 page percussion tips :

  • Pitch > sometimes pitching 1 of the Osc’s much higher can be nice to add a rich -hogh-freq. content. ( metal-percussin )
  • Finetune > if uoylike some fasing on a sound fintune 1 of the oscillators plus or minus, but 1 or 2 cnt max.any futher the fasing starts to disappear. This will work mostly only when both Osc; are identic ( so in Pitch and Waveform ). > a way to " open " a sound > can be a way to finer adjust the caracter of a sound. Finetuning wider can give you more atonal results.
  • detune : explained in the manual :slight_smile: I have no tips I can think of :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
  • Keytrack : OFF very intersting for both Osc’s if you want to keep thesame voice-pitch over the keyboard - I’d advice this for KICKS anyhow. >>>>>>> ON for only 1 of the OSC’s : fantastick to make sounds that stay in pitch but change their harmonic content per note. Try combinations wtih the OSC page 2 sync settings, more on that later

I have to stop here < continue later :disappointed:

OK !

  • Level :slight_smile:
  • Wave : I don’t have any preference for percussion, but for “wooden” sounds I seem to get the best results with Triangle.
  • Sub : ad at taste > no special tips. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: exept that I like to add the 2 octave - lower Square sometimes to add some grid. Allso when pitching 1 of the Ocs. very high a sub can be used as a regular wave. If you put the KEYTRACKING OFF for both OSc’s its allwys easyer to create drum-sounds and you can pich eatch OSC. different + there’s the 5th option for the Sub > All kind of exotic timbres at your fingertips without worrying witch key to play < You’ll be better focused and for most percussion you wo’t need chromatic play. When using only 1 Osc. you can still use the sub of the second. adding a sub for Kicks isn’t allways a good Idea ( it can even make the sound thinner ) - sometimes just 1 Osc. can be enough.
  • Pulsewith : another variation on the wave > in combinatrion with the PWM > ( Pulsewith modulation) and the right speed modulation ( SPD ) you can create a tone that starts in 1 caracter and evolves to another. For percussion you’ll need a rather fast speed as the sound dies quickly. In that case the PW is how ( where ) the wave starts and how fast ( SPD ) it will evolve to where it ends ( PMW = depth ) ( defined by the the AMP-Env length offcoarse ) > so another way for sonical evolution apart from the filters :slight_smile: .
  • SPD : Very fast speeds < great to change the wave - can be used to add an extra rittem into the sound - in comb. with fast Lfo’s > great for all kind of shakers - Maraka’s etc… or modulate the speed from slow to fast to go from a straight start to a shaking end.
  • PWM : allready explained but, … with low-register square-waves and good filtering a way to create insect-like or tikking sounds that go from insane frequencies to audible clicks.

Noise PAGE > Noise is a part off allmost all natural sounds Use the fade - parameter to add only at the sart or end. Can add very interesting stuff in comb. with the OSC. sync-settings. When a sound that’s using noice is finisched - try changing the noise SNK parameter - can lead to deep changes.

  • COLOR : I haven’t updated to that version yet :rage: :slight_smile:

Be welcome to correct any stupid mistakes, Learning never stops :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I could go on here for all other pages for specific percussion-tips, but If there’s no interest I have better things to do with my time… :joy:

please continue man, these are great tips