How to create synth sound variations using a Sampler Track
Last week we covered fine-tuning your lead arrangements with scissor tool, now let’s look at re-synthesis using the Sampler Track.
Often when I want to create multiple variations on a sound, having the plugin open with all the parameters at my disposal can lead to altering the sound too far, beyond recognition. This can be a good thing, don’t get me wrong, however I like to create multiple variations of a sound that still share similar characteristics, that way when you arrange them in sequence, when a new piece comes in there is a sense of familiarity with the sound.
Exporting a snippet of a preset and loading it into a Sampler Track is a great way of solidifying the sound you already have, and still offering you enough control to create a new sound, that still shares various characteristics with the original sound. Most DAWs have a Sampler Track built-in, and most offer various settings to warp the time of the sound, while still maintaining the pitch. This is similar to granular synthesis, albeit a very simplified version of it.
Ok, so let’s look at setting up your Sampler Track…
If you’ve bounced out a sample of a synth preset, it helps to set the “root note” in the sampler to the note that has been bounced out, that way if you do play notes on a keyboard they will correlate to the key and scale of the track.
When warping samples, it sometimes helps to shift the starting point of the sample, due to slight delays in plugins, and envelopes in the plugin there can sometimes be an audible “ramp up” in the sample.
If your DAW’s Sampler Track allows it, using legato on one shot samples is a nice effect, it creates an almost Tape-Stop-like effects while still maintaining a sensible key that works musically with the rest of the track. Then some effects of course, some distortion, filters, delay and reverbs are all great effects to use which don’t alter the tone of the source sound too much, so play around with those!
For an in-depth walkthrough of how I do this using Cubase’s Sampler Track, check out the video here: