In this video I dive into some informative but concise theory around how you can go about creating a modern deep house preset using serum:
To start off, I dive into the sub oscillator within Serum, a really useful way to sort out the low end of your patch from the get go. Many people over-think the low-end of a bass preset and think too much over how to get a full, pure sub sound. In reality it's really quite simple; a sine wave is the purest of all tones and therefore is the best choice for the sub of a sound. The level parameter in the sub oscillator (amplitude) is being modulated by envelope 1, which as demonstrated is programmed to have a pluck character. This results in the short stabby bass sound we are after.
In addition to the sub oscillator, the noise oscillator has also been creatively programmed to add some attack to this sound. This makes sure that the bass sound will cut through a mix. Simply select the noise file you want to use from the drop down list, make sure the one shot button is selected and use the envelope already mentioned to add a little bit of amplitude.
This simple but effective bass only makes use of oscillator A on the main page with the Debussy wavetable selected. 3 voices in unison have been used to make sure the bass sounds thick but still tight. The same envelope controlling the amp level of the sub oscillator and the noise oscillator is being used to modulate the level of oscillator A, in order to result in a consistent sound.
The filter section makes use of the French Low Pass filter, again being modulated by envelope A. It's important to mention that only oscillator A is being routed through it. This is because we want to sub and noise oscillator to bypass it, mainly so that the attack of the sound being provided by the noise oscillator doesn't get hidden and stays consistent regardless of the filters cutoff.
Finally, in order to make this bass sound less dry, a simply reverb effect was used alongside the hyper/dimension effects. Makes sure that the mix of the reverb isn't too high as we still want the bass to be clear in the mix. Also make sure to use the low frequency parameter to cutoff any muddy low frequencies.
For more deep house presets check out: http://serumpresets.com/collections/frontpage/products/deephousevol1
I've been a sound designer and music producer for the past 7 years and no other piece of software has ever had me as excited as Xfer's Serum. Here's why:
1. Sound Quality
Steve Duda's Serum is simply unparalleled for its high quality sound. Specifically the ultra-clean oscillators within the synth produce significantly less audio artifacts than other wavetable oscillators on the market (cough, massive, cough). Artifacts within the audio generated by oscillators results in sounds that aren't necessarily what you were hoping to create, resulting in your mix containing unwanted frequencies and tones. Serum manages to make this issue almost negligible due to the obsessive care and number crunching that wen't into the oscillators programming - noticeable from the first patch you create.
2. Intuitive Modulation
Want to modulate the wave-table position of Oscillator A with LFO 1? Simply drag and drop. When NI's Massive hit the market it set the benchmark for modulation possibilities inside a VST soft synth. Xfer's Serum came and absolutely smashed that benchmark. With a few exceptions nearly every parameter within Serum can be modulated, meaning the sonic possibilities within Serum are truly endless. The modulation matrix tab also gives you another perspective to see all the modulation going on - really useful for those complex patches.
3. Wavetable Heaven
Before Serum, if you wanted to create your own wave-tables you had to use separate software to create them and export them before loading them into your synth. To achieve the same with Serum, you only need to software itself. Serum lets you draw in and create your own waveforms and wave-tables within the VST itself. If that wasn't enough you can even create your own wave-tables using any piece of audio you want - simply drag and drop a .wav onto the oscillator. This allows you to easily create your own unique sounds quickly and easily. If you haven't already, head over to the Xfer Records forums where there are tonnes of users sharing their own wavetables such as replications of old classic synthesizer wavetables.
4. In-Built Suite of Effects
Okay so a synth having built in effects these days is nothing new, but that being said the quality of the effects within Serum really are second to none. You have your standard reverb, delay, phaser, flanger and chorus effects. But in addition you have some pretty unique effects such as the hyper dimension and dual-waveshaper. As already mentioned, most of the parameters within the effects section are able to be modulated with any of the modulation sources within Serum.
5. A Visually Stunning GUI
Last but certainly not least, Serum has one of the most visually impressive interfaces of any software on the market. In an interview with YouTuber SeamlessR, Steve explained that the code required for the visual aspect of Serum alone was more than the rest of the synth combined - and it shows. Being able to see the parameters being modulated in real time is probably one of the most under rated features of this synth. Simple but super useful visual ideas such as being able to see the outline of other envelopes behind the one you are programming make Serum stand out visually leagues above any other synthesizer on the market. Serum is not only gorgeous to look at, but insanely practical, resulting in a sound design workflow like no other.