Hey what's up Ninjas!
Thanks for those of you that follow me on snap and requested this tutorial.
You can follow me on snapchat @ zenworldmusic
Today I'm gonna be teaching you how to make leads in the style of Don Diablo and Sikdope.
We will be using these songs as reference for this tutorial.
With the steps in this tutorial you should be able to make sounds that sound like this.
I've also provided a video at the end which goes through every step fast so you can see how easy it is to make these style of sounds. At the end it's up to you to mess with different FX and wavetables to achieve a more unique sound.
Step 1 Shape The Sound
Shaping the sound is always the first thing we must do when recreating sounds.
For the lead we are recreating the sound that doesn't have punch to it. The lead takes time to come in which signifies to me it has an attack.
For this tutorial we will be utilizing the Serum LFO to achieve shaping this sound rather than the envelope.
First we will lower the volume of OSC A to 0. We do this so we can use LFO 1 to control it's output.
From here we will use LFO 1 as a shaper to allow us to shape the sound.
*You drag LFO 1 To The Level Knob of OSC A after OSC A Level has been set to a value of 0*
After some trial an error this is the look we will be going for. Notice how there is a slight attack at the beginning of this chain to give us the vibe that Don Diablo and Sikdope have in their tracks. Keep in mind I have also made the LFO React in an Envelope way so that the sound doesn't repeat as I keep the note pressed down. If you want a more loopable sound as you hold down the note just go into TRIG Mode instead.
Here you can also mess with the slope of the attack to give it a more sharp cut or a more rounder cut.
You also want the speed of your sound to be set anywhere between 1/4,1/8th. (Lower fractions means a faster sound).
The last thing we must do is apply this same LFO to the Filter of Serum so that we can apply resonance if needed.
*You drag LFO 1 To The Cutoff Knob in the filter section after you've placed the cutoff knob all the way to the left.*
Step 2 Choose Your Tone
After we have shaped the sound we can finally focus on the tonality of the sound.
We will be using Wavetables and warp features inside of Serum to achieve this.
For this tutorial I will keep it simple and just utilize the Default Saw to keep it simple.
Keep In Mind you can experiment with different wavetables and warp features to get more unique tonalities here.
The more busy a wavetable is the more likely it will have a very sharp cold vibe. Avoid super busy wavetables if you want to maintain some low end, or just layer it with a sub if you are using it as your bass.
Pro Tip: You can add LFO 1 to WARP Features you may choose to add more movement/change to the sound over time.
*For The Don Diablo Momentum Lead you can also use Square Waves Instead and use a +7 Semitone Variant In OSC B while maintaining OSC A at 0 Semitones.*
Step 3 Polish Your Sound With FX
In this section I recommend you guys experiment with different FX to achieve different end results on your sound.
For instance for a Sikdope Vibe you can implement a bit more distortion, Hyper, and OTT (If needed) to achieve a dirtier sound. (Watch video at end for variations)
While for a more clean Don Diablo Sound I recommend you try to avoid heavy distortion and utilize more pleasing effects like Chorus, Phaser, Flangers. (Watch video at end)
In the picture above I have provided my settings for the standard Don Diablo Lead sound you can hear in his song "On My Mind".
Step 4 Conclusion
The most important part of this tutorial is achieving the shape of the sound. Without the shape of the sound this sound will just sound like an ordinary lead or pluck.
The use of the attack gives the lead this unique character that many people seek in todays Future House/Bass House sounds.
After shaping the sound tonality comes into play with experimenting with wavetables to achieve a desired tonality.
Finally finish off your sound with some nice Effects and profit.
If you had difficulty following the steps in this video here is a quick rundown on how to achieve the sound.