What's new

Give synth-heavy music an organic touch

Mister Jös

New Member
Hello, I am considering to layer really heavy EDM-type synths with orchestral or acoustic samples to make them sound more interesting. Now I'm looking for suggestions :) What would be your first approach to such an idea? Which instruments/sections/libraries would you layer with supersaw synthies to give them a more insteresting texture?
Since I already own Hollywood Orchestra Gold, I was considering the current Ark 1+2 deal. Another idea is to look at Cinewinds and/or Cinebrass because I thought especially the ethnic winds would have the potential to get some interesting colors. Answers would be very much appreciated :)
 

DSmolken

Senior Member
A lot of EDM producers use very simple orchestral samples and foley percussion samples that don't really sound all that organic, but do add a different color. So, that works. It's easy to do better than that with OT or Spitfire stuff. From my experience this is where having dry close mics really comes in handy, and smaller ensembles or solo instruments work better than trailer-size stuff. It just sounds more like what you'd get if you hired a human ensemble and recorded them in a real studio on a realistic budget. Spitfire LCO Strings are great for this, between the more "normal" articulations and the odd textures.

You can also run synths through amp sims to saturate them a bit and take off some high end with speaker emulation. Vinyl and tape emulation are also popular, as well as vintage compressor and console strip plugins.

I also made a whole sample library dedicated to making snares that can do Pryda snare hugeness but have velocity layers and round robins for a more organic feel. That's at https://www.karoryfer.com/karoryfer-samples/wydawnictwa/frankensnare if you want to take a look.

Edit: also, I wouldn't make the kick too organic, but you can use acoustic kick samples with constant velocity and round robins turned off, while still getting velocity layers. That might take some reprogramming of a drum kit, or exporting various velocity hits and then using those as one-shots. With other instruments, there's an appropriate level of organicness that you can aim for. Of course vocals can usually be the most organic, basses might need to be somewhat less organic than leads but can be more organic than kicks etc.
 
Last edited:
OP
M

Mister Jös

New Member
Thank you very much @DSmolken and @Goldie Zwecker!
Especially the tip with the small ensembles is very helpful, so Ark 1+2 may not be the best choice here. You mentioned Spitfire and OT.. Do you think I should generally look for dry libraries? Or is it better to have the realistic room sound and to have the option with the close mics? Especially OT and Spitfire have quite some room in their close mic recordings if i am not mistaken..
Spitfire LCO strings are a great suggestion, thank you :) if other libraries come to your mind, i would be very happy to hear them
 

DSmolken

Senior Member
I've used Ark 1 in more than one electronic track, especially the brass for a deluxe version of the old-school trap brass sound, so it's not that it's bad. But dry, studio-recorded stuff is probably more useful, especially for strings. In addition to LCO, take a look at Soundiron Hyperion and Chris Hein stuff in general, which has been very popular with hip-hop producers for years. I've gotten a surprising amount of use out of GPO5, too - the harp, the small string ensembles, and some oddities like the glass armonica. But I'd hate to recommend that at this point - there have to be better, more modern choices.
 
OP
M

Mister Jös

New Member
And when you start mixing, abuse the f**k out of Soundtoys stuff.
Thanks for all your suggestions!
Sadly i don't own anything from Soundtoys but I do have some good creative mixing tools and I'm willing to use them ;)
Still on the fence what kind of library to look for. I think the Ark sale is really great and I would get a good variety of sounds for sounddesign stuff including choirs and harps etc.
But I think I would prefer a more dry sound for mixing and I fear that layering a supersaw with nine horns would make no sense at all :grin: despite, I want to do a more "epic/uplifting" type of EDM instead of a more "pop" type if that makes any sense to you ;)
 

TrojakEW

New Member
Looks like most of people suggest effect in order to add organic touch to sound. For me this suggestion is like make perfect mastered track out of very bad mix. Problem is in core sound and adding effect doesn't help as much as you want. It only covers bad core sound but it not make it organic.

Most of sounds from synth doesn't have organic feel because sound designer doesn't make sound for you. In order to make sound it organic you have to make it by yourself. From what I heard "normal EDM" don't care about "organic" touch. What I mean is they are trying to create unique sound while not following any rules. No rules means endless sound possibility but it also take away organic feel.

By rules I don't mean to emulate exact sound with synthesis. This is also problem with some preset and sound designer approach. Most of time you can hear nice designed sound that sound almost realistic but only on certain degree. Most of time designer spend time creating exact sound but they forgot about expressiveness and dynamic behavior that makes sound organic. So they create nice sound but playing simple melody with this sound reveal problem. No dynamic changes or "sci-fi" changes= sterile synthetic sound. You need to add imperfection and behavior based on real instrument you want to follow.

Most of patches include some dynamic changes but mostly only one. And this is problem. In order to have sound more organic you have to implement more changes based per velocity like in real world.

Imagine snare drum. Most of designer will just shape basic sound that will sound nice but they only add one dynamic behavior for example with low pass to cut high freq form low velocity hits. This is not enough. Ideal will be at least three. Change also attack based on velocity so low velocity have longer attack. Third in this example will be resonance of body on high and highest velocity. And I don't mean subtle resonance but imperfect resonance of whole body that also produce other undesirable sound anomalies.

The same principles will go for any other type of instruments like for example flute. Only in this time you trying to simulate overtone on high velocity.

I suggest not design core body of sound but to add dynamic behavior of real instrument to any basic sound to make it sound more "organic".
 

DSmolken

Senior Member
But I think I would prefer a more dry sound for mixing and I fear that layering a supersaw with nine horns would make no sense at all :grin: despite, I want to do a more "epic/uplifting" type of EDM instead of a more "pop" type if that makes any sense to you ;)
Yeah, I definitely do more pop, but nine horns is probably overkill. I mean, yeah, you'll have a supersaw and a lot of other stuff going on. When I used the Ark 1 horns, I'm pretty sure I used three not nine, layered with the cimbassi, and that was a more hip-hop track anyway. Ark 4 might be great for this kind of stuff, actually, if you can be patient and wait for more detail about that.

There's also something I did a few years ago, where I took bowed cello and double bass samples, looped them to basically make oscillators for a subtractive synth architecture. It's a little freebie but can really get lots of mileage either substituting for synths, or layering with them. Pads, plucks and even wobbles. https://www.karoryfer.com/karoryfer-samples/wydawnictwa/string-cyborgs

There's also bigger things like that, where you get synthlike textures made from organic sources. UVI Falcon can do that, Spitfire's eDNA stuff etc. Lots of ways to skin this particular cat, and I guess I was accidentally way ahead of this trend.
 
Top Bottom