Sound design is a very competitive, tricky, and time-intensive process, new trends appear and die quickly. Good wholesome sound design requires innovation, an abundance of patience, and sometimes a fantastic night’s sleep! If you keep to the simple yet effective fundamental theoretical approaches and techniques listed here, then very quickly you will be the elite Vanguard sound designer you usually dreamed to get. Yep, you also can achieve the sound of that French guy with all the long hair…
Think of artists such as Spor, Noisia, or Dirtyphonics. These people use conventional waveform selection, usually saw and square, but drink too much on anything else. Curiosity gets you places. So let’s throw the rulebook out of your window.
Try literally randomizing your settings first of all: slam together different oscillator waveforms, envelopes & filter settings. For example go crazy on waveform selection sometimes, mix and match. What you thought was obviously a no go. Your next step may be to refine your raw sound into something more usable and more importantly controllable.
Messing around using the LFO is excellent it adds depth to your sound, attempts to add LFO to your sounds, and the rate low to provide a fattening washy effect. Nearly every sound in ‘Oxygene’ by Jean Michelle Jarre (considered one of my synth programming heroes) uses LFO.
Don’t use too much release in the dance lead, sometimes a bit can do, try using hardly any attack, a mid-level of sustain, along with a mid-level of decay.
The detune control is often a killer which enable it to function as the step to any anthem based dance sound. Try going for a sound without detuning and turning the detune knob to 54% and compare the results.
You often don’t need 16 or 32 voices, sometimes just 5 could be enough, you will find turning the voices down may give your mix an even more minimalistic sound. This Approach may also relieve essential CPU resources too if the running low!
The Vanguard’s filter may be extremely versatile: for plucky sounds get a low 24 decibel. For bass try low 12 dB. For acid, sounds try band+shp, notch, and format. Being careful with this department can help determine how your sound sits within the mix, so invest some time and experiment.
The Vanguard’s trance gate effect may give some awesome effects – for additional subtle fx do not have it on max, maintain the contour control knob low along with the gate close to 60%. You may also get some good crazy results by playing with all the stereo and speed controls in the trance gate.
I’m not a big fan of the Delay unit around the Vanguard. It works better for me on background noises, so if the sound’s the centerpiece I’d set the delay to ‘Widen’ which has a short delay time to present your sound more stereo width.
The reverb unit around the Vanguard is fantastic for electro. To get the ‘Benassi’ type reverb do this: adjust the mix to around 35%, pre-delay close to 40%, room size to a number exceeding 15%, damp all the way up, and width to 50%. This gives your sound that ‘sidechained’ feel. Glide may also be great with this kind of sound when you’ve got overlapping notes in your sequencer.
So there we have it – several items to consider when coming up with your own Vanguard sounds – all the best.!