In this tutorial we are going to learn how to create a Deadmau5 style synth patch in Logic Pro using it's ES2 synth module. ES2 is a sorely underrated synth module considering that you get it as part of the Logic Pro package, but hopefully this tutorial will give you a taster of the power behind it and inspire you to work on your own patches for this synth.
I have included a clip of the sound we are going to create as an example of how it can be utilised in a track. All the sounds are made from the ES2 module except for the white noise riser which is created in ESP and the drums which are samples.
To make it easier to hear the patch coming together as I programme the sounds in, I tend to write in the part using a piano sound beforehand. For this particular piece you can see the chords and notes I've used for this Deadmau5 style riff in the screenshot above. To get the pumping, bass heavy synth sound I spread the chords over 3 Octaves and programmed it in Semi-Quavers or Eighth Notes. As ever, there are no hard and fast rules as to how you can utilise this particular patch.
Now to create the actual Deadmau5 style synth sound.
Step 1 - Bring up the ES2 module into your software track in Logic. This should open with it's default patch and look like the picture below.
Step 2 - Let's Start with the actual Oscillators. Select the Rectangle Wave for Oscillator 1, Saw Wave for Oscillator 2 and Saw Wave for Oscillator 3.
Step 3 - Make sure all the octaves are on 0, turn the Analogue to Zero and switch the CBD off. I have also set the fine frequencies to zero and put the Oscillator mix dead center.
The panel should look like the screenshot below.
You can play around with all these settings later but for now we'll use this as our base.
Now for the router.
Step 4 - Make sure everything besides the cut off 1+2 is switched to off and bring the fader style control to about 75%
It should should look like the panel below. You should be started to hear how the sounding is coming together now.
Step 5 - Now lets get rid of that decay and give it some more attack. From left to right follow these settings setting on the envelope to stop it sounding like a pad and more like a lead sound.
Step 6 - Change the filter from Parallel to series and put the blend all the way to Filter 2. Set the Cutoff, Resonance and FM down to 0 and change the voices from 12 to 16. You can do this by double clicking on 12 and typing in 16.
By now the patch should nearly resemble the first sound you hear in the sample above.
For the finished touches we need set the amplifier parameters and modulation settings.
Step 7 - Bring the tone to about 50% - Set the modulation intensity to zero - Distortion to Zero - Sine level about 0.044 and bring the volume up to a reasonable level that doesn't clip or distort.
Your patch is now complete and should sound like the example below so save it in this form.
In the example above you will hear the patch changing its sound from a bassy low end bell like sound into a big trance style saw sound as it rises into the drop. The beauty of this particular patch is that it has two really useful sounds that can be achieved by setting the cutoff either on 0 or on 100%. In this case I have programmed the cutoff to create a gradual climb into the big trance sound.
You can do this by bring up your automation tracks (found in between auto zoom and flex on the top panel of logic) Selecting ES2 - Mix + Filter and then LPF Cutoff.
Using your pencil tool you can then programme in the rises and falls of the synth sound as a transitional effect into where the beat drops in. You'll notice in the sample that I also bring it down whilst the beat is still going on to add some different timbre and colour into the track adding variation and interest.
Once you have the hook programmed, patch created and cutoff drawn in, you can start to bring alive the sound by adding reverbs and delays. In this sample I have also added a bit of EQ to bring out the bass and top end fizz whilst cutting some annoying frequencies.
As always, play around with different filters, modulation, reverbs and delays to create a unique sound for your tracks.
You may also notice that there is a compressor on my track. I have side chained this to a silent four on the floor kick drum to create an off beat pulse for this sample.
Hopefully this will you a little insight into Logic Pro's very own ES2 synth module. Programmed properly it can be used to create amazing sounds and simulate some of your favourite chart topping dance tracks. As ever, send links in the comment boxes below to examples of how you've used this patch or creative sounds you've programmed into ES2.
- Audio Monkey -