This is part 3 of my series on a music production course at Salt Lake DJ & Production school.
When it came to sound design we covered a lot of ground. We went through everything in Massive and Serum, creating sub-basses, lead synths, and pads, and covering all the controls within each plug-in. Covering ADSR we got an idea on how to manipulate the sounds. ADSR is the acronym for Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release. Attack is how long it takes for the sound to reach its peak. Decay is how long it takes to reach the sustain of the sound. Sustain is how long the sound is held. Release is how not the sound lasts after it is released.
So for plucky synth sounds you would have a shorter attack. For a swelling fade-in type sound your attack would be longer. Sometimes we would run into issues with popping or clicking sounds when playing a note. This was resolved by adjusting the ADSR , typically the attack.
When it came to sub bass we went over the idea of an oversub, which was duplicating the sub and cutting out the low end. This is useful to have in situations where you want to have a harmonic addition and when a sound system can’t produce the low frequencies of the sub (like on a laptop or phone). This way the listener can still experience the sub, but not at the lowest frequency.
A big part of these plug-ins that seems heavily used (reverse engineer any preset and you’ll see the application) is the LFO, or low frequency oscillator. It’s not something that is heard but is used to control settings within the plug-in, almost in an automated way. This was an exciting aspect to me because once we reviewed this and I spent some time with it, I started to hear how artists achieve certain sounds on some of my favorite songs.