Thick analogue saws.....


Member (Todger)
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East Sussex
I'm trying to get some of my saw/square wave sounds a bit (read LOT) thicker sounding. I've noticed on a lot of tracks that you can really hear the oscillations of the generator to give it that raw sound but i don't think it's done with distortion cause they also sound quite clean (if you get what I mean)

I've played with compressing the fuck out of it to make the peaks of the oscillation really come thru and it works to some extent (and careful playing with a verb seems to help) but is there some sort of obvious processing i'm missing/'can't-live-without' plugin not being used???

Or is it just a case of playing around with the sound to make it so. If so where should i be looking to make adjustments?
Stack em up and detune them.

For example, take your sawtooth [start with a good one - Steinberg model E is particularly lively. So is Vaz Modular..] and then add two more - one tuned down 8 cents and one tuned up 8 cents. Pan the detuned ones hard left and right.

Keep adding them at slightly different pitches and pan positions until it sounds as thick as a BNP councillor.

Try giving one a slight [+/- 10 cents] pitch modulation from an lfo and mix in a pulse wave for bite.

If that doesn't work, take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning.
I'm taking it that all these oscillators should be sync'd/linked to ensure they're all in phase so that I keep the prominent oscillation sound coming thru......

....but doesn't increasing the pitch of an oscillator mean they'll run at slightly different frequencies and so this won't work...??? I dunno, I've tried the multiple osc thing b4 and whilst i do hear a difference it's not getting near to what i'm after...
which synth?

there's a world of difference between the saws in, say, the z3ta or impOSCar and the saws in the huge slew of cheapo crapbag virtual analogue vstis.
Well z3ta if you like but I'm more a fan of Albino. Prefer the GUI..... z3ta's a bit of a headfuck if you ask me.... :Grin:
Check out Vanguard - thats got a lovely rich single-osc saw noise, but you can detune all three oscs too.
hey man.. try pitching down a single oscillator a bit more (way more?) than usual and high pass filtering it with a fair amount of resonance. That makes the saw peaks more prominent, might be what you are after..
a lot of it is down to which synth you use, although albino is fairly rich, so a good place to start

i like z3ta's GUI a hell of a lot compared to most Vsti, but the waveforms are very biting and sharp, not those lovely virus style beast waves that are both soft and warm and hard as rank cheese
hey norty, if youve got reaktor and the premium library, whip out the manymood, and the first patch, Moog2000 should be right up you street if you get rid of the amp (loudness contour) release and shorten the decay a bit :Smile3:
i think Ott descirption should be what your after. Kinda Tinribby stylee no?
Make sure your not detuning with semitones but with semicents.....
This gives a similar effect to chorus fx - applying this widens and thickens the sound also giving it a spacey depth while still sounding clean, if not perceptively cleaner than the dry signal.... have you tried that?

If your after a more specific kinda sound then try either a nord lead or a JP8000. The JP has a preset oscillator called supersaw which combines 7 saw waves all of which are detunable from eachother.... kinda like a lot of Wizzy Noise leads.

But perhaps your thinking of full on FM? the way you describe hearing the 'oscillations of the generator' could well mean you should simply get a saw modulating a saw or perhaps one saw + one square and turn the FM to the max, this too makes it thicker and livelier and still quite raw and clean yet distorted at the same time........
cheers nik, what I'm after is not a 'phatter' saw (like you get by chorus or whatever method of detuning and multiple osc's) but that deep but upfront oscillation you get from a single oscillator thats going slow but with really distinct peaks/troughs. The FM thing was next on my list of things to try, cheers for the pointer. The JP-8000 is a fuckin amazing synth, I remember hearing Jake from Shamanic Tribes giving his it's first airing and being 'suitably impressed'.

And quite cheap now i believe too..... :Grin:
a sound cosmosis is fond of, at least in the old stuff i think.

say the main lead in weird, strange, sick, twisted?

it also got used inergalactic alot?

i reckon (and i've never really got it bang on). that you want to sync one oscillator to another, and then turn pitch of the one doing the modulating one down a lot, so it's at a fast lfo speed...

this should do it, or get you near. i reckon if this is the sound you are after, it's for sure through modulating the pitch one oscillator by another.