10 Tips for Sound Design in MASSIVE

Sound Design Tutorials

The above tutorial is by AK, an electronic music producer who has a great YouTube channel with some very in-depth tutorials on electronic music production, including sound design, workflow and much more. He has some great tutorials on tips for working with Ableton Live. Check out his Youtube channel here.

10 Tips for Sound Design in MASSIVE

Tip 1. One of the most overlooked tabs in Massive is the voicing tab. Multiple voicings can make your sound bigger. You can also choose whether you want the notes to be played simultaneously, one at a time, or one at a time with trills.

Pitch cutoff and pan position are also very important controls related to the voicings of a sound in Massive. Pitch cutoff creates de-tuning between the voicings. Pan position lengthens the separation of these voices.

Tip 2. Envelope 4 controls the amplitude ADSR controls of all of your oscillators. You can use it to make percussive sounds with a low sustain level and short decay. With a full sustain level, the notes will play for as long as you press a key on your keyboard.

Tip 3. The modulation oscillator makes Massive unique, and can be used to create more aggressive sounds. It is similar to FM modulation, which you find in FM synths such as Ableton Operator.

Phase is the easiest to hear. You can apply phase to one of the three oscillators. The modulation is pitched, so you need to keep this in mind when setting the tuning of the phase. Modulating the phase knob can add great movement to your sound.

Ring mod and position work in the same way as phase but create different changes to your sound.

Filter FM is the same concept as phase except that it sends the modulation oscillator to the filter rather than to the oscillators, hence you can only apply it to either filter 1 or 2.

Tip 4: The insert effects in Massive are all about distortion. You will find the parabolic shaper, sine shaper and the hard clipper. These will have very different effects on your sound depending on where you set them to be positioned in the routing tab.

You can apply LFOs or envelopes to the dry wet or other parameters on inserts 1 and 2, so that the same LFO/envelope is being applied to the effect in opposite directions. This will mean that when insert 1 is being applied to your sound by a larger amount, insert 2 will be applied by a smaller amount at that specific point in time and vice versa.

Tip 5: Working with macro controls can be very powerful. Rather than assigning macro knobs one at a time, apply them in pairs, threes or fours, so that for every action caused by a macro knob, there is also an opposing reaction in another part of the effect.

Tip 6: A good deal of synths usually have a random knob that allows you to change the phasing of the oscillators. This is not present in Massive, but if you go to the voicings tab and assign an LFO to modulate the wavetable position. Make sure the rate is manual, then you can fine tune the rate and the mod amount together.

Tip 7: Another useful function is the ability to create looped envelopes. To test this, let’s assign an envelope to the filter cutoff of a filter. Bring down all of the ADSR elements so that it really isn’t engaging, then turn the loop on infinite and jack up the level for the ending value. Now we can modify the parameters, but we can also choose from any of the envelope shaping selectors, and morph between two of them that we have selected.

If we bring the original ADSR envelope back in , you will notice that the looped envelope settings come in before the sound has passed through the ADSR settings.

Tip 8: Feedback is often overlooked in Massive. It can do everything for subtle grit to full on destroyed awesomeness.

For an interesting implementation of feedback, take an envelope, and use it on the feedback and on the amp value for your primary modulation source (such as an LFO’s amp value), where the LFO is being applied to say, the filter cutoff for example.

This means that the feedback will move in sync (or oppositely synced) with the amount of modulation that’s being applied to your filter cutoff.

Tip 9: CPU Modes. Eco, high and ultra CPU modes have a discernible effect on your overall sound output.

Tip 10: Less is more! This example is demonstrated in the video above. AK shows us how he creates a simple, lush sound. In the example, he Applies lots of reverb to a sound, with some pitch cutoff detuning, then use wavetable modulation. He then assigns modulation to the dry wet of inserts 1 and 2 to get some nice movement to it.

That’s all for today. We hope that you found these tips for sound design with Massive useful. If you’re looking for much more in-depth tutorials on sound design, check out some of our sound design courses by top music producers. Click here for more information.