Stereo Synths – Don’t Bore Us With That Chorus
When a chorus just doesn’t cut it on your synths, try doubling them. For this example, I’ll use two ES P’s and an ES M for a vintage synth bass sound. The ES M is monophonic, I’m using it for sub. Ignore the ES M if you need polyphony.
The setup: Two instances of ES P panned left and right, one ES M.
Find or make a sound you like on one ES P. Save it, and load it up in the second ES P. Or work with one ES P first, and when you’re happy with the sound, press ⌘+D to duplicate the track. Make sure you record enable all tracks if you want to play them together. More on how to play them together at the end of this post.
Look at the arrangement:
I recorded a region once, on ES P One, then I made an alias of that region and put it on the next two tracks. If I ever want to edit the region, I’ll just edit the original region and all aliases will follow. You can make an alias by dragging a region while holding ⌥+⇧. Learn how to use them, they can be a huge timesaver.
Back to the synths… For some stereo, try changing the filter of just one synth slightly, tune both synths differently, or play around with the levels of the waveforms, like so:
You’ll notice that small changes on one side make a big difference. For more precise control, click on ‘view’ in the plugin. You’ll get all the controls without the visuals:
Try automating some parameters for even more stereo goodness!
Since we’re dealing with three synths now, we need some options to keep workflow tight. The first one is to group the channelstrips together. Group channelstrips by clicking on the area where the yellow 1 is:
You have the option to look at your groupsettings there too:
In this case, it’s nice to have ‘record’ enabled here. Now we’ll just have to record enable one synth, and all synths will be ready to play. Pretty handy. Volume, pan, automation mode, etc? Probably not – maybe later. Don’t worry if you can’t decide : just hit ⌘+G to quickly enable or disable the group.
Our second option is to make a new instrument in the Environment Window and connect that to the infividual synths. Let’s quickly run through the procedure. Hit ⌘+8 to open the Environment Window. In the top-left corner, make sure ‘Mixer’ is selected :
Make a new instrument:
Select it, change its name in the parameter box on the left. Zooming in on the instrument, which I named ‘stereo synth’:
Now drag the little triangle and drop it on the first synth’s channelstrip. Repeat this for synth number two, andsoforth.
You’ll get something like this:
Now go back to the arrangement window, double-click below your last track to create a new one, and ctrl-click that track and reassign it:
Playing the newly created instrument will play all three synths. Changing the volume of the created instrument will change the volume on all synths. Use the volumefader of the individual synths if you don’t like the mix. Note that you cannot edit any synth automation on the newly created instrument, you’ll still have to do that on the synth tracks.