Do you love the dutch house synth leads used by producers like Afrojack and Martin Garrix? These producers are using freshly-crafted sounds that give their songs a defining futuristic feel. Here's a tutorial on how to make a lead sound that's inspired by the lead line in the Afrojack/Martin Garrix collaboration Turn Up the Speakers. All you'll need is a DAW, and a copy of Sylenth.
Start Out by opening up Sylenth in your DAW, and click on menu, then Init Preset to initialize the patch.
Begin by programming Part A in Sylenth. Set the Oscillator A1 Waveform to a Saw wave, and set the Voices to 8. Keep the Retrig On. The volume should be set all the way up, Phase should be just before 10 o'clock and the Detune set to 0. Keep the Stereo and Pan controls where they are.
The Amp Env A should be set so that the Attack is about 0.05, Decay is down all the way, Sustain is up to 10 and Release is 0.10.
In Oscillator A2, set the Waveform to a Saw, the Voices to 8 and keep the Retrig On. The Volume should be turned all the way up, Phase set to between one and two o'clock and Detune set to 1.00. Stereo and Pan controls should remain where they are.
In Filter A section, I used a notch filter at 12 dB, and set the Cutoff to just above 12 o'clock. I turned the Filter A Resonance down to 0.52, and set the Drive to about 1 o'clock. In the Filter Control section, the Cutoff is set to slightly above 12 o'clock and the Resonance set to just before nine o'clock. (Note: You can also turn the Resonance right off in either of the Filter sections). Set the Keytrack to between seven and eight o'clock and turn the Warm Drive On.
Time to head over to Part B! Click on the Part B button (located in the top middle of Sylenth) and set Oscillator B1 to a Saw Wave, with Zero Voices and the Retrig On. Turn the Volume all the way down, but turn the Phase up to 10. The Amp Env B controls should be the same as Amp Env A; Attack set to 0.05, Decay to 0, Sustain to 10.0 and Release to 0.10.
In Oscillator B2, set the Waveform to Noise, and the Voices to 4. The Volume should be set to just about seven o'clock, Phase to zero, Detune to 0. Turn Stereo all the way up and keep the Pan at 12 o'clock.
In the Mixer section, turn Mix A all the way up, and keep Mix B lower in the Mix, around 4.08. If you like, turn up the Main Volume to around 7.
Now it's time to add some modulation! In Mod Env 1, set the Modulation Envelope 1 Destination 1 to LFO1 Rate, and turn the Modulation Envelope 1 Destination 1 Amount knob to about 2 o'clock, or 2.76. Set the Modulation Envelope 1 Destination 2 to LFO1 Gain, and the Modulation Envelope 1 Destination 2 knob to around 10 o'clock, or -4.10. The Attack should be set to just over halfway, (mine is 6.32) Decay fairly low, (1.26) the Modulation Env 1 Sustain lower than the Decay (0.63) and finally, set the Release to 0.
Next move on over to Modulation Env 2, and set Modulation Envelope 2 Destination 1 to Pitch AB. The Modulation Envelope 2 Destination 1 Amount knob should be set to around -0.38, although this is entirely up to you. (It could also be 0.38, depending on your taste) Attack should be down to 0, Decay is up slightly at 0.98 and Sustain and Release are both down all the way.
Move on to the LFO 1, and begin by setting Modulation LFO Destination 1 to Pitch AB. Next set the Modulation LFO1 Destination 1 Amount Knob to slightly just over 12 o'clock, around 0.57. The Waveform should be set to a Sine Wave, and the Rate should be at around 4 o'clock, the Gain just above 10 o'clock and the Offset just above 10 o'clock.
Now we're into the home stretch, and it's time to add effects in Sylenth. Check the box next to Distortion to enable it, and choose Decimate. Turn the Dry/Wet to 100% and the amount to just above nine o'clock.
Next, enable the Phaser section by selecting it and in the top row, set the Spread to just slightly above twelve o'clock. The only other tweaks that need to be made here are setting the LFO Rate to just after eight o'clock, and the LFO Gain to just before nine. Feedback should be set to around 10 o'clock, and Dry/Wet at around 8 o'clock.
Add some Chorus to your sound by enabling it, and then set the Delay to 8.8 ms, the Rate to slightly before 12 o'clock, and the Depth to 40%. Keep the Feedback at 0 %, the Width to 100% and the Dry/Wet to 5.71%.
Reverb is a key component in this Dutch House Inspired sound, so enable it and set the Predelay to 53.33 ms, the Damp to 0.05, the Size to just before 2 o'clock, the Width to just about 3 o'clock and the Dry/Wet to just after 10 o'clock, around 40.95%.
Lastly, finish off by turning on the Compressor, and set the Ratio to 3.88:1, the Threshold to just before 12, Attack to around 7 o'clock (25.09 ms), and the Release to just before 10 o'clock. (around 150.70 ms)
Now you should have a sound that sounds something like this:
If you'd like to take the sound even further, add some EQ (try rolling off the very low end, below 30 or 50 Hz), add on plug-in called Sausage Fattener to make the sound bigger, maybe add a Reverb unit and side chain the lead synth to the kick drum. (If you're feeling really inspired by the Dutch men, try using Nicky Romero's side chaining plug-in Kickstart)
Now go write a great track with your new dutch-inspired synth sound! Happy producing!