Introduction to Sound Design: NI Massive | Aaron Carstensen | Skillshare

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Introduction to Sound Design: NI Massive

teacher avatar Aaron Carstensen, Keep making music

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Signal Flow

    • 2. Lead

    • 3. Bass

    • 4. Pad

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About This Class

This class is a very beginner look at sound design with Native Instruments Massive. We will be looking at basic signal flow and how to create a lead, bass and pad sound. Note that Massive is purely a soft synth and will not allow you to record or arrainge full songs. You will need a digital audio workstation for song composition so be aware of this before you purchase Massive.

Meet Your Teacher

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Aaron Carstensen

Keep making music


Hi! my name is Aaron and I am an electronic music producer with 8 years of experience. I have completed my degree in electronic production from the Berklee School of Music and am currently working on my trap metal project Xstitch.

The most recent release here is my Quick Mix: Low End video tutorial. I am starting the Quick Mix series as a way to quickly showcase practical techniques so if you like the first one I'd be happy to make more.

If you've gotten any use from my lessons it would be super helpful to get a follow on Instagram, I'm most active there.

As always let me know if there is something you are stuck on or want me to cover I would be happy to make a tutorial on the topic.

Keep making music!

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1. Signal Flow: Hey, guys, my name is Aaron, and I'm going to do a quick, easy to toil on Native Instruments synthesizer called massive. There's gonna be very basic. Um, we're not gonna look at a lot of these boxes. Just it's gonna be for people who just got it and just opened up, Um, and just want to know what to do. Because obviously, there's a lot of buttons here, a lot of dials, and it can be very overwhelming. So what? That was gonna jump right in. And just look at the some of the basic aspects of this tool. I'm gonna break it down just to make a little simpler. Alright, for starting off, we're gonna look at these boxes. 123 things. We're all gonna be the same thing. They're called oscillators for this tool. There's gonna be where the sound comes from. Um, starting off, I would keep only one activated. These buns will activate or deactivate this. Having too many oscillators going at one time can get the get muddy sound and can actually am mute out parts of another oscillator s so I can get a little It can get a little complicated. So if you're just opening it up, I keep one. Just all slater. One activated for now, Um, it's really all you need, even for some of the more complex sounds. So if you plan, I'm gonna play on the keyboard. Here. How'd you get here? Um, what that's gonna be is a saw wave. So this tape tab right here is gonna be your wave table. Um, selection. They've got a lot of a lot of choices in here. A massive is gonna have a to, ah, double wave system where each selection there's gonna be a wave table. This wt position are here. There's gonna be a wave table position. So if you're all the way left, is gonna be square away for this one, at least square wave. And then if you go right, it's gonna be a saw wave. Um, the cool thing about this is you could morph it anywhere in between. So right in the center is gonna be a mix of a square. Saw these buttons just gonna pick, uh, just cycle through here. We're gonna not like its spectrum today. Um, it can get more complex. That's for more complex sound design. This boxer here is gonna be your pitch slider. So 12 steps up or down is gonna be an active. Then you could do some small tunings right there. Ah, some little details. That's good for D tuning. If you have a few oscillators playing the same same thing our intensity eyes basically gonna morph the, um whatever wave you have going into more of a sine wave kind of roll off the top top harmonics make it more smooth and less intense. As the slider says, um, amped is gonna be amplitude. So basically the volume of the oscillator all right, from this oscillator, the sound is gonna move next to these filters. So what you can do is just pick one try try these filters out. Just put a low pass. Um, a lot of them are gonna have a cut off frequency. That's basically at what frequency is the filter and effect. The Lopez gonna roll off the top end so you can hear the top end coming down. Wars resonance is gonna be a boost at that cut off point. So if you have no resonance, it's gonna be very smooth if you have a high high residents, you're gonna be able to hear the frequency words selected at Wars. Um, residence is gonna be if, for if you have the residents up, it's gonna have a more defined like filter sweep or something like that. If you're, um, putting those on it can have a cool effect. All right, from the filter section is gonna go. The sound is going to go to these effects tabs. So there's a river. Um, most these ey're gonna have this setting a dry, wet, Actually, all are gonna have driveway. I'll discover that, cause it's gonna be similar cause So dry sound is that's the dry sound. What we have going on in here, what sound is gonna be the reverb? So that's just the river plain. Then you can adjust these at the parameters I'm not gonna go into them is there's They're all gonna be different for different effects except for the driveway. So there's that another thing to look at is gonna be this fourth. This blue box fourth envelope is gonna be your global am envelope. So if you come in here if you come into one of these, like one or two or three um, envelope. That's not gonna do anything. It's not gonna adjust the sound at all, which can be confusing at first. So come and look at this 4th 1 That's gonna be if you want to change the attack or decay Attack How quick the sound comes in decay how fast it decays away. Sustained this level or sustained, it's gonna dio where the level sustains. If you hold the note, then release is gonna be how long hangs on. So that's me Just hitting the note once it decays quietly earned slowly away on its own. Um, a few final things to look at are gonna be the master. Volume is right here and then, honestly, for starting off. Um, I would play around with these just these boxes that I showed you. Once again, the signal's gonna start here, move through these filters and then come out these effects. Um, really? You could make some cool sounds just from that you don't. I mean, play around once you get comfortable, but I'll just show you just some simple, um even just with these symbols, as you can see, just playing around with Thea with these parameters and it can have a big effect in the next tutorial actually go into some of the more complex stuff. But just for now, practice with that. And C we can make it. If you find something cool or have any questions, write a comment or shoot me, shoot me a message. Alright, guys, make music peace. 2. Lead: without guys. Um, we just did the signal flow of massive. So these three oscillators filters and effects. So because this is ah, on intro class, I'm just gonna do three quick videos. First one's gonna be ah, lead sound. Second's gonna be a bass sound. 1/3 is gonna be a pad sound. Uh, so this is the lead sound, each different sound. I'm going to use some techniques that deviate from the basic signal flow, and I'll let you know before I do that. But these air Good. I'm not gonna go really deep into him because they can get complex. But if you want to just take a look and play around in there, it's really nice. They're really sweet in the sounds up. So without further delis to a lead sound. So we're just going to use square to saw one. Uh, so that's what you got going? Um, default. It should be just going to just this filter one up here as you'll see these sliders. Um, basically, I'll go through the sliders real quick, so filter one is up. Filter twos down. That's where just this oscillators going. So also the one filter one down filter to in the in the middle is in between, so you can have both of these gun at the same time. Right now, though, we're just going to use one. So next is this slider. We're not gonna worry about that. Um, Then it goes to the effects or the filter. Sorry. So filter one filter to as you'll see filter one, These air filter ones. Volume is up. Filter twos. Volume is down, so it's not doing anything. And also, finally, it's gonna go to mix one and mix, too, and you'll see it's all the way up. It mixed one. So if we put on a filter Mm, we're just gonna hear it through filter one. Now, you'll see if I bring this up. Okay? So look, So there's going in between. So it's both goes to both both volumes. Air turned up. Now, just the mix of this mixing between Teoh you can see both are going. It's the signal is split into two. So if you're sounds like this, um, then you're going through two filters, which it sounds like kind of half the filters going way like you're getting some some filter effects but it's not doing much. So what you're gonna want to do is make sure that, uh, let's just go all the way up. So filter one oscillator. One is set to filter one This sliders down. Um uh, filter one is volume all the way up, filter to volume all the way down and then mixed one is all the way up. All right, so that's, um that's one of the little things that I wanted to go over. Um, so lead sounds gonna be pretty bright. They're gonna be pretty big. So I put a low pass to on which is just, ah, less intense low pass if you if you think about a low pass, is going to roll off the top end. Um, so a low pass four is going to roll it off really hard. It looks like a sharp cliff. And the low pass to is gonna be a gentle cliff so you don't get those as hard of ah Rohloff hub. Ah, that's probably good spot. Uh, so it's it's it's still bright. It's still got those, um, those high harmonics. But it's not piercing and really painful to listen to. So before we go into the effects, I'm going to go to the fourth envelope like we talked about. This is the global envelope. It's gonna be controlling the amp of the whole sound. Uh ah, uh ah. So I'm gonna put a little attacks. That's not so, um, plucky. It's not, doesn't hit and click at the beginning. And then the release, I'm gonna turn up a little bit s so it hangs out a little bit of the and not a ton because I can get a pretty muddy. All right, here's another aside. We're gonna do this really fast is go to this voicing tab right in here. So you click voicing and on this side, it's going to say Paulie, Faan, mon afan and monitor Rotate. So that's polyphonic. Monta Phonic and monitor rotate. So right now, if we play different keys on the keyboard like they roll into each other, we can play chords, and we don't want that for a lead. So you're gonna want to hit Monta Phonic So it only plays one key at a time. Ah, so there you go. Got a little It's got a little port aumento on there. That glide between the notes. So after you've done that, come over to this OSC tab the first tab, and come down to this time. I like the port amount on a little bit on there, but get really, really aggressive, Theo. All right, so their, um that's gonna have a mono phonic. Um, lead sound. Let's put some effects on there to make it make it a little better. Eso just put a river. Um, okay. With effects those those kind of the fun part. So once you have the sound, you know, it's like a quality sound, uh, mess around with ease. Um, I'll try to go into some other ones on the other. I'll go into different ones, but, um, yeah, the effects are kind of the fun part. So play around. Um, we're gonna let's just go with the reverb right now, and I'll show you what. What? Some good settings are so already sounding bigger. Um, so dry wet. 50% is gonna be half and half. That's a lot of reverb. Um, what I usually do is actually increase the side, so that's kind of how long it stays around. So here, let's listen. I like going density is gonna be Ah, yes. Sorry. So dry wit. Pretty low, actually. You know, you look at that. You're like, Well, it's pretty low. Um, but so you need, uh even even that little bit adds a lot size up. So you get that big room sound? Uh, I would increase the density. That's kind of like all the way down here. It sounds more like a echo. Okay, I see here, it kind of has a little like glitches in there, not glitches, but, uh, space I like, really dance for you. It sounds really clean. Um, and then color is gonna be the cut off or that kind of like a filter on the on the reverb. That's really bright. Pretty pretty. Uh, Scott, some high end on there, you can take off the high end, so I usually put it down. Think about reverb is it's gonna wash out the main sound. Ah, pretty fast. If you have all the high end in there and it's it's hard to find, it's just play around with that. You'll find a balance. Um, yeah, I just It's always it's always time. That's what I always always the answer. Um, way do have an eq you at the end here. So, um, low shelf is gonna be Oh, um, boost and frequency. So these air together, these are not separate tabs. Parents separate knobs. Um, in the middle is no boost of this frequency. Um, so this is basically picking the frequency, and then boost is whether you want a boost or cut it. So if you have, this is just in the mid around 1000 uh, hurts. It's really beauty. Oh, yeah. Here. It kind of sounds like a filter. Um, mess around with that. There's the key is really good for dialing it in before you put a sound in the mix. So I usually if it's a leeds, just a little bit of high thing, just kind of like a little bit off the mid range, that low mid. Um, that is a really prominent point in a lot of sense, a lot of a lot of instruments. So s So we're gonna listen to this on and off just cause it's gonna be a, um, subtle difference, but it's important to start training yourself to hear it. All right, so if you hear that little bit. Listen to the high, the high end. So here's off. And then here's on. If you didn't hear anything, that's fine. Just replay that part a little bit. Um, it's that tiny little stuff that is separates like the really great sounds from the average sounds that tiny little. And you don't want to be over here doing this stuff sweet. Well, it sounds all nice and bright. Uh, it does. But you got to remember that it's a balance. You have almost no load like it's overpowering in the high end, and you might think it sounds good. Just thought, But, um, it sound better just to turn it up. And, uh, you know, just to keep the balance pretty even because you'll lose strength in the sound. All right, so that is the lead sound. Um, we're gonna do the base next. Alright, guys, peace out. 3. Bass: All right, guys. What's up? This is gonna be the bass sound. So, um, once again, we're just going to use the square to saw I'm gonna do, Ah, kind of a plucky base, but it's still gonna be, um, Elektronik sounding Obviously, Uh, just so we can learn the filter are the envelope. So what we're gonna do starting off to pitch this down? Ah, So with the bass sound, you want that strong low end. So I would go somewhere, um, kind of get a little bit mixing a little bit of that square, You'll hear that low end comes in stronger. See, that kind of disappears after we do that. A little soft, aggressive on the lower. So somewhere around there, we're gonna use a low pass again. All right, so we're gonna work with this filter. Um, So what I did here is gonna be turned the attack down, So you get that pluck. Um, decay is gonna be how long? So turned the level down. That's what makes it either held note or a pluck note auto, like so pulling down. It's like natural decay. You go down, get pretty pretty weird for that. I keep it. You want to have that initial pluck? Um ah. But you know, it's tryingto trying to balance between having a strong transient, a strong initial sound and keeping that that tight pluck. So, um, you can kind of decide if you want a darker bass sound or a brand new one play around with filter like we did in the last one. We're gonna go make this Monta Phonic. I would turn off the port aumento for pluck. Um, so that's gonna be your basic bass sound for most most bases. What we're gonna do now is put on some, um, some tube, Dr. So what I like to do is actually turn the dry wet all the way up and drive all the way up so you can hear just the drive completely like very aggressive it, like kind of chops it. It muddies the whole thing up with distortion, which is too much. So that's pretty weak. It's going to start going into the decay so somewhere, like in there, where it gives it that punch. But it's not going into the decay. And here ago bought the whole time. That's right, Tick, tick like that so once again, small difference. But really, when you put all these small things together, it's gonna come out real nice. So we're actually gonna put two effects on this? Um, the dimension expander. It kind of gives everything a stereo stereo feel, which is really nice for these bases because a lot of bases get sounding kind of mono, and it's hard to get them big. And you want a big base. So drop it down. These don't have these knobs. That's what is so don't even worry about that. So I put it up there. Here, that ready. It sounds bigger. It's got that stereo feel. That's really boring. I really like this effect. Um, you can so size here. Makes it kind of like a slap back delay. Um, it sounds kind of cool it on bases. It can get kind of money. I usually keep it pretty. Eat minimal toe off completely. Um, so that's gonna be your basic bass sound. Um, give a little low, low boost like the last sound. Um, that that 409 100 hurts can get a little annoying. So, like here, this, uh, this little bit of eq you really changed the sound. So let's listen. Here's without e que. Okay. Now with you. So it's like, um kind of like this The mid range. Listen to that mid range. Ah, you cannot hear it, like, grab groaning a little bit and then listen to that middle part so you can hear It's kind of it's it's smoother. The whole thing sounds more balanced, so that's what you're gonna be doing. All right, so that is a quick, just a pluck base. Last one, we're gonna do a pad sound, so see that? 4. Pad: What's up, guys? This is the, um, pad tutorial. So we looked at the lead in the base, and then there's gonna be a final one. Just a simple pad sound. So we're gonna use a different wave table, so if we listen real quick Ah ah. Saw wave is gonna be probably the most aggressive way we have. It's got all those high harmonics. It's got everything going. So what we're gonna do is pick a softer one. The additive waves are very soft and get for pads. You, um so I like this one right here. As you can hear, it blew the the main sound sounds kind like a sine wave that very soft who sound just on the key. And then there is that high ringing sound. If you hear If you listen to the top end who sounds kind of glassy Um, that's really nice. Nice and soft for the, um, for the pads and we're using. So let's go to the filter envelope The four way. Do so for a pad. If you're gonna be slowed evolving, loathe the attack, release up a little bit. Um, we can actually dio you want a little bit of decay on their. I usually like to put that on the filters, but because is gonna be interest stuff used, do it on their, um, next tutorial will go into, like, routing thes envelopes. Two parameters on the on all of these. That's what these boxes are. But for now, just dio with this fourth envelope, do you get good at it? Let's put a U s. Just a little bit on there. A low pass, a little bit. Mm. It's it's not very harsh. You could probably do without it, But you kind of think about everything in the mix. Everything is gonna have its own spot. And what spot do you want this to feel? Usually? Usually a pad like this is going to be kind of lower. Who involving kind of haunting those. So I like to keep high end off. Um, we're gonna do a couple stuff, couple effects here. So we're gonna look at the chorus effect. Um, rate is gonna be so so here. That so the signals kind of like bending. It's going like a pitch bend. So death is how deep it's gonna bed. Great. Yeah. Fast offset is gonna be, like, kind of the delay on it. So you can play with that e don't do a lot of death on there. Just a little bit helps. Kind of slow rate. Um, so yeah, course is gonna be kind of giving a little bit of stereo. And then given that banding like evolving sound, which is really nice, And then on top of that, we're gonna throw a reverb. Do you get pretty aggressive with the reverb on the pad? Because there's not a solid, like transient it slow and evolving in the reverb is perfect for that. That's what The river. Uh, really, it really comes out when using this this pad sound. So go go nuts with it. Um, play around. Um, we'll put a little bit of eq you on this way. We owe, um, a little bit if you hear this right here. So I za Pekka resident peak in this where you'll hear that? That frequency, when I boost it is really loud. Those are good places to cut, even sound out. So you can even go pretty far with that. Yeah, like it clears it up a little bit. You? Yes. That's gonna be a noise. A noisy key for that, um, one last thing that will look at on this pad. Uh, there's gonna be a little aside is going to come down to this noise oscillator. Well, just gonna put some bright noise on there, play with these different types of noise. They're really cool. They have a lot of really cool ones and massive. Um uh, sounds like like whispers on the top. You don't want too much gonna cover little sound, which is a little bit way. Uh, it's got It's nice. The additive has that high frequency is gonna come out as, like, a glassy kind of top end, which is really cool. So, um, that's gonna be quick pad play around with all these. Um, next tutorial will go into mawr. Um, some more complex stuff like these envelopes routing them, we'll get some some cool, evolving pads and some cool leads. And basically, um, well, just revisit these sounds in a little more complex way, so keep practicing. Uh, it just takes time. That's what it does. All right. Peace. Our guys