How To Make - Synthwave with Bluffmunkey / 1454

Synthwave with Bluffmunkey

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Kicking off our Synthwave Event in style, we welcome back Bluffmunkey for a new How To Make Synthwave course!

Over these eleven videos, he covers all the basics in fine detail to help create your very own track in this increasingly popular genre. From percussive elements, including the vital gated reverb snare and the classic synth sounds involved, to structure, vocal processing techniques, and effects and transitions used - this is a course you’re not going to want to miss. Look no further if you’re looking to get that eighties sound that’ll conjure images if neon sunsets, wire graphics and shiny fast cars.

We’ve also made sure this course is accessible for all abilities using just three third-party plugins - ANA 2, Kick 2, and the free TAL Chorus, so anyone can grab a free trial of Ableton along with the demos of our plugins and open the project to follow along.

You can check out this playlist by Bluffmunkey which was used for inspiration too! - Synthwave Spotify Playlist


To celebrate this event we’re hosting a brand new Remix Competition where you can use your newfound skills and make your very own version of this track with some incredible and exclusive prizes up for grabs!

Find out more by clicking on the ‘REMIX COMPETITION’ tab above!

Competition ends 24/06/2022 - 23:59 PT

Throughout this event we’ll chatting with you guys and answering any questions both in the comments section here and over on our dedicated forums page here!

Ableton has sooo good plugins.

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Great course as always! I value Bluffmonkey’s historical perspective of synthwave. And his ear as a sound designer. It really puts things in context. Having grown up with Moogs, DX7, SQ-80, D50s, M1, Kurz K2000, it’s great to see the sounds of these synths venerated by newer producers. But coming back to in now, I really enjoy everything being in the box. So much less room and patch cables needed ;-).

Great course. Goes to show that good synthwave (and music in general) can be simple and effective. Also, great results can be achieved with stock plugins, no need to break the bank and get all the analog emulations of vintage hardware if you don’t want to. Thanks very much for this course SA!

That was an interesting watch! Thanks for putting this course together!

Very nice course, it was extremely informative.

Really good tutorial, super clear and fun to follow.

Two questions regarding the lead guitar video.

  1. Can someone clarify how he achieved the vibrato effect with ANA’s mod wheel? He set the mod wheel to modulate “depth”. What is “depth”? Is it the same as pitch. And how can I achieve that effect in other software synths like Serum and Nexus?

  2. Can someone summarize how he achieved that guitar tone? I loved the tone. It’s quite distinct from what I get my way, which would be running random sounds through Guitar Rig. Was the sound mostly produced by the type of distortion he used or was it more about the oscillators? He made a comment about how the filter’s setting was affecting the output, but I didn’t understand that comment either.

Thank you in advance for any comments.

Also, in the mastering video, why did he crank the glue compressor’s makeup gain to give more signal to the limiter when he could hav e alternatively just boosted the limiter’s gain?

  1. Within ANA2 I set an LFO to modulate the pitch of the oscillator, but kept the LFO depth at zero (effectively no modulation). Then I set the modwheel to apply depth (amount) to that LFO so it starts acting on the pitch of the oscillators. You can do the same in almost any other plugin, but probably not Nexus as it has no mod matrix?

  2. The guitar tone was mostly achieved using ANA2’s built in amp and cab simulations.

No reason other than ‘just because’. I often habitually push Glue a bit because of the soft limiter, but you can do it either way. Live’s limiter is a bit harsh and brutal so I tend not to lean on it too much. I use it more as an aggressive peak catcher than a true limiting tool.

Thank you so much for the responses, Bluffmunkey!

I am using a slightly older version of Ableton. Any change the tutorial-project will be uploaded in Ableton 10 format as well?

I’m afraid not unfortunately.

The Project File and resources are provided from the original tutor’s session and there’s no way to save or convert the project file from Live 11 to Live 10 I’m afraid, that will require to recreate the all Project from scratch using Live 10. The same compatibility issue also exist between Live 10.1 and older Live 10 versions BTW.

Jeff, what you can do is install the Live 11 Suite trial from Ableton which is fully functional for 90 days.

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Solid tutorial! Curious how you might approach making the bass synth in say an Ableton synth or something like Serum?


Great course! The Prodigy track you mentioned in video 6 is Firestarter. The sound used in the breakdown is preset B00 Space Adventure from the Korg Prophecy, one of my fav 90s synth.

Accuracy confirmed…

It’s possible your remix ‘may’ have been one of my favourites… :wink:

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@Bluffmunkey Just got through the vocals video. Did you manage to get a hold of the vocal chain that the vocalist used for their vocal stems? Would LOVE to know that information. :slight_smile:

I think it’s a TLM 103 just straight in to the interface.

I’ll double check that’s what he’s still using

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