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electronic MUSICIAN

How To Blend Synth Tracks in the Studio

August 21, 2013

PSP Audioware’s PSP 608 is a multitap delay with eight taps; it’s a fine “construction kit” for creating short, tight reflections within a virtual room.
I PLAY IN A METAL BAND (TWO GUITARS, BASS, DRUMS) AND WE’VE RECENTLY ADDED A SYNTH PLAYER. SHE PLAYS MOSTLY HARDCORE, RIPPING SOUNDS ON A CASIO XW-P1 DIGITAL SYNTH, NOT SAMPLES OF REGULAR INSTRUMENTS. SHE’S GREAT LIVE, BUT IN THE STUDIO, THE SYNTH DOESN’T GEL WITH THE OTHER PARTS. WOULD A MORE EXPENSIVE SYNTH HELP?

JOHNNIE JACKSON
PHOENIX, AZ
VIA EMAIL


Probably not, so before you check out a different synth, try two techniques. First, synths tend to have more high-frequency energy than guitar, bass, and vocals. Sometimes just trimming the highs a bit will help a synth fit better in a track. Second, if you’re recording the synth direct but the other instruments with mics, the synth will sound more “up front” because it won’t have any room ambience. Try plugging the synth into a relatively clean amp (like a Fender Twin) and recording it with a mic, similarly to how you record the guitars. If an amp doesn’t give the sound you want, with a direct-recorded track add several short, low-level delays to provide a bit more “air.” Prime-number delays (e.g., 13ms, 17ms, 19ms, and 23ms) usually work best because they won’t create unnatural resonances. Also, several amp sims offer an “air” parameter, and reverbs often include “ambience” settings with delays much shorter than those used for reverb—give them a try, too.

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