Posted March 20, 2019, 12:51 p.m.
Europa is an infinitely powerful spectral wavetable synthesizer packed with over 500 professional-sounding patches. But sometimes a song calls for a truly one-of-a-kind sound. Making your own synth patches can be complicated, but Europa’s intuitive interface makes it easier than ever to make your own synth sounds.
In this synth patch tutorial, you’ll learn about synth sound design from Adam Fielding as he demonstrates how he created his “Windwave” patch in Europa, available for free at FieldingSoundWorks.com.
At the heart of Europa are three powerful spectral wave engines capable of creating complex soundscapes. When designing the Windwave patch, Adam used all three engines to create different sonic layers. Each engine features over 30 wavetables including traditional analog shapes and complex waveforms that respond to your performance. Or load your own samples as custom wavetables and create sounds unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.
Here are some of Europa’s powerful tools that Adam used to create Windwave and other synth patches:
Europa features four versatile envelopes, three LFOs, and an advanced Modulation Matrix for tweaking just about any parameter you can imagine. Add a sense of movement to your patches by morphing between wavetables. Create chords from a single key using shifting harmonics. In Windwave, Adam used an LFO to modulate the pitch drift parameter for a natural, organic sound.
Choose from 24 classic analog modeled filters to shape your tone. Or use the advanced Spectral Filter for sound processing that most filters only dream of. Load your own samples as custom filters for far-out effects. You can even modulate the cutoff point to open and close the filter, making tracks brighter or darker over time.
Make your synths sound larger than life with the Unison module. Use the count control to add depth with subtle doubling effects. Increase the stereo width with the spread knob. Fatten up patches with subharmonic frequencies in octave down mode. Adam mades great use of the Unison module when designing the Windwave patch.
Polish your tracks to perfection using the built-in effects rack. Tweak your tone with the parametric EQ module. Add punch to your plucks or sustain to your pads with the compressor. Create space and depth with the reverb, delay and phaser modules. Or mangle your sound with six different kinds of distortion.
Behind the Windwave Patch
When designing the Windwave patch, Adam combined all three oscillators, multiple modifiers, and advanced signal processing to create an ambient, atmospheric soundscape.
Engine 1 uses the Robot Ramp wave with harmonics modifiers and Unison detuning to create a shifting fifth chord with a soft, glassy texture. To compliment this layer, engine 2 uses a chaotic-sounding transformer wavetable to create a breathy sound that spans across three octaves. Engine 3 uses a simple saw-triangle wave with the Unison module in octave-down mode to deliver a powerful low-end, filling out the frequency spectrum.
Now that you know the basics of how to design synth sounds in Reason, it’s time to start creating your own custom patches!