How To Create A Saw Wave Lead Pad With 3xOsc

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How To Create A Saw Wave Lead Pad With 3xOsc

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a nice and shiny saw wave lead pad by layering two units of 3xOsc’s together. But first, here’s an audio preview of what I’m talking about:


[audio:http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/audio/Saw-Wave-Lead-Pad-Example-Sound.mp3]

Ok. This is how you re-create the sound.

1. Load 3xOsc and program it like this:

  • Choose Saw as the oscillator shape for Osc 1 & Osc 2 and Noise for Osc 3
  • Set Osc 1 & Osc 2 Coarse Tune to 0 Semitones and Osc 3 to -24 semitones
  • Set Osc 1 Fine Tune to -10 Cents and Osc 2 Fine Tune to +12 Cents
  • Set Osc 3 (Noise) Mix Level to 10%
  • Set Osc 1 Stereo Detune (SD) to +5 cents

3xOsc Settings For Saw Wave Pad

With settings like this, we’ll get a basic detuned saw lead sound.

The Noise is there to make it sound a bit more “gritty” and organic. Keep the noise mix level fairly low though because if there’s too much of it, it just sounds bad.

Stereo Detune widens the stereo image nicely.

Moving on.

2. Head to the Instrument Properties (INS) -tab and from there to VOL, enable the envelope by clicking the button and edit the envelope like this:

3xOsc Envelope Settings For Saw Wave Pad

Short Attack time and slower Release time shapes the sound to a lead -style with a pad -like feel.

Next, we’ll add another instance of 3xOsc to layer two more oscillators for more richer timbre. Its best to use cloning as we are going to use the exact same envelope settings as with the first instance of 3xOsc and cloning retains the instrument type of the original, as well as all of its settings (including envelope settings).

So:

3. Clone the first instance of 3xOsc and that is done by right clicking on the 3xOsc Channel -box (in the Step Sequencer) and choose ‘Clone’ from the menu.

Clone 3xOsc Channel

Open the 3xOsc #2 and program it like this:

  • Rounded Saw as the shape for Osc 1 & Osc 2
  • Osc 1 Coarse Tune to 0 Semitones
  • Osc 2 Coarse Tune to -12 Semitones
  • Osc 3 Mix level to 0 (we don’t need the third oscillator for this exact sound example)

Second 3xOsc Settings For Saw Wave Pad

Next, we’ll layer these two units of 3xOsc’s together and for that we use Layer Channel.

4. Add a Layer Channel to the project and set the two units of 3xOsc as “Children”. That is done by first opening the Layer Channel and then right-clicking the channel selectors (in the Step Sequencer) of 3xOsc & 3xOsc #2 so that they turn green and then click on ‘Set children’ in the Layer Channel.

Layer 3xOscs

Now you can play both 3xOsc units at once using the Layer channel, like a single instrument.

Next, adjust the Channel volume level of 3xOsc #2 to -10dB (59%) to make it blend nicely with the other 3xOsc synth.

(Basically, with layering you can chain unlimited amounts of 3xOsc’s together (or anything in that matter) and when you use different oscillator shapes and tuning settings you can create very rich sounding leads and pads. For example, if you want more bottom end to the pad, try layering and additional 3xOsc with a Sinewave and set the Coarse Tune to something like -12 or -24 Semitones).

Ok. Next, couple of effects for some color.

5. Assign both units of 3xOsc’s to a free mixer track and drop a following set of effects to its effect slot: Fruity Flanger, Fruity Reeverb, Fruity Filter, Fruity Delay 2 and Fruity Parametric EQ 2.

First, set the Fruity Flanger like this:

Fruity Flanger Settings For Saw Wave Pad

This kind of flanger adds more depth & color to the sound… its like vibration.

Next, Fruity Reeverb for some sense of space.

Fruity Reeverb Settings For Saw Wave Pad

Fruity Filter is needed for filter sweeps. Set it like this and tweak/automate the Cutoff freq -knob for the sweeps:

Fruity Filter Settings For Saw Wave Pad

Next, Fruity Delay 2 for even more added stereo depth and “dense”:

Fruity Delay 2 Settings For Saw Wave Pad

And finally, PEQ2 for boosting the highs for some sparkle. I also used low shelf filter to cut the low frequencies, though in this particular sound there’s not much “life” below 100Hz, but it comes useful if you layer more oscillators (especially sine waves) and play low notes as it may start to interfere with your bassline…

For boosting highs I’m using High Shelf Filter.

Fruity PEQ2 Settings For Saw Wave Pad

Alright, that’s about it. Feel free to experiment with the 3xOsc and/or effect settings for even more interesting leads/pads.

I hope you found this sound useful!

Watch the video below and download the FL Studio project file:

Download Saw Wave Lead Pad FL Studio Project File

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38 Comments

  1. james nigh on

    what instrument are you using?
    i have about a hundred UNDER 3x OSC, but not one PARTICULARLY CALLED 3x OSC…

  2. Max Golovanov on

    Nice tutorial, Petri! Very informative as usual!

    I’ve just caught myself on idea that this could help me a lot in my try to recreate that famous lead of Swedish House Mafia in their track “One” – I think that they used many detuned saw/square waves merged together in one channel with post FX ๐Ÿ™‚ Let’s try!

  3. CtrlKnob on

    Very great and useful tutorial! I used the sound with some midis from a pack, its really uplifting!
    Thank you again!

  4. Tanner Buffy on

    At the end of the video, is there a way to apply the increase of the cutoff frequency automatically and put it into the playlist without having to do it manually everytime you reply the track?
    Thanks

    • Hey Tanner,

      Sure thing, just create an automation clip for the Cutoff knob and draw a rising envelope.

      You can create automation clip by right clicking the knob and choosing “Create automation clip” from the menu.

    • Thank you Cole, though I have to say that I know stuff only on limited subjects and via trial & error, but I try my best to share what I discover 8)

  5. Amir Shah on

    Hi Petri,
    Really like your work specially this one!
    I gonna upload a song in SoundCloud including this Saw lead pad from your tutorial
    so i’ve got your permission right ?

    P.s.: Sry for poor english.

  6. Xianyu Zhang on

    Hello, I very like your tutorial. I have a question about your mixing process. In your video, I noticed that most of tutorials you adjust the parameter very carefully to a accurate value. Is there any personal reason that you have to adjust the parameter to such a accurate value such as knoke the flanger’s delay value to 0.228758. If not we can’t get that particular sound effects, or it doesn’t matter if the parameter adjust to the exactly value you did in your video. I am wondering if those values are all your personal experience? Do we have to remember those values? or we just need to try.

  7. Steven Mckeever on

    Hi, I followed the tutorial but I was really wondering what notes you used to make the lead.

  8. This tutorial is incredible. Thanks a lot, I didn’t know how powerful is FL Studio!

  9. kittycat on

    I’ve followed your instructions step by step and I’m getting a very different sound (like a different instrument). any ideas why this is happening? =(
    I’m suspecting that the first and second osc’s are not combined (it sounds the same when I click on Layer as when I click on the first Osc) although I followed your instructions perfectly. an yes, a total beginner here.

    • Thanks for checking it!

      I’m using following notes:

      First bar: C5 – A4 – F4 – F3 – F2

      Second bar: G4 – E4 – C4 – C3 – C2 | A4 – F4 – D4 – D3 – D2

      Third bar: (same as first bar)

      Fourth bar: E5 – C5 – A4 – A3 – A2 | D5 – B4 – G4 – G3 – G2

      Fifth bar: (same as first bar)

      Sixth bar: (same as second bar)

      Seventh bar: (same as first and third bar)

      Eighth bar: E5 – C5 – A4 – A3 – A2 | G5 – E5 – C5 – C4 – C3

      You can also download the score in here:

      http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/downloads/Saw-Wave-Lead-Pad-Score.fsc

  10. man , thanks for all the detailed work. i am learning so much from your site..
    ive been wondering, how do you know how to set all the semitones and cents in the oscilators ?
    what is the methods or guidelines to for an harmonice sound ?

  11. how did u modulate the sound it seems as if there is a cutoff in the beggining then it gets higher how did u do that?

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