Use Controlled Randomization For Synth Sound Designing

Use Controlled Randomization For Synth Sound Designing

Randomizing synth parameters is a great start for some really unique, never-thought-of-setting-my-synth-like-this-before -sounds. It’s a good source of inspiration and you can then fine-tune the parameters furthermore by hand to make things sound exactly the way you want.

With that said,  I want to introduce a free tool that has a couple of cool randomization features which you might find useful in your synth sound design tasks.

The tool I’m talking about is called “Cantabile Lite”. It’s a free VST host by Topten Software and you can download it from their website.

Now, the thing what makes Cantabile Lite useful for sound designing is its controllable plugin parameter randomization options. Let me show how to use it.

First, after Cantabile Lite is loaded, choose a plugin from your VST collection (I’m using Diva by U-he as a example synth.)

Choose A Plugin

Once the plugin is loaded, the randomization / morphing tools can be found under the ‘gearwheel’ -icon.

Open The Randomization Tools

The slider sets the randomization amount…

Randomization Amount Slider

…and ‘Randomize’ -button will randomize all the plugin parameters.

Randomize Button

Of course, randomization will produce a lot of unusable sounds and noise, but it’s also a great source for some ‘out of this world’ -sounds if you are patient…

TIP #1: modify ready made presets by using only a small amount of randomization (something like +/-5%). This alters the parameters only a little, but can make the original sound widely different while still preserving the (almost) instant usability.

You can also select which parameters you would like to randomize and which not. Click on the ‘Select parameters’ -icon to open the list of parameters.

Parameters List

By default, every parameter is selected and will get randomized. Now, click on any knob / slider / button (or move it a little) on your synth and it will get ‘activated’ in the parameters list (this way you can see which parameter is which). Then you can tick the box to select / un-select it.

Move A Knob

Most synths has a master volume controller. It’s a good idea to un-select it from the parameters list so that it wont get randomized. This is to avoid those loud surprises when the volume knob occasionally gets randomized to a maximum level.

TIP #2: choose only a specific section of parameters to be randomized – effects section (if your synth has one) for example – and de-select the rest.

There’s also a back and forth buttons so you can quickly recall previous states or jump forward to the current state.

Back And Forth Buttons

The ‘Animate’ switch turns on automatic randomization. And with the speed slider you can set the intervals between the randomizations. When you find something useful, stop the automatic randomization by switching off the ‘Animation’.

Animate Switch And The Speed

Under the ‘File’ you can save your patches as .FXP files by choosing ‘Save program as…’.

Save Patches

That’s about it. Remember to select your audio driver after you have installed the Cantabile Lite:

Select Audio Driver

And also, select your default VST plugins folder and do a full scan so that Cantabile can find all your plugins:

Select Your VST Plugins Folder And Do A Scan

One more thing: if you don’t have a MIDI keyboard, you can use your computer keyboard to play notes by enabling the ‘Capture PC Keys’:

Use PC Keys To Play Notes

The end! 😎

Watch the video version below:


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  1. thanks a lot petri,

    somehow i dont get a sound out 🙁

    omnisphere doesnt seem to work with this program though.

  2. Wow…nice finding. I was able to randomize some very interesting sounds from Toxic Biohazard. Too bad it won’t load Sytrus. Also Synth1 puts out some very interesting sounds 😀

  3. ManoloMG on

    Thank you very much Petri. I’ve been experimenting with Zeta + 2 and I think that I’m going to do a soundbank.

    Is incredible the kind of presets that you discover. Is fantastic

  4. Erick McNerney on

    Great advice. I’ve discovered this as well. Wonderful on certain vst. I’m keeping that part a secret 😉

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