Sound Design Tutorial

Synthwave Sound Design Explained®

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20 Videos | Length: 2hr 3min 32sec
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Chapter 1 : Synthwave Bass Design

  • image description 9:45

    Outrun Bass Pt. 1

    This video introduces the course and shows how to make a common found synthwave bass stab patch using Serum.

  • image description 5:33

    Outrun Bass Pt. 2

    This videos continues where part one left off, and also shows how to make Serum sound similar to a vintage synthesizer though some creative modulation.

  • image description 7:31

    Juno Stab Bass Pt. 1

    Thomas shows how to make a multi-layered resonant bass using the TAL-U-No-LX plugin, which models a Juno 106 synthesizer. By splitting the patch into multiple layers it gives you additional control over the mix and end result of the bass.

  • image description 5:03

    Juno Stab Bass Pt. 2

    Thomas picks up where he left off in the last video with the Juno Stab Bass.

Chapter 2 : Synthwave Chord Design

  • image description 6:01

    Brass Stab Chords Pt. 1

    In this video, see how to use the u-he Re-Pro5 synthesizer to create a bright chord stab perfect for a synthwave track.

  • image description 6:48

    Brass Stab Chords Pt. 2

    Thomas continues creating the brass stab chord and shows how to use the Tweaks Tab on the plug-in to create fine tuning adjustments to give the synth a more classic sound.

  • image description 5:13

    Juno 106 Chords Pt. 1

    Watch how to uses the TAL-U-No-LX plug-in to create a lush sounding synthwave chord patch.

  • image description 4:48

    Juno 106 Chords Pt. 2

    Thomas picks up where he left off while creating the Juno 106 chords and shows how the subtle modulation controls on the synth can be used to create interesting sounding chord layers.

  • image description 5:45

    Lush Pad Pt. 1

    While vintage emulations of classic synthesizers are great for synthwave, Serum is also very capable when it comes to synthwave sound design.

  • image description 7:16

    Lush Pad Pt. 2

    Learn how the Oscillator Unison controls can be used to create a simple but lush sounding pad for your synthwave tracks.

  • image description 7:55

    DX7 Saw Keys Pt. 1

    The legendary Yamaha DX7 synthesizer is found in many 80's and modern synthwave tracks. In this tutorial learn how the Arturia DX7 V plug-in can be used to create a classic textured saw wave chord patch, perfect for the synth wave genre.

  • image description 5:48

    DX7 Saw Keys Pt. 2

    Thomas continues creating a classic textured saw wave chord patch.

  • image description 6:55

    Modulated Pad Pt. 1

    See how a simple pad sound created with u-he's Diva can be transformed by creative use of frequency modulation, which produces a nostalgic sound that has an interesting texture.

  • image description 3:52

    Modulated Pad Pt. 2

    We continue creating a modulated pad with u-he's Diva.

Chapter 3 : Synthwave Lead Design

  • image description 7:33

    Vibrato Lead Pt. 1

    Explore how to create an 80's inspired lead sound with Serum that utilizes modulation to create a swirling vibrato effect that adds that signature 80's flavor found in a lot of synthwave tracks.

  • image description 5:17

    Vibrato Lead Pt. 2

    Thomas continues creating a vibrato lead using Serum.

  • image description 5:21

    Juno Arp Pt. 1

    Arpeggios are a key element found in synthwave tracks and here you'll watch how to make a Juno 106 inspired arp patch using the lovely TAL-U-No-LX.

  • image description 4:32

    Juno Arp Pt. 2

    Thomas picks up where he left off creating a Juno 106 inspired arp patch using the lovely TAL-U-No-LX.

  • image description 7:35

    Outrun Arp Pt. 1

    Last but not least, Thomas shows you how to use Serum to create a way cool 80's sounding arpeggio patch that uses pulse width modulation to add in an undulating phasing tone usually found on vintage synthesizers.

  • image description 5:01

    Outrun Arp Pt. 2

    In this final video, Thomas continues working in Serum to create an 80's sounding arpeggio patch that uses pulse width modulation.

Product Overview


Synthesizer pro Thomas Cochran brings you synthwave sound design video tutorials! See step by step how to make sounds from scratch that define this hugely popular genre. In these videos Thomas uses some of the best 3rd party virtual instruments available, which are the go-to's for creating these sounds, and are used by many of today's serious synthwave sound designers and producers. This series is for those who have a basic understanding of synth sound design and want to focus on understanding and creating the sounds found in synthwave music.

The virtual instruments and effects used throughout the videos are:

Xfer Records Serum

TAL Software TAL-U-NO-LX

u-he Diva

u-he Repro 5

Arturia DX7 V

Ableton Live Built-In Effects

Fab Filter Pro-Q 2

Fab Filter Pro-R

Waves H-Delay

Fab Filter Saturn

The final patches made for their respective synths in the videos are also included via the course extras download link.

Starting off Thomas welcomes you and introduces the course and discusses the genre and the sounds that define it. He then shows you how to make staple synthwave bass sounds such as an Outrun Bass preset using Serum, and a Juno Stab Bass patch using TAL-U-No-LX. You also get tips like how to make Serum sound similar to a vintage synthesizer though the use of creative modulation.

Next it's onto the chord sounds found in synthwave, and Thomas demonstrates how to craft a powerful Brass Stab Chords preset, an instantly recognizable Juno-106 Chords patch, Lush and Modulated Pad presets, and a DX7 Saw Keys patch that will teleport you right back to the '80s.

Lead sounds are up next and you'll see the steps to make a way cool Vibrato Lead patch, a classic Juno Arp preset, and last but not least, an Outrun Arp preset that has the '80s written all over it. Throughout the video tutorials you'll also get great tips and tricks for designing sounds, and much of the info can be applied to any synth, real or virtual.

To see what these in-depth synthwave sound design tutorials show you, and how they'll take your sound back to the '80s, see the individual synthwave sound design video tutorial descriptions on this page. Learn to understand how these types of sounds are made, and then you can create your own killer synthwave tracks... Watch "Synthwave Sound Design Explained®" today.


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Thomas Cochran electronic musician and multi instrumentalist from Austin Texas, who now lives in Los Angeles. He focuses on creating electronic music that features both ambient and classical influences.

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I started playing music at a young age, starting with classical guitar. This started my love for music and eventually expanded into learning other instruments as well. To date, I have had over ten years of classical experience and training as well as additional instrumental experience.

2. What training have you had?

I grew up studying classical guitar and composition and eventually started applying my classical knowledge to learning other instruments as well, ranging from violin, cello, keys, and drums.

3. When did you get intro recording?

I got into recording out of necessity when me and some friends started a band back in high school and couldn't afford studio time. Through this, I learned about music production and recording and haven't looked back since.

4. Why are you so good at training people?

I love learning about the technical aspects of music production, this helps me understand the how music production works under the hood. I have also worked for several years creating music production tutorials online.

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    Ableton Live: Things You Need to Know

    Thomas Cochran presents essential Ableton Live video tutorials! Discover the things you need to know when using Ableton Live, such as cool tip & tricks, workflows, helpful and creative ways to Sequence MIDI, use effects, mix and more! These videos are for those who already have experience with Ableton Live, but want to learn more and improve their skillset.

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    Dark Synthwave Sound Design Explained

    Synthesizer wiz Thomas Cochran brings detailed you dark synthwave sound design video tutorials! See step by step how to make sounds from scratch that define this popular genre. In these videos Thomas uses some great 3rd party virtual instruments like TAL-U-No-LX, Serum, Korg Mono/Poly and u-he Diva, but you can apply the info to any comparable virtual or hardware synth. This series is for those who have a basic understanding of synth sound design and want to focus on understanding and creating the sounds found in dark synthwave music.

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