Get Your Own Sound Signature - Written by TeKiNovah

Get Your Own Sound Signature

Written by Tekinovah


Nowadays requested skills for an electronic musician are a bit overwhelming. Designing your own sounds (Sound Synthesis) gives the opportunity to get our own sound signature. It helps a lot for the Mixing if you design « in the context » (meaning compared to the other tracks) it’s position better the sounds in the spectrum.

As far as i can say, it represent a certain amount of time to invest to understand Sound Synthesis. Because there’s not one type of Synthesis and it’s grow up with the progress made in this field other the years. The clever ones who have a teacher will make a tremendous time saving because the teacher will know regarding the music genre what’s type of sound synthesis works the best.

Now it depends also how you value « your own music ». We’re in an Era of impatience, time is money and all people wants to reach their goals as fast as possible. Time flies and we all know that ! That’s why people tend to use soundbanks, expansions of presets design by sound-designers and also in the sample area : collection of samples.

In my own regard in term of valuing my music i develop a strategy in that matter.

I heard so many stories regarding copyright with sampling in this decade and decided we’re not in the sampling era anymore. Expecially with recent copyright infringment algorythm who detect anything in use. Then, i’m not a huge fan of taking primary or very important parts. If i have not the feeling to be the creator of my primary parts i feel more to make a dj work instead a producer work (without critizing the dj work, because i’m a dj too).

My strategy

So what’s my strategy regarding the use of 3rd parties material, it’s really simple. I try to not use more than 30% of 3rd parties presets or samples for each track. 70% is from me (heavily rely on drum programming, chord progressions, sound synthesis and experiment, but it’s not a course here) and i feel comfortable with that ratio (more or less in the numbers of course).

I remember one time, i found a loop and i really like it but there’s too much inside it. I manage to build the beat to suit the loop but i remember if i mute the loop, there’s no longer a track i have. So i let the idea goes. Even if i really like the basic idea of it.

When you establish your own main parts and the 3rd parties elements are secondary it’s easier to get comfortable with it, depending how you value your music and what you really make inside of it by yourself. I must admit there’s a part of subjectivity here. But buying collection of samples, presets, midifiles and only arrange it in a daw, it sounds like playing a puzzle game to me. And as music is important to me i don’t like this idea, i feel that i have to produce something from my heart, at least this 70% i’m talking about.

I’m perfectly comfortable with one-shots and sampler program. As it’s sounds like to me as a Drum Machine or a Synth we’ve just custom to suit our taste.

But with Loops, it’s another thing. I tend to not use Bass line, Synth parts, Chord Progressions except for inspiration. From that perspective i can recreate it and made adjustments to it. But quite franckly it’s very rare i go that way.

Also, the loops if not delivered with variations lock you up. Stuck in the loop syndrome! remember? that’s part of it …

I really like therefore when Loops are related to groove we can inject in our music. Let’s say you’re not good at rhythm and you can’t pay a instrumentist to play percussions you have in mind, here i think, sample collections are a great opportunity to add value to your music.

Voices can work too the same way, but it’s very hard to find something you like. Something not too cheesy ! i would say. So if you know a soul woman singers or a man with a a super duper dark voice, prefer this road really and record them. You will not regret it, and your tune will be very personnal trust me. Because that’s also a cons when it comes to sample collection, if you can buy it : everyone can !

Coming back to the main topic

Sound Synthesis can help to modify Sample collection and to make more your own. Don’t forget processing ! Like vocoder on a beat, Granular or Spectral synthesis to experiment and take 3rd parties sample materials to a next level. Then there’s no shame at all as it’s unrecognizable and it’s completely became your own results.

Try to find little gems like TC-11 on iPad or Borderland Granular and record the results for further processing… don’t forget to use it for what’s it’s design first : touch controls and playing :wink:

As a VST to me the one who’s the most close to Borderland Granular is The Mangler but there’s quite a few capable as well…

Extract Stems from the only Loop you have

Technology made great progress also in the stems separation. Today there’s tools to take a loop and decompose it in frequencies with very advanced algorhythm. You end up, with some efforts, with 3, 4, 5 or 6 extractions by nature and you can choose to not use all, or processed it independently. You can really end up with something very personal.

It will also help in the arrangement - building of the track, as it’s another cons of Sample Collections. When you don’t have separated tracks and want to use a loop wich reprensented a Beat and a Texture together for example. What you can do with it in terms of arrangement, except with some advanced sample techniques like slicing, converting as midi, you will not be able to get out this part if it suck the listener mind. Because when you drop it, the track seem to fall and it miss something…

Accusonus Regroover Pro, is for me a tool that i can not live without it. It’s not usually works regarding what you have in mind. But depending on your goals and experiments, you can succeed or find new interesting parts. Like weird things or textures, and of course you can processed it further by experimenting with other VST effects.

Fast Processing and Experiments

By choosing the good tools you can save time !There’s way to get satisfying results with some clever VST effects. Pay attention, therefore it can be time consuming as you don’t know what’s you’re looking for as an end results. But throwing things through some Effects Processors can give you interesting results or even better inspire you something precise !

I remember a very nice plugin from Native Instruments, nope it’s not Reaktor ! It’s Kore 2 ! They sale expansions with it and their attempts with Processing packs was very top notch. Speaking about Kore Sounds « Deep Transformations », « Deep Freq » and « Deep Reconstructions ». Throw one shots through it or loops and sometimes you will end up with something unrecognizable, usable or better very inspiring.

Another interesting things from Kore 2 was the possibility to build multi-sounds. Of course, that’s not new at all, in fact, in a lot of hardware synths you have multi. It tend to be forgot by musicians but if i may advise on this topic don’t ! It’s very nice to build you own pads, soundscapes or texture to mimic that technique. It’s in fact Layering so when you heard someone speaking about Layering Sound-Design it’s part of it. As well as for Drum Synthesis, drum layering another interesting to end up with your own personal drums.

Chance parameters and Conditions, if harnessed ...

Can be a very nice way to get variations, to make things more organic. PolyRhythm, Fugue machine - there's a lot of tools you can use on software (chance %) or hardware (Trig Conditions on our beloved Elektron devices)

Unfiltered Audio

They make great things too** with **Byome** and the even better **Triad**

And all the other you already know it like : iZotope IRIS 2, Trash 2, FXpansion Etch, Bloom, Maul, Camel Space, SoundToys, Fabfilter, Granite, The Mangle, Quanta , Icarus, Movement, and the list goes on ! Effects list are usually huge...


Yes i have to warn you with processing. Because, sometimes it can be too much and it will cause issues on how parts gel well togethers and with mixing parts. It’s really something you learn with time. But maybe you will notice that fast and it’s good for you because at some point droping the experiment phase and move forward is a good thing too.

Don’t forget to make break in your own advancement in the track producing. Stop and take a break, even stop purely and simply and come back to it in a day or more with fresh hears and distance from it. You will see how much of a difference it can make.

Learn from your favorite producers

Analyse their tracks, understand the elements in used !Try to recreate part of their tracks or in full can really help. of course, i hope for you at some point the student will surpassed the master. That’s a proverb we all know for sure. But this must not represent a psychological castration. I even advise you to release music before being proud of it because reaching this expectation can take a considerable amount of time. And if you listen to your masters (if you have some), there is an obvious progression between the beginning and the more recent tracks of their discography. We all progress with time, learning and experiment. Our taste evolve too (better if it’s for the good i presume)

That’s mine here - as i told you don’t put the goal too high that’s the key, so don’t do what i’ve just did :joy:

Ron Trent - eDancer - Dj Duke
Stacey Pullen - Carl Craig - RedShape

I hope you liked this little text that is close to one topic that I had created on elektronauts, as I am writing a lot right now and that I give courses. I allow myself to share it. As I said before, I am not trying to convert anyone, it’s just my subjective point of view on some topics that are important to me. And i make some additions regarding to what’s i writed by the past i guess for the good as i give some hints now, rather to just expose my point of view.

Another good thing is my students understand and are spot on, and i have not predicted that. They value their music so i guess all is not lost in this ERA and Tracks who became anthems is not something from the past. Even if the music flies monthly or worst in the dj bags._

Long life to music
And of course not only electronic music for sure !

Feel free to comments, give your own thoughts, your own tools... your own masters ! Thats' not a closed post of course


I clearly remember having the same experience. I started making music as a kid with a very basic software that was full of loops. Naturally, I was attracted to the fast nature of making music with loops.
One day, I was really happy with the track that I had going on, based on a loop and what I felt was a lot of personal input. I was curious to hear what that track would sound like without the original loop and discovered a lifeless mess of uninspired fiddlings.
It wasn’t only because I was a mediocre musician at the time (I mean, more than now lol). It also came down to the fact that using loops, I was trying to find material to go with it, thus curving my own style in the process. I guess I was getting carried away by the loop and forgot was I was trying to say with music in the first place.
That experience disgusted me of working with loops at all. Luckily, the OT changed my mind when I bought the MKII a while back, slicing is pretty cool as you can use a sound palette that matches your own and import the bits that are interesting or mangle them to your liking.

I use 40% to 90% of samples in my music I’d say, but essentially drum samples or basic synth elements (single cycle or sampled VST’s that I work with - Serum, Massive, …). To me, it feels I’m still making music because I’m reworking a lot of those with crazy p-locks, arranging sounds from different sources together and more importantly, the main elements of my music are my own creations: sampled VST’s, sounds from the machines I own (DN/A4/DFAM/LYRA-8), it doesn’t matter as long as I started either from scratch or I modified a preset to the point where it can’t be recognized.
I allow myself to re-use modified presets sometimes to get inspired by the innovative sound design techniques or just interesting ideas. A good example is from an Elektronaut in fact. @richardf released the amazing plancton library that thaught me about the DN and pushed me further in my way of working with it.
I think one cannot forget the importance of influence in music. After all, all genres were born out of other genres, etc. One has to find the right balance, to allow oneself to be influenced without starting to fall into the copying.

Excellent thought-provoking thread, @William_WiLD :hugs:


Of course it is, experiment, transform, slice, reshape, re-order, altered, processed, morph… There’s so much we can do with Audio Materials to reclaim it and make it its own :slight_smile: All of this results to me fall in the 70%, your own stuff especially when Sound Design to Tweaking at first is also from your hands.

Everything become audio at the end anyway


Yeah I have made it kind of a challenge to design all sounds myself. Maybe a bit odd but if you want to be a sound designer or have your own sound signature then it’s the way to go. It probably came from the golden IDM era in the 2000s where electronic musicians made these gorgeous clicking and crispy sounds (Telefon Tel Aviv, Arovane, Populous, Aphex Twin etc.) and they were very secretive about how they had made them. Once I asked one of those artists how they made these sounds and he said “we use Live, it cuts up the sounds”! Ok that was helpful! But I just really admired that approach.

I spend years recording my own sounds from hitting things, glitching them up and processing them in various ways but they just didn’t really sound that great. It’s fine to use some of those sounds but not for everything. It wasn’t until I started sampling hardware synths and drum machines that I became really happy and content with the results. Their frequency content is more smooth I think so you get smoother or less hard sounds. For me the Elektron machines were a big part of this more useful sampling source and I have endless inspiration using them. Developing a good ear for frequencies is also very important.
Still learning!


Every Days for sure :wink:

This is an interesting topic, especially since I’ve been moving steadily away from sample-based music and getting back to my roots in live synthesis.

The Digitone is the latest partner in my journey to pure synthesis live shows.

I did a show last week with just the Digitone and a Circuit Mono Station, and I felt like I stood out from the other performers at the show, or even compared to lot of performers in my area. I was performing and presenting musical ideas in real-time, even improvising synth parts to capture something in the moment, but all in the structure of moving, evolving melodic dance and ambient music.

One of the other performers who did sample/loop based music said very loudly after my first set, “Damn, I don’t even want to get up there after that.”

It wasn’t that I felt my sets were all that they can eventually be, since I only had the Digitone for a week. But it was musical and different. And the people at the show, and even other performers responded to that.

I know people in the area who are great at doing smooth sets with their collections of Ableton clips and scenes and an Akai controller, or your typical Pioneer rigs, but once you’ve been to enough of these house/techno rave events, that approach starts sounding pretty unoriginal over time.

Electron gear, at least for me, seems to encourage musicality and originality.


Unfiltered Audio release a SYNTH with BYOME modular effects built-in ! Kind of interesting…

Release Date : AUGUST
price : unknown