Synth leads tips n stuff


Obvi post is obvi…

But making compelling edm leads is difficult for me being as I’m used to making random experimental glitch breakcore idm…

The bass I know how…

I need to learn how to make compelling dance music…cause versatility…

So whether it be edm or other electronic music…

A thread to share info about making compelling leads.


Mix wise sometimes simpler is better sometimes…


Yes! And I would say it is more about that simple, catchy riff than sound design.


Hum the catchy riff and translate the melody into a synth.


I swear NI has a VST that would let you capture this as MIDI. The Mouth maybe its called? But Ableton will also turn audio into MIDI now correct? I know Newtone in FL Studio can do it for monophonic sources.

After I get the pattern down for a simple “pop” style lead in dance music I will transpose the pattern up and down looking for better notes for the same _____________ insert technical term for thing I would call a pattern lol also useful for finding a change up later in the song…


lol i go by ear then apply music theory

low tech ftw


you can register for free for a week and learn about how write melodies here :

They give free week no card needed.


TBH, pretty much all my best lead melodies ever have been up/down arpeggios to start, then I change the length of the notes and remove some (for example maybe the 3rd in what starts as an arpeggio over the 7th chord) to make it a bit less obvious. When you’re trying to make that mainline EDM stuff, I bear in mind what they taught me in business writing - KISS - which stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. If you want to get fancy, start the arpeggio on not the root note of your chord and make your melody an inversion of the chord you’re playing. People think I know jazz theory or something when I do that.

As far as sounds go, I either use the Uni-Pizz JS-Y preset from any Korg M-1 VST, or keep it a simple saw/square lead, maybe some (and I mean SOME, not A TON OF) modulation to keep it moving (FM, vibrato, etc). Pretty much any functioning synth will give you a passable lead sound. What I notice with a lot of the modern stuff I listen to is that the lead is almost always just a supersaw with a crapload of effects on it. So if you can make a supersaw, or recognize one in the presets of the synths you have (and @bfk I know you have Harmor which is an absolute supersaw machine) then you are pretty much in business soundwise.


The glitch mob even though their music ain’t glitch…their leads are amazing


Acid isn’t just about filters and resonance…

Was able to get an acid sound by applying an lfo sequence to the volume parameter of the fm oscillator.

Happy accident.


Phase modulation in an fm synth and lfos does wonders…

Instead of talking skrillex basslines…im gonna trying talking leads with envelope modulation.


The great thing about messing with envelopes is how you can mold a sound to fit right in the pocket of the groove. It is easiest of course to do it in a DAW where you can automate whatever want. But re-shaping the amp or filter env to fit around the other elements, giving you these really liquid instruments that move with each other.

A lot of people will just side-chain everything to everything and you almost get the same effect but it sounds more like that traditional “pumping” than what I’m talking about.



linkin park has made some kick ass synth leads in the past

How do i get them linkin park leads?


Figured something out…

For leads just layer clones of the same synth patch…with different modulation settings and fx treatment and mix all the clones together to get a proper lead.

Like combine a hypersaw with a square wave fm modulated by a saw wave and a saw wave with a chorus effect on it…

Or combine a piano synth patch…with an altered piano synth patch…basically mix the original with the one that has fx treatment and modulations of macros to get an interesting lead…

To design complementary sounds to make the lead…use some of the same source waveforms with them being modulated by different waveforms and build around a similar pitch but have things like different lfos modulating different things for different synths or change the envelope settings or fx settings…and then layer and mix it and combine everything into one lead sound…

Or you can use filtering and eq to mix different sounds with similar enough tonality to make a lead.

I could of written this better but yeah…good luck.


Good read: