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Creating a Fisher Style Drop With Serum 

Jan 15th 2020

Fisher's Tech House Hit Continues to be a fan favorite 

Unless you lived under a rock in 2019, you most likely heard about the meteoric rise of a Tech House producer named Chris Lake Fisher, and his smash hit You Little Beauty. It was everywhere. We want to take a look at the sound design in the drop and show you how to recreate the bass and synth sounds. 

Tech House is not a new genre. Its origins can date back to the late '80s, but its sound has evolved. In the past couple of years, the sound has changed a bit, mainly due to new synths and the sound possibilities they afford music producers. 

Fisher's Tech House is different from a lot of other Tech House in that it's catchy and memorable. There are multiple elements in a lot of his songs, especially You Little Beauty, that get stuck in your the point where you wish a brain-eating amoeba comes along and eats the part of your brain responsible for storing the melody and bassline to the song. 

Getting started with your sound recreation

I think it's always helpful to pull your reference song into your DAW session. Bouncing back and forth from Spotify or YouTube makes it a lot harder, and you can't leverage the tools in your DAW.

I've recreated hundreds of sounds over the past few years, and I always lean heavily on reference tools and plugins. Your ears can be tricked pretty easily in a dense mix in an unfamiliar genre, but it's a lot harder to deceive both your ears and eyes.

If you're not sure how to get the song into your DAW, download an app that allows you to record your computer's audio. Quicktime can do this as can Audacity (an excellent choice for PC peeps).

The next step is to focus on one sound or element you're trying to recreate. So with Fisher's track You Little Beauty, let's pick the main bass. I usually load up a piano or a synth and figure out the melody, bassline, or chord progression first.

I like to sit and listen a few times and think about what could be making the sound. What type of raw waveform was used? How has it been processed? Being able to answer these simple questions helps you make more informed choices moving forward. You may even want to isolate those specific elements as well. For example, when attempting to recreate a sub-bass, it's often beneficial to apply a Low Pass Filter and roll-off or cut everything but the low-end itself.

Step by step instructions

1. Open up a new instance of Serum or ‘initialize’ the current patch; this function can be found in Serum’s main drop-down menu. 

2. Turn off  Oscillator 2 and load up the wavetable ‘Basic_Mgc,’ located underneath the ‘analog’ option. 3. Bring the wavetable position to around 85%. You will notice it’s a triangle or ‘saw-shape’ wave. 

NOTE:  When using an alternative table, make sure to look for an analog-style triangle/saw as opposed to a digital, as it will get you to where you need to be much faster. When a song is noticeably inspired by more ‘analog’ vibes, utilizing a more modern/digital table would just be taking a step back.

4. Turn both the ‘RND’ (Random) and ‘Phase’ knobs all the way down to zero.
 This will ensure that our sound is always triggered from the  same position within the waves cycle, which is 
crucial, considering it’s a low-end element and prone to phase issues. 

5. Load up the ‘BEND+/-’ Warp Mode to a value of (around) 10. 

In this instance, we’re not giving it the usual movement through modulation, we’re using it to communicate a ‘nasally’ brass tone; allowing a little high-end to sneak through (like Fisher’s bass). 
On to the ‘filter’ section... where we will begin to skillfully sculpt our sound. 

6. Load up a ‘MG LOW 24.’ 
This will send our signal  through the low pass filter, with a slope of 24dB per octave. 

7. Bring the Cutoff knob to around 50Hz, and route it to Envelope 2 (for movement and expression). 
NOTE : You’re even able to route a side-chain, like velocity for instance, to gauge how much modulation is occurring... but we’ll get into that another time. 

8. Add a little Attack to Envelope 2 (~15ms), and a little  shaping  to the Attack and Delay curves. 9. Adjust the filter and place the cutoff at ~24Hz, with an Envelope Modulation value of 33. 

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