A breakdown of tools I used to compose the song Solar Zenith

16 June 2016

I originally posted this on Reddit, writing about VSTs and instrument sources used to compose the tune Solar Zenith. I believe it belongs here as well:


For percussion I’ve got XLN Audio’s Addictive Drums driving the snare and hats. Some kick and ride samples I found around the nets. Plogue’s Chipsounds for a variation on the hats.

The main melodic percussive sound is “Airy Bell” (I believe it’s from Ableton).

Some of the pads are Chipsounds, some are NI’s Session Strings (which I wouldn’t really recommend these days). I’ve got another pad as an NI Razor patch (Razor is tons of fun but obviously so is Massive).

There are two bass sounds (I believe also from Ableton), both called “Dual Osc4 Plastic Bass” but I’ve tweaked them super differently (octave transposition, oscillators, noise, etc). For leads, an Ableton pack called “Rubber Harp” is in there. And a custom NI Massive sound I came up with.

The reverse builds are some cymbal samples I have in my collection, obviously reversed then warped in Live.

And to top it all off there is a background “room” noise sample I recorded on my phone from some small performance space in Montréal about five or six years ago.

Live’s redux tool sounds awesome but is super limited as far as what it can do for 8bit / 16bit reduction so instead I use Plogue’s Chipcrusher a bunch for the signal degradation stuff.

Dimension Expander is in there and it’s rad. Gives your tracks some more “space”. Some awesome dev pulled the concept from Massive and made it it’s own VST which you can grab for free.

I also use A1StereoControl almost religiously. It’s free as well, and let’s you do “Safe Bass” stereo effects, where it takes anything below a certain freq and cuts the pan, outing it through the middle.

And here’s a Live Audio Effect Rack I made that essentially splits a single track into multiple and sends some of it through the left, some through the right, and some through the middle. Tweak the panning, volume of each pan and spread as much as you like.

How bout yourself, what’s some of your favourite audio tools?