A melody-carrying synth lead is often considered one of the crucial components of many modern electronic music tracks. Choosing the right sound is only half the job; the other half is to use it appropriately in the context of the overall mix. Keeping this in mind, the following tutorial will demonstrate how to add tonal balance leads.
As usual, I have prepared a short sequence in SoundBridge: DAW, which contains most instruments of the whole mix, including the synth lead sound. Let’s listen to the entire mix and then the synth lead solo.
~Full Mix – Synth Lead (Unprocessed)
~Synth Lead – Unprocessed (Solo)
Duplicate Your Synth Lead Sequence and Pitch It up an Octave
I’ll use a few processes to achieve tonal balance and emphasize the synth lead sound in the mix. The first will involve duplicating the existing synth lead channel and pitching it up for 12 semitones; in some cases, pitching it down for 12 semitones also works well, so feel free to experiment. Let’s have a listen to the pitched-up copy of it.
Use Reverb to Add Tonal Balance to Your Leads
Next, to make the duplicated version more spatial, I’ll apply a reverb effect, adjusting the reverb time and decay to my liking but increasing the dry/wet mix to 100%. In this case, I used our reverb effect that you can find natively in SoundBridge: DAW, but any other reverb you like to work with will suffice. Let us have a listen.
~Synth Lead – Pitched up + Reverb (Solo)
Use Compression, Saturation, and EQ to Perfect Your Sound
The following step would be to compress or saturate our sound. Since it has been beneficial to me for this kind of process, I will use OTT by Xfer in this instance. As you can see in the image below, I specifically emphasized the compression for the MID band in OTT.
~Synth Lead – Pitched up + Reverb + Compression (Solo)
Finally, I’ll use an EQ further to blend the duplicated and original versions of our synth lead with the other elements of the whole mix. After reverb and compression, the EQ will reduce unwanted buildup on specific frequency spectrum regions. For the end, let us listen to the combined synth lead layers solo and then in the context of the whole mix.
~Synth Lead – Processed (Solo)
~Full Mix – Synth Lead (Processed)
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