Some of the first stab sounds were used in the 1980s, with the rise of samplers and hip-hop producers sampling woodwind sections from vintage soul and funk records. This trend continued with the birth of the rave culture in the 1990s when live instruments were replaced by synthesizers used to mimic stab sounds. This particular sound marked an era in electronic music, and rave music passed on its legacy to various other electronic music subgenres such as Psytrance, Techno, etc. In the following tutorial, I will show you how to make a rave synth stab from scratch.

As an illustration, I have prepared a short sequence Psytrance in our SoundBridge: DAW, which contains most instruments of the whole mix. Let us listen to it.

This is a screenshot of my mix before creating the Rave synth stab.

Using the Right Envelope Settings While You Make Your Rave Synth Stab

The synth sounds solid, but it could be improved. I’ll add a Vital instance to the new MIDI channel in SoundBridge: DAW. Upon opening the Vital interface, I will initialize the sound and go straight to the envelope section. For this type of sound, adjusting the envelope just right is essential. I slightly increased the delay and attack values to avoid sharp transients that might interfere with the kick drum and other mix elements. Because I want a plucky sound, the sustain and delay times will be short. I’ll make the release value a little longer because we want that sound tail. Let us hear what we have so far.

This is a screenshot of my mix and Vital rave synth interface with the accent on its envelope section.

~Synth Stab – Envelope Settings

Using Unison Settings and Artistic Effects

After configuring the envelope, I’ll proceed to the oscillator section. I’ll use the two remaining oscillators and an additional noise oscillator here. The critical aspect here is to activate and fine-tune the unison settings. Because too much reverb on these types of sounds can smear them, using unison properly will keep the punch of the sound while making it big and wide. So, mimicking the sound of reverb in the sound design process is an effective way to keep the transient of the sound and control it as we develop the sound. At this point, I’ll also use the filter to process the sound. I’ll use a low-pass filter to eliminate unwanted low frequencies in this case.

This is a screenshot of my mix and the Vital interface with the accent on its oscillators section.

~Synth Stab – Oscillator Settings

Moving forward to the effects section of the Vital, I will first engage the multiband compressor, where I will increase the volume of the mid frequencies. Finally, I’ll add a touch of reverb to the sound to give it more depth. Let us hear the final sound solo and in the context of the whole mix.

This is a screenshot of my mix and Vital interface with the accent on its effects section.

~Synth Stab – Final

~Full Mix – With Rave Synth Stab

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