Synthwave is a genre that mixes nostalgia of the fantasy and action movie soundtracks from the ’80s with modern production methods and precision. Simple patterns, gated reverb, saturation, and samples from drum machines popular in the 1980s, such as the LinnDrum, are all essential elements of this genre. Massive cymbals and tom fills were also popular at the time. In the next tutorial, we will show you how to make retro-sounding tom fill, appropriate for a Synthwave track.

As usual, we’ll begin by listening to a short sequence created in our SoundBridge: DAW. It contains the majority of a full mix’s elements.

This is a screenshot of my mix in SoundBridge: DAW before creating retro tom fill.
~Full Mix – Without Tom Fill

To begin, we’ll make a new MIDI channel and load Ritmix on it. The same tom sample will then be loaded onto five different Ritmix pads as you can see in the picture below.

This is a screenshot of Ritmix and its main interface showing drum pads.

To change the pitch of the pad, we will open the edit window. Under the “Envelopes/Humanizer” menu, select the “Pitch” tab and change the semitone parameter to the right. This must be done for each pad.

This is a screenshot of Ritmix edit page and within it the pitch editing section.

After that, we can return to the Sequencer and write a pattern in the MIDI editor. Let’s listen to how it sounds.

This is a picture of retro tom fill MIDI channel and MIDI editor.
~Tom Fill – Unprocessed

Since our tom fill sounds pretty dry, we will color it with some effects. In this case, we will use a touch of reverb and a Bit Crusher. Let’s take a listen to that.

~Tom Fill – Processed With Reverb

Finally, let’s hear this in the context of the full mix.

~Full Mix – Processed Tom Fill

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