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Sound Design Tutorial: Serum Leads

“Sound design” can seem really daunting if you are brand new to music production. It has always been something I am keen to use in every single track idea, even if it’s small! Sound design is an essential skill of being able to create and manipulate your own sounds. It will give your track its own unique spark and identity. Nowadays, you don’t even have to start from scratch (which I will talk about in this blog!)

Today, I’m going to give you some really simple tips on sound designing in a software called “Serum”, by Xfer Records.

Sound design tutorial: Serum leads

Table of Contents:


1 - Use Presets as a Starting Point

If you are brand new to sound designing in Serum, the first piece of advice I would give is to get to know the software and learn about how presets are crafted. Using already existing sounds from soundbanks (such as these Serum Presets from TeamMBL) is a great starting point as you can gradually learn the building blocks of a sound – for example:

  • difference between each waveform type (for example, sine wave, saw wave, triangle wave),

  • the difference between LFO and envelope,

  • or the functions of each FX in the software.

You can even start with a preset and change some parameters to make it your own (that’s still sound design)! It’s always a great idea to would be to keep your thought process easy!

Xfer Serum presets.

2 - Don't Forget About The Inbuilt FX!

Once I have the basic sound laid out with all the envelopes and characteristics that I like, I then look to add FX to enhance it and make it sound full (for example, the OTT compressor is great for making leads sound full and big!).

Using FX such as delays (often short ones) can create really unique characteristics and spaces for a sound, which is something that is really important to stand out from the crowd. I always enjoy experimenting with the various FX to see what weird vibes I can create! It’s worth noting, as you create more sounds and become more experienced, your sound design can become more complex.

Xfer Serum sound design fx.

3 - Experiment & Have Fun!

It may sound a little cliché, but when I find I have the dreaded “writer’s block”, or I just want to take some time off from producing a full song, experimenting and creating new sounds in Serum can sometimes fuel new ideas!

Serum has lots to offer for all different kinds of genres, including complex modulations and FX. Take the time when creating sounds – I like to start by choosing a wavetable, then have a play around with adding LFOs and envelopes to make the sound move and modulate (this is really important for making sounds interesting throughout your track!). Challenge yourself to make at least one sound from scratch for every track you create, and I can be sure that you will improve!

3 tips for Serum sound design.

4 - Bonus Tips

Noises - I have only recently started to use the noise feature in Serum, but they are awesome! They can help to add texture and it’s another way of adding movement to the track! Experiment and add it to your sounds and see what you can create!

Saving - Make sure to save the new sounds you are creating! Throughout the development of a new sound make sure to save along the way. You may end up with 3 or 4 patches that are slightly different and can be used in a variety of ways. You can always use these as starting points to create something more complex down the line.

Tips for sound design in Xfer Serum.


Breeve - @breevebeats

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