Make Progressive House Plucks in Sytrus

Sytrus is such an underrated plugin. You can do all sorts of things with it, from frequency modulation to subtractive to amplitude modulation. You can even do drum synthesis if you know what you’re doing.

In this Sytrus tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a pluck synth. Plucks are commonly used in progressive house and trance tracks. They’re usually used in broken chord progressions, and they have quick attack and release times. This means they reach full volume very quickly and then come back down to zero volume relatively fast too. You can see below that the volume envelope of a pluck looks like a sharp knife or blade.

sytrus tutorial pluck volume envelope

If you’re a fan of progressive house or trance, you’ll instantly recognize the plucks in a track. The intro in this classic Kaskade remix below has a great example. If you’re a basshead or trap producer, I recommend going through the tutorial anyway, because Sytrus has something to offer for everyone.

Step 1: Open Up a Default Sytrus in Channel Rack

Add a Sytrus channel to the channel rack and select the default preset from the list of presets.

  1. Bring the Channel rack to the front of your screen.
  2. Click the white plus at the bottom left of your Channel rack.
  3. Find and click Sytrus from the list of plugins. FL Studio will add a Sytrus channel to your Channel rack and open a new window showing the Sytrus interface.
  4. At the top right of your Sytrus window, you will see the word “Presets” along with two arrows. Click on “Presets”.
  5. A large list of presets will open. Find and click the “Default” preset.

Step 2: Set Operator 1 Timbre

  1. In Styrus, click on the OP 1 tab
  2. Make sure CENTER and DECLICK are checked
  3. Move the shape slider (SH) up to the half way mark to create a saw wave
  4. With the OP 1 tab still highlighted, go the OSC tab
  5. Set harmonics (2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, 32x) at or near levels shown below

Step 3: Set Operator 1 Volume Envelope

  1. With OP 1 still highlighted, click VOL tab and then ENV tab right below it
  2. With the pencil (Step editing) in envelope window highlighted, right-click and drag across the default volume envelope to delete it
  3. Make sure TEMPO and “Enable envelope” buttons are checked
  4. Create the knife-like shape as shown above
    1. Make sure the Snap to grid (magnet) is highlighted
    2. Turn off Step editing (pencil)
    3. Right-click to make a new point
    4. click and drag points to new positions
    5. click and drag tension point if needed
    6. see the How to Use Automation Clips operations section for more details if needed

Step 4: Set Operator 2 Tibre

  1. In Styrus, click on the OP 2 tab
  2. Make sure CENTER and DECLICK are checked
  3. Move the shape slider (SH) up to the half way mark to create a saw wave
  4. Set TN (tension) slider to 28%
  5. Set SK (skew) slider to 100%
  6. With the OP 2 tab still highlighted, go the OSC tab
  7. Set harmonic 4x to 100%

Step 5: Set Operator 2 Volume Envelope

We want the same sharp knife-like shape for this operator too. Rather than go through Step 3 again with OP 2, here’s a shortcut:

  1. Go to OP 1 VOL ENV tab from earlier
  2. Click the small arrow next to GLOBAL
  3. Click “Copy state”
  4. Go to OP 2 VOL ENV tab
  5. Click the same small arrow
  6. Click “Paste state”

Step 6: FX Tab Settings

  1. Go to the FX tab
  2. Change ORD in the chorus settings to 3
  3. Click the R to access the reverb tab
    1. Check the ON and TEMPO buttons
    2. Change COLOR to W+
  4. Click D1 to access the 1st delay tab
    1. Check ON and TEMPO

Step 7: FILTER 1 Tab Settings

We’re going to apply a low-pass filter with a cutoff envelope that mirrors the volume envelopes of the two operators.

  1. Go to the FILTER 1 tab
  2. Click CUT tab to automate the filter cutoff frequency
  3. ENV tab to automate the filter cutoff frequency using an envelope
  4. Click on the special arrow next to GLOBAL
  5. You should still have the volume envelope state saved on your clipboard. Click “Paste state” to apply the knife shape to the filter cutoff envelope

Step 8: Sytrus Operator Matrix Settings

Almost done. Columns labeled 1 and 2 are your OP 1 and OP 2 signals. We need to send them through the filter first, then through the FX processor, and then out of Sytrus.

  1. At the intersection between row F1 and columns 1 and 2, turn both knobs to 58%
  2. Mix in the FX at about 80%
  3. and last turn OUT to 100%

sytrus tutorial fm matrix

OK we’re all done. If you like it, make sure to save your preset by clicking the top left arrow in your Sytrus window and clicking “Save preset as” You should have something that sounds like this:

Sound familiar? This is the PL Euro preset you downloaded when you signed up for the mailing list! Anyway, hope you learned something and thanks for reading. Catch you next time.

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