THE ART OF SOUND DESIGN

Pigments offers hundreds of master-crafted preset sounds for you to explore, enjoy, and personalize.

To give you the best range of sounds to represent the awesome power of Pigments, we scoured the globe for the most adventurous, experimental, and down-right cool sound designers around. Trailer sound design masters to sample pack geniuses, highly respected recording artists to pioneering modular synthesists. They’ve all been busy making totally unique, massively exciting sounds just for you.

On this page, you can read - in their own words - what our sound designers thought about Pigments, its workflow, how they approached their sound design, and a little bit about their favorite patch.

Jeremiah SAVAGE

The mastermind behind the Kinetic Metal and Kinetic Toys Kontakt instruments, and sound designer for Absynth, Massive, FM8, and Reaktor, Savage is a highly respected, superbly talented audio artist.

While learning Pigments and experimenting with various parameters, I quickly honed in on my favorite feature: the wave table editor. I always begin my synthesis work by crafting the wave unit first and work my way out from there. With Pigments, you can quickly get the tones and harmonics you need with it’s powerful features. I love using the different noise modulators in combination with simpler wave shapes to create realistic sounding instrument timbres.

My approach usually involves deciding on a theme and building the sounds around it. On new synths I like to explore possibilities and experiment to find a certain niche. With my 32 Pigments presets, I created a broad range of challenging tonal and musical pallets, and felt Pigments did a great job of meeting those challenges.

ELP Brain BASS

Night Tremor was my first preset created with Pigments. It has a nice expressive attack and is very playable as a stand alone sound. As it was my first sound, I took the experimental approach in its creation and was very pleased with the result and immediately became hooked.
With Night Tremor, I carved out the tone in the Wave Table section, then used modulation with various wave table parameters. The combination of flexible modulation and deep wave table editing is not just powerful in achieving nice sounds but it’s a joy being able to get to that level, finding interesting and unique tones so quickly and easily because it means you can spend more time exploring even deeper possibilities.

Cubic SPLINE

Clément Bastiat is a musician and mastering engineer. Starting out on violin at age 5, Clément became heavily involved in electronic music. He creates new and unusual sounds for his dark psytrance project Cubic Spline, and applies his golden ears and sonic vision at Storm Mastering.

Pigments is quite flexible, and quite frankly I'm really fond of the possibilities of the wavetable engine: exponential FM, linear FM, the multiple phase modulation modes, same for phase distortion and wavefolding. Combined with the countless modulation capabilities with the LFO, envelopes, functions and so on, it's perfect for what I like! I love the "Highlight" feature: it's perfect for beginners to see which parameters will have the biggest impact on the sound, but also when I design patches for a track, I add tips and reminders for myself… ‘remember to tweak that when you'll be arranging the track’. That way, a few weeks later, when you do the arrangement, you can still remember what you had in mind when designing the track.

While I had some specific sounds in mind when creating my Pigments presets, I also let myself "float and follow" when discovering the wavetable engine, and sometimes it was more about finding a nice preset around a particular, unique feature.

DarKhristian

I had an idea of a creepy cathedral organ sound by discovering the unison chord feature. I made it change during the chord, starting as a power fifth and going into a minor chord. Then I told myself that a sad creepy layer in the high could be great and that's when I experimented with the wavetable engine and its FM to get that sound. After that, it was just a question of putting the right modulations in place to make is as creepy as possible.

Jörg HÜTTNER

Emmy-nominated composer Jörg Hüttner bought his first synth at 15, inspired by Depeche Mode and Jean-Michel Jarre. In the late 90s and 2000s he created lots of sounds for synth manufacturers, before moving to LA in 2007 to pursue a career in film music. He’s worked on “50 Shades of Grey”, “Independence Day: Resurgence” and Netflix’s “How It Ends”, and many more. A few of his latest projects include promo spots for NBC and a new trailer album for 2019.

Pigments is a very ‘visual’ synth. You immediately see what is happening with a sound and its settings thanks to its clear graphics. The easy setup of modulations makes Pigments fun to work with, and I especially like how you see modulations at work in the modulations bar. Combining Wavetables with “conventional” analog oscillators and using Arturia’s great sounding filters from various software synths makes for a powerful synth engine.

I always start with “init” sounds with any synthesizer I get my hands on to see what it can do. I checked out Pigments’ wavetables first to see which ones I liked best. Then I started to play with different modulation sources to scan the wavetables. From there it gave me an idea what type of sound I might go for. I always focus on making sounds very useful in productions and not to “show off” features. Sounds are tools for my compositions.

Basstastica

I tested a Functions modulation to modulate the filter, which ended up sounding more like a sequence, which I liked. The aggressiveness comes from the wavetable’s sound though. Function 1 is the main sculpting feature of this sound. It makes the rhythm and filter movement. I combined hard parameter jumps in it with smooth and curved parameter changes.

Klaus BAETZ

Klaus Baetz is an audio engineer, sound designer and author for the german Sound & Recording magazine. Since he got a Telefunken cassette recorder as a child in the 80s he’s been hooked on recording all kinds of weird noises, and found his synth-inspiration through the Techno and Dance scenes of the 90s. Nowadays he creates instruments and libraries for different platforms and companies, like Arturia, Native Instruments, Sample Logic, Galaxy Instruments, Bechstein and UJam.

I was super-surprised and happy about all the different ways that Pigments lets you shape and “destroy” a sound. Having all these parameters right at you fingertips is fantastic if you want to create sounds that really remind you of a plasma chainsaw on fire. The great thing is that the Arturia team also put in some of the most famous filters in synth history so that you have the chance to tame all the madness that you just created. It’s a great mixture.

As Pigments isn’t modelled after something else, I started the sound design process completely unbiased. At first, I created sounds that focused mainly on just one of the many strengths of the synthesizer like just the wavetable section or only the powerful modulators. But after a while everything kind of grew together and I constantly went back to what gave me the most fun and that was the different shaping possibilities.

Glass Guitar

My idea was to create a sound that somehow resembles a guitar and while starting pretty simplistic and soft, can be turned into an overdriven lead sound that has a strong 80s vibe with a synthetic attitude. Did I mentioned that I love Pigments’ distortion capabilities? Well, this is exactly what this sound is based on – putting two of the softer wavetable sounds through different distortion units.

Matt PIKE

A sound designer and music producer based in the UK, Pike’s current focus is on sample pack production, instrument design, preset design, beta testing and creating wavetables for various companies including Arturia, Novation & Loopmasters. In recent years, he’s been helping to develop and run “The Jumblies Project”, an inclusive interactive arts and education project in collaboration with a local SEN college.

The feature sets of the wavetable and analog engines complement each other superbly, giving a very broad scope to the timbres that can be achieved. This, combined with the deep yet speedy modulation workflow, multiple filter models and extensive FX section really allow you to get mix-ready and expressive sounds. A personal favourite feature is the ability to quantize the OSC Engines and use modulators to create melodies and variation.

As there is so much variation possible in Pigments I had a very open approach to the sound design process. A common underpinning principle was always trying to stretch the musical idea as far as possible within each preset. This often made use of the extensive modulation routing to try and create layered voicings within the sounds and, because Pigments is not truly bi-timbral, this was always a fun challenge that often found me in new creative territory.

Glitch Releases

This was an experiment into musical uses of random modulation and how they could create a sense of call and response between the synth and player. The result massively exceeded my expectations. The feature which made this preset work so well was the quantized pitch modulation allowing me to restrict the random modulation to 5ths and Octaves, keeping the dramatic glitching harmonically safe.

Maxime DANGLES

An intrepid audio explorer, Maxime has been collaborating with Arturia, designing sounds, and releasing music for over a decade. One of his most recent, and most ambitious projects was to create a sonic experience intended to be played on a spatial, 24.4HP multi-speaker system. It tells the story of a trip to the sea, it's the beginning of a close collaboration with researchers from the CNRS Brest, who study the impact of sound on the seabed and the melting of the sea ice in Antarctica. A first residence in their premises is planned in December.

For me, Pigments takes all my favorite Arturia features like Functions, filters, modulations, and macros, and puts them all in one place. It is a huge modular system, because all parameters are assignable to any modulator. In addition, it is very easy to learn, use, and master because the interface is very logical and well thought out.

When creating sounds for Pigments, I did not have a single mode of approach. For me, it's like I'm in front of my Eurorack setup. I always started with a very simple sound, and then explored my particular desire at the time. Sometimes I started with the sequencer, sometimes with the assignment of LFOs, or sometimes with a search in wavetables.

Grainanas

I had the idea of ​​having something that resembles what can be achieved with granular synthesis, with some clues to its jerky randomness. I started by modulating the volume of Engine 1 by an LFO, and then I created complexity by modulating the parameters of the LFOs between them. Each LFO has an influence on the other, and that's what creates the controllable instability that I like in this preset.

Mord FUSTANG

Mord Fustang is a musician, producer, and video game maniac. Seriously engaged with music since the age of 8 having started with classical piano lessons. Today, he plays around with all kinds of synths, guitars, and other instruments. He has just released his third album, and is currently working on sound design for some unannounced video game related projects.

The main strength of Pigments is the ease of mapping modulation sources to destinations. As a person who tends to be fairly lazy at times, Pigments has helped me get used to producing again regularly due to its user-friendliness. Getting started a new sound from scratch is just super easy. I also find the layout simple yet intuitive.

As far as my approach to my sound design work goes, sometimes I have a specific type of sound in mind I want to go for, be it an iconic sound from a 80s hit song, or a sound effect from a popular video game; other times I just go nuts on every knob I can until it sounds good to my ears.

Tomorrow Never Comes

I wanted to make something calm and melancholic, not sure if foreseen, but this simple sound is what I ended up with. The sound is based on a sine wave, with a teeny-tiny bit of vibrato and basic wavefolding on the sound, plus just that slight portamento along with a nice reverb make this sound very effective, I feel.

Robert DUDZIC

A legendary producer, engineer and studio musician, Robert has spent the last 20 years designing and composing music and sound effects for film, TV, radio, and top artists. He is the author of several popular sample libraries and instruments, including Damage, Symphobia, R.A.I.D., Trynity HDFX, and Cinema Sound Tools. His sound design can be heard in trailers for practically every hit film of the last decade: The Gift, Mission Impossible, EQ2, Ready Player One, Thor, Black Panther, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Mad Max Fury Road, Deadpool, BumbleBee and many more.

I directly clicked with Pigments, and while playing around with it I was able to make sounds that will fit perfectly into my work for movie trailers. The powerful sound engine, the clean interface, and the powerful tools, which are available to transform your own waveforms, are great. I’m able to import my own waveforms, and turn Pigments into my own instrument, allowing me to create my own unique sounds.

My goal was to create individual sounds with a strong identity that would work for many different genres. At the same time I still wanted them to have my personality, they should be sounds that I would want to use in my own projects. For example when I design organ sounds, then I want to give it the body of an organ, and have that warm cathedral-like ambiance. But I want it to sound slightly off, this way it stands out, and will make people wonder “what is that?”. It almost forces them to pay super close attention when they’re playing the patch.

I don’t have a specific way of doing my sound design, to me it’s all a journey. I let my imagination run free, and let the natural flow take over.

STARCADIAN

Starcadian is a mysterious, independent visual and audio artist, currently based in Brooklyn, New York. He’s been making what he calls 'ear movies' since 2011, combining electronic music with fantasy soundtracks, bound together by a narrative mythology catalogued in his music videos. Every album he creates is based on a feature-length script, building off of, and tied to the previous releases. He direct the videos along with his frequent collaborators, and produces all the visual effects.

It’s funny how sound design works. You never know what the trigger will be. A “standard” way of starting out would be to try and emulate your favorite sounds build off that. With the right plug-in, you start with those intentions and veer wildly off-course. That’s when the real magic happens. Not only does that entire song structure change, but the meaning and vibe. That’s really lightning in a bottle and you can’t account for when and how that happens, other than making sure you use the right tool that lets you do that and accommodates your trip.

Pigments led me down this wonderful rabbit hole of new exciting ways of manipulating the sounds and made me rethink what I was doing. I’ve always said that music should never be fully retrospective, or never fully futuristic. The real beauty lies in the middle. No one writes a new language for their next book. You take the existing language and use it in new interesting ways that touch real people. The best way you can do that is by using the right pen, like Pigments.

Space Pad

The foundation of this whole sound comes from a single waveform. When you animate the position, it creates this gorgeous harmonic that would oscillate between the IVth and an octave. After experimenting with macros, I found it interesting how with just one knob you can turn this from a soft spacey pad to a distant black metal guitar from space. I used Pad Enabler to segue in the harmonies, while I using the Timbre with a bezier curve towards the end to intensify the finale. I peppered in little automation hills of wavefolding and phase distortion to give it some variation and intensity. Finally I use Time to alternate between a slow ambient sound to the faster arpeggio section.

Thomas KOOT

Thomas Koot is an electronic musician from the Netherlands. He spends half of his time as a professional DJ playing with live musicians, the other half as an acoustic fingerstyle aficionado. He is a former sound design teacher at the ArtEZ University of the Arts, and created sound for Native Instruments, Fabfilter and Arturia’s own heavyweight Origin synthesizer.

Pigments has a wonderful combination digital synthesis methods and analog-style filtering. Using only digital synthesis like FM en Phase distortion can sound cold or harsh. By running the sound through the Moog filter for example, you can obtain textures that have an incredible real-world quality. The combination of digital synthesis and analog filtering can yield a wild variety of sounds since the sonic possibilities of the wavetable synthesizer are virtually endless.

I also like the straight-forwardness of Pigments. For me, sound design is really something that happens in dialogue with the synthesizer. If I were to improvise on a piano or on a guitar, the result would be different because the physical and sonic particularities of the instrument will send me in a certain direction. The same happens with synthesizers; the particular sound, lay-out and functionality of a synthesizer invite you to use it in a certain way. So I start out with a more or less clear idea of what I want to make, and then synthesizer nudges me in a certain direction. The result will be some sort of compromise between my original idea and the influence of the synthesizer.

Rustophon

The Rustophon preset was really a combination of an initial idea for a brass-type patch, and Pigments guiding me in the direction of the final preset. For the attack of the brass sound, I initially wanted to use noise to emulate the breath. I then tried FM synthesis with a non-integer carrier/modulator ratio to create something noise-like for the attack. This gave the sound a really nice attack, and made the patch almost feel ‘real’, its decaying envelope made the sound more playable to my ears. The patch has such a nice raw texture!

Torben HANSEN

A music producer under the guise of Geometriae, and a freelance sound designer as Twolegs Toneworks, Hansen has been working with electronic music and sound design since the late 1980's when computer music started to gain popularity, and a subculture called the demoscene was born.

There are several things about Pigments that were a nice surprise to me. It's packed with all sorts of modulation possibilities and includes the great sounding filters from the Matrix, SEM and Mini V. The huge array of wavetables and the addition of a 3 oscillator virtual analog section makes it a treat to program. Add to that the ability to do frequency modulation, phase modulation, phase distortion and wavefolding - and a wide array of modulator shapes, it's easy to get into deep FM territory and beyond with Pigments.

My usual approach is to get a feel for what the synth can do. This involves a lot of just playing around. In this process I usually have a palette of standard signature sounds I usually make with every synth I work with. They typically don't get included in my soundbanks. For factory libraries the sounds should usually show as much of the synth as possible - and in this case I focus on creating something new - something inspiring for the coming owners of the synth.

Geometriae Dub

My personal favorite is a relative simple chord pad, which is one of my typical go-to sounds when I create music as Geometriae. The sound is a sequenced minor chord suitable for Dub Techno or Deep Techno. It has a dark dubby feel with lots of filter modulations and effects. The sound is built around a straight saw wave like the typical Dub Techno chord stab. On top of that is a modulated wavetable that adds a top layer that is controlled both by macros and by a Function sequence. The chord sequence is also created with a Function sequence which controls the filter cutoff.

Tobias MENGUSER

Starting his sound designer journey at just 17 years old, Tobias created his first commercial sound bank for the Waldorf Microwave. In the 90s and early 00s, he created several sound banks and sample CD-ROMs for companies like Clavia, Ensoniq, Waldorf, Alesis and more. During that time, he also worked as a music producer in the early days of the Frankfurt techno/house/trance scene, putting out more than 100 releases, including one UK chart single.

In 2005 I started working full time for NI, initially as sound designer, later as head of sound design and senior product manager for Komplete. Since leaving NI at the end of 2016, I’ve been working on several exciting projects due for release in the next couple of years. I’ve also been working on trailer sound design, and my sounds can be heard in more than 300 movie trailers.

I love the modulation possibilities at the oscillator level! So much great and crazy sound shaping possibilities on top of a really cool wavetable collection. The filters, partly from other Arturia products like SEM are so great, and combined with the oscillator possibilities this is a sound designer’s dream synth!

I began my Pigments sound design with an early version without all wavetables, which was great to make the best out of the already existing, but limited features. Basically I wanted to create very organic, "never sounding the same" patches. My favorite types of sounds are keys and pads in Pigments, but I didn’t plan to create those specifically.