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Ian McIntosh’s Verby Lead


Recently on the Hillsong Omnisphere Sounds Facebook group we were discussing Ian McIntosh’s Verby Lead patch. Ian does a great job explaining the patch in his video demo of it so I would encourage you to watch it first. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Hmm…. Waiting…. Ok. So now you’ve heard it and no doubt you want it – but how? If you are using Reason then it should be a snap – just grab it from Ian’s site and you are good to go – but what about the rest of us? Well with a little experimentation we should be able to make it in most any synth and host. Lets take a look.

Autopsy: The Verby Lead

So what are we hearing in this patch anyway? It seems a little on the cold side (more odd harmonics?) and definitely edgy (lots of harmonics). There is very noticeable glide or portamento that slides each note into the next. There is, of course, tons of reverb (rather a Jesus Culture synth staple) and maybe a bit of delay. Ian points out in his video how he uses the filter cutoff to change the character of the synth and cranking the filter resonance gives the patch more high end shimmer and high frequency content. So to put this back together we need a few things:

  • A basic synth lead sound that is hollow and edgy
  • Glide (portamento)
  • Dense reverb
  • The right filter settings and resonance to give it some sparkle

We can rebuild it…

So where to start? In our online discussion Pete Welly suggested starting with stacked square waves and I think that is excellent advice. Square or pulse waves have that hollow and cold sound which I attribute to a lack of even harmonics. We can get things a bit edgier by choosing pulse waves with a shorter pulse time which yields more harmonics. Open your synth of choice and do the following:

  • Set 2 or 3 oscillators to pulse width modulation (shorter pulse time)
  • Detune the oscillators about 10 cents (one sharp, one flat)
  • Make sure the mix between then is fairly even

You should now have a somewhat hollow edgy sounding lead sound. One tweaking step before we move on – make sure the amplifier envelope is working in a “leady” way. Set the attack time to about 10 msec (or just slightly longer than nothing) to avoid a starting “blip” and set the release time to the same. Make sure the sustain level is all the way up.

On to the filter. I chose a 24 db/oct filter to really trim the high end. You will have to play with it to get the overall tone right. Turn the resonance up until you like it. You should now have a sound that is a bit less harsh (thanks to the filter) with a little “shine” from the filter resonance.

Finally we need to turn on the glide or portamento (check your synth to see which it is labeled as). Turn it up just a bit to get some noticeable glide. Exactly how much is, again, up to you!

Verb the heck out of it

So we should have a raw tone that is in the ballpark. You should know by now that I don’t much go in for carbon copy perfect clones of album sounds but if that is your thing feel free to play with it a bit more to match it up to Ian’s patch. When you’re done, pick your favorite basic reverb and stick it in line with the patch. We don’t really want to send it to a bus because we want to end up with a tone that is really all reverb and with the bus it will be hard to do more than 50% wet.

Once you have your reverb in line go ahead and set it to 100% wet and take the pre-delay to zero. You can feel free to tweak the other settings. Generally we are looking for a nice dense delay that lasts for at least a couple of seconds.

Voilà, a masterpiece is born copied

There it is! Mostly. You may have to do a little fine-tuning in whatever synth and host you are using to match it up better to Ian’s patch – for example I had much better luck in Logic’s ES2 than I did in Omnisphere (nothing a little tinkering won’t fix). Let me know how you did in the comments! Below you will find video tutorials for both ES2 and Omnisphere and links to the resulting patches and my blank ES2 patch. Enjoy!

Video Tutorial: Verby Lead for ES2

Video Tutorial: Verby Lead for Omnisphere

File: Omnisphere Verby Lead Patch

File: Logic/Mainstage Verby Lead Patch

File: Blank ES2 patch for Mainstage/Logic

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