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Tuning it up – Create a custom Saw Riser in NI’s Massive

7th January 2013 - General - , , , , , , , ,

Hi guys, it’s Andre.

Today I’m going to show you how to create a saw riser in NI’s Massive.  This is a pretty common effect in dance music and a great way to create tension before the drop. Instead of taking just an ordinary riser from a sample library, I’m going to show you how to create your own custom riser, which is always in beat (if you want it to be in beat) and can be edited in seconds.

Here’s a sample of the final riser:

Check out how this effect is done…

I start with only one oscillator — a square-saw wave and it’s completely set to saw. Other oscillators are not needed in this template.


A riser is a long, evolving sound and to make sure, the sound won’t stop, before the riser is at its highest point, I set up my main Envelope, to make it a constant tone without volume loss.

Envelope 4

To create the riser, I simply use a LFO on the pitch of OSC 1 and pull it down to -48 semitones.

OSC 1 With 1 LFO

Pitching down a riser, you think? – Don’t worry, the trick behind that is hidden in the LFO settings.


As you can see, the LFO curve is going down, combined with a negative pitch value, this will result in pitching up. You can get this curve by using the second waveform and moving it, until you have the same waveform like me. Remember to activate position and restart, so the effect will start, every time you hit a key.

The effect is tempo synced, so sync is clicked. The 4/1 ratio will result in a 4 bars riser. To change the length of the riser, just change the ratio.

With the LFO on the pitch, the saw sound starts rising. Here’s what we have now:

Until now, this is pretty close to my last sweep tutorial, but now, we gonna push it a bit more.

By using a second LFO on OSC 1’s pitch and moving it up to + 12 semitones, I can add more movement.

OSC 1 with 2 LFOs

The second LFO is pretty close to the first one, I used, but this time, I’m using a faster ratio.


This is what it sounds like with two LFOs on OSC 1’s pitch:

To make this sound more like a riser, let’s put some movement in the second LFO by using automation the ratio.

Enable Automation For LFO Ratio

I used automation in my track and changed the ratio from 1/4 to 1/8, to 1/16 and finally 1/32.

LFO Automation

This is what it sounds like:

To make the sound bigger, I just increase the voices up to 8 voices unison.

Here’s the result:

To give it a final touch, I also automize the panning with the second LFO.

LFO On Panning

I also spice up the voicing, by activating the pitch cutoff and putting the first LFO on it. Also changing the pan position settings can sound pretty nice, so try it.

Voicing Final

As last extra, I activate a reverb and put the second LFO on Dry/Wet and Size.

Reverb With LFO

This was all and now we’re back with the final sound:

This is just a rough guide line. Feel free to play around with this preset and add your own style, modulations and oscillators to it.

Cheers and have a great weekend.

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