How to make STMPD style synth shots

In STMPD style we hear a lot of overprocessed synth shots nowadays. Whether it is a new Julian Jordan track or a new Seth Hills, every track has synth shots in it. The key to get those sounds is fairly easy and will be explained in this blog post.


  1. Sound Design

The foundation of the overprocessed sounds is super simple. Use Serum or Sylenth1 to get a short plucky sound with just a regular sine / square wavetable. Link a short plucky envelope to the wavetable level to achieve the desired sound. You can also layer the wavetable with a noise oscillator, for example some white noise. Because the sound will be squashed in post-processing you have to be careful to not add to much white noise.

2. Layering

In order to get the sound you want you have to work with multiple layers. In Serum you created the foundation of the synth and now you can use percussions to layer and to make your sound more unique. Try to add some different orientated percussions, for example one which covers the mid frequency area and one that covers the high area.

3. Processing

This is the most important part. You want to get a super squashy overprocessed sound, the way you can achieve this is understandably: processing. The key effects to get an overprocessed sound are distortion, saturation, compression (multiband) and eq'ing. The method is fairly easy, you take the sound and apply distortion, saturation and compression to it and then EQ the unwanted frequencies. You repeat this process again and again till you have a very squashed sound. Plugins that have proven to work again and again are: fabfilter saturn, msaturator, Izotope Trash2, decapitator, eq2

You can create a mixer bus and link all the layers to it if you want to apply reverb, a slap delay etc. on it.

It is recommended to create a synth shot folder and just mess around with lots of sounds till you have a lot of them to work with. This will improve your track as well as your workflow.

If you want to see a video demonstration of this process you can watch this video:


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