Creating the PT-10 Synth Pad


If you are wondering how to create your own synths, pads, basses or special effects in Kontakt, it helps to know how Kontakt works. You can start with almost any sample and by adding modulation and velocity control you can make even an old Casio sound cool.

To create this sound I first went through my samples of my trusty old circuit bent Casio PT-10. Most of them are percussive, squelchy type sounds, but I managed to find one that had some pitch to it.

First the sample needs to be dragged from the Kontakt browser into the rack area to the right. This creates a new instrument with the sample mapped across the keyboard. Since the sample was short, I had to create a loop point so Kontakt would repeat a section of the audio in order to make a tone. In this case, I chose a very short (1 wave cycle) loop to create a sort of oscillator to use. I wanted to keep the initial attack of the PT-10 sound, so I stated the loop just after the attack of the waveform.

In the Mapping editor, you can see which samples have been assigned to which keys. In this instance, there is only one sample assigned to the entire keyboard. On the top left of the mapping editor is a dropdown menu titled “Edit”. This allows us to duplicate the “zone” as Kontakt calls it as well as other things. I duplicated this zone 2 times to create a 3 oscillator synth. I tuned one up two octaves (24 semitones) and the other two I tuned 0.06 and -0.06 cents respectively and panned them slightly away from each other to give a “detuned” effect. You can also adjust the volume for each zone, so I turned down the high pitched zone.

Kontakt is so great and powerful that I could practically do anything at this point with the sound. Essentially I just created a default synth patch. Well to start, I like my pads to undulate their pitch slightly. This is easy to set up in Kontakt. Near the top of the edit window is the “Tune” knob and to the left of that you will see the lighter green “Mod” box. When you click that, it allows you to add a modulator to the sample. In this case, click “add modulator” and choose LFO>sine. Right away you should hear the pitch being modulated. The default is rather extreme, but to tame it set the slider for this newly created modulator to somewhere around 0.03-0.10 cents. This will make the pitch change, but only very slightly. If we jump down to the bottom of the edit window we can adjust the Frequency of the LFO as well. Something slow usually works for me.

Now every synth needs a filter. Somewhere in the “Group Insert FX” we can put a filter. Out of habit I put it into the second or third slot so I can add other effects prior to it. The Pro 53 filter is a nice sounding filter, so I chose that. This filter will stay static though, unless we modulate it with something. I like to map my midi controller knobs to the cutoff and resonance. To do that, click on “add modulator” and choose External Sources>Midi CC. The leftmost box on this modulator object lets you set the Midi CC # that you want. Normally #74 is cutoff and #71 is resonance. The boxes to the right of that allow you to tell Kontakt what the default value should be for the Midi CC when the patch loads. It is also nice to have both an LFO and an Envelope on the Filter since most synths are built that way. Those are added by using the “add modulator” pulldown menu again. Typically I set my LFO affecting the cutoff to only affect it by about 5-10% for a mild effect. This is done with the slider for that modulator.

The next section is the Amplifier. It is common to have an envelope and velocity affect the amplifier. So we need to press the light green “Mod” box to the left of the Amplifier section. Click “add modulator” and choose those two options. For this synth I chose to have the velocity only affect the amplifier by about 50% so it always stays within a volume limit and doesn’t get too quiet.

Kontakt allows you to route effects as either an insert effect or a send effect. If you aren’t familiar with this terminology, it means that the sound can travel through the effect (insert) or can be split into two where on sound goes through the effect and one sound is unaffected, then these two get mixed back together (send). This synth uses an insert delay, because I wanted all the sound to be processed through delay, but I use a send chorus so that I have both an unaltered and and effected sound mixing together. Sometimes 100% chorus is too washy for me.

Now the last thing to be adjusted is the “Modulation” at the bottom. Here you can affect the shape for the cutoff and volume envelope’s shape, as well as the LFO Frequencies for cutoff and pitch.

That sums it up. Hopefully you can now understand how to create a patch in Kontakt from scratch. I did not talk too much about the looping aspect because it is a little difficult to put into words. Maybe I will make a video.

You can download the Kontakt patch here…

Casio PT-10 Kontakt File

Here is a short demo of it in action