In this sound design tutorial we will make a Hip Hop whine synth using u-he Hive. This whine synth is frequently found in west coast Hip Hop music and is also known as the west coast whistle.

You can watch this sound design tutorial or just read along.

 

1) Initialize a blank patch of u-he Hive to start making the whine synth lead from scratch.

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_01 - INIT

2) Change the synth engine of u-he Hive from Normal to Clean. The Clean engine in u-he Hive offers wide detune, linear attack, exponential decay/release, and a linear State Variable Filter.

 

3) Set the voice mode of u-he Hive from polyphonic to legato mode.

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_03 - Legato Mode

4) For Osc1 we are going to use a triangle wave and for the Sub1 Osc we will use a sawtooth waveform. Adjust the tuning of Osc1 to +1 Octave. Next increase the tuning of Sub1 to 12 semitones which is the same as +1 Octave.

The volume of Osc1 change that to a value of 50 and for Sub1 let that be 20. Finally for Osc1 we will only use 1 unison voice.

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_04 - Osc1

 

5) Increase the output level of u-he Hive to a value of 140. This will compensate for low volume settings on the oscillators which we will modulate.

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_05 - Output Level

6) Osc2 will have a sawtooth waveform but we won’t be using the Sub2 Osc of u-he Hive. Therefore select 2 unison voices and +1 Octave for Osc2 tuning.

Reduce the width of Osc2 down to 25 and do the same for the volume knob except to a value of 40. Finally set the detune knob to a value of 15.

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_06 - Osc2

Whine Synth Filter Section in u-he Hive

7) u-he Hive comes with 2 Filters but for this Hip Hop whine synth we only need to use 1 filter. So we have to route Osc1, Osc2 including the Sub1 oscillator to Filter 1.

Select the 24dB Lowpass Filter and increase the input gain by 6dB. However since we are using the Clean Synth Engine this will only boost the level without any non-linear distortion.

Set Filter1 Cut0ff to a value of 105 and increase the keytrack level to a value of 20 in u-he Hive.

Whine Synth Amp Envelope in u-he Hive

8) Now we have to adjust the Amp Envelope of each oscillator. So since u-he Hive has got two Amp Envelopes we have to make sure that the Amp Envelopes are identical in settings.

Configure the ADSR of both Amp Envelopes in u-he Hive with the followings settings

  • Attack time = 7
  • Decay time = 80
  • Sustain time = 100
  • Release time = 7

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_08 - Amp1

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_08 - Amp2

Whine Synth Modulation in u-he Hive

9) We are going to modulate the pitch of both oscillators ever so slightly using an LFO.  Set the modulation amount for the LFO to a value of 0.50 and that’s targeting the oscillator tuning.

Next we will use Velocity to modulate the volume of both oscillators with a modulation amount turned all the way up. Furthermore we will also make use of Velocity to modulate the volume of the Sub1 Osc with a value of 55.

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_09 - Modulation MM1

10) Change the waveform of LFO1 to a sine wave and set the LFO to restart via gate whilst the sync value is set to 1/8th. In addition this LFO will be modulating the pitch of the oscillators.

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_10 - LF01

11) The glide mode or portamento is essential to making whine synth leads. You can set the value of the glide to 40 and make sure the glide mode is set to rate.

How to Make a Hip Hop Whine Synth in U-he Hive_11 - Glide