Rudy Nicoletti

Electronic Music Producer

A saw synth may be used as the lead in a track, but these versatile synths can also be used as support layers to fill out the frequency spectrum.

Saw synths are often used to give a song more body in the mid frequencies. Especially when the saw synth is used to play the main chords throughout the song, it sounds great when placed in the center of the mix. When placing them here, make sure they don’t get in the way of any other leads.

When the saw synth is played for shorter instances or in higher keys (with higher frequencies), there is opportunity to experiment with placement on the sides of the mixing space.

EQ (Cut)
Saw synths tend to get muddy very quickly, make sure to set a high-pass filter right before the key frequency to cut a way any unnecessary rumble. A rule of thumb here is to never have frequencies below 100Hz.

Depending on the type, the saw synth can be rich in high frequencies. This might give the synth the edge you’re looking for, but it is highly dangerous in cluttering the high frequencies of your mix.

To prevent this from happening, set a low-pass filter at least somewhere between 10kHz and 14kHz. This way the synth has still a sharp impact while you save space for your hi hats and crashes to come through cleanly.

Saw synths can have either a short- or a long attack and release. If the attack of the synth is short, you can set the attack time of the compressor slightly after the attack time of the synth to give it a punchy impact.

We compress synths about 3dB with a ratio in between 2:1 to 5:1.

If the saw synth has a long attack and release you might want to give the compressor a lower ratio to keep a subtler dynamic sound. With a long attack of the synth, the attack of the compressor can be shorter and with a softer knee.