Operator is an advanced and flexible synthesiser that combines the concept of frequency modulation with classic subtractive and additive synthesis. This Ableton built-in synth utilises 4 four multi-waveform oscillators that can modulate each other’s frequencies to create complex timbres using limited number of objects.

The waveforms that comes with operator include

  • sine (which is the default)
  • square waveform
  • triangle waveform
  • saw tooth waveform
  • noise waveformPicture1


Operator has a filter section, Low Frequency Oscillation, amplitude envelope, pitch envelope and Oscillators. I have used YouTube video to teach my self how to design synth and drum patches using operator and decide to share my step with you. All sounds in operator can be designed by modulating the global setting in the operator and tweaking around the different envelope setting in the operator’s global setting section.Picture2

Creating drum patches in operator 

The sounds that I have created using operator include kicks, snare, bass, Toms, hats leads and pads.

I have learnt much and had fun while creating my own drum patches and I will be sharing my step with you that will help you start off your sound designing using ableton’s operator synth.

Note before we start on sound designing step all sound can be played in different octaves on the keyboard to get the right sound3

Steps to create a kick drum sound

  • Activate operator and create a MIDI clip with four by four beats notes in it, use low octaves
  • set operator velocity to affect the volume (100)
  • change the envelop to trigger mode (if a note is played its going to be triggered once)
  • making a click, for this set the phase to 25%. it gives you the initial harmonic content. low the pitch to taste and if the tone for the click is high adjust the transpose in the pitch section
  • Enable the pitch envelope, set it to trigger mode.
  • raise the pitch to 100%
  • adjust the pitch envelope decay for different kick variates and types of kicks
  • adjust the release to set length of your kick

Adding patch and volume to the kick 

  • Add Eq 8 to your use the Ableton built in kick eq 2
  • Use saturator to raise up the volume of the kick
  • Over drive to add bait of distortion.

Note. For different variation of the kick at this point You can go crazy adding different effect depending from the sound of the kick you want.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 3.28.31 PM

Sub bass

For the sub bass I only used one oscillator and below are the steps I went throughout to create my bass.


  • Activated an operator and turn on oscillator A with a sine wave foam
  • I decreased the volume to -3.8 in the global section, because the bass is always has a low sound.
  • Decreased the transpose in the pitch envelope to -12st to give it the sub sound and boom sound
  • Cut off the high frequency above 200Hz because the sub tends is a low frequency instrument that range from 40-100 (approximately)
  • In the LFO section I used the sine wave foam set it to low. I increased the rate to 25 and the amount to 13%
  • Lastly I added effects like compressor saturator and overdrive. note with effect you can apply any depending on the results you going for.

Rising sound effect

I created a raising sound effect to use in track as a build in to my verses and it was the easiest sound for me to make in operator. I used the ideas from the tutorials I watched and applied the it to my creations

Steps I followed

  • Activated operator and for this I used one Oscillator (A) with a square wave foam as it has a bit of body (beef) in it
  • wrote one long midi note which I automated the volume raising from the lowest level to the highest level to give it that raising effect.
  • In the midi clip I applied pitch bend and set it to rise from lowest to highest octave.
  • I automated the frequency in the filter section to rise from low to high and set the resonance to 2
  • finally raised the spread in the pitch envelope to 10% and applied effects like Eq to cut off all the low frequencies

Cleaning up my sound effect

I used an eq to cut out low high frequencies

  • Applied and auto pan and simple delay to create movement of sound
  • Used reverb to create the space sound (ambience)

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 3.28.53 PM

Below is a dropbox link to the folder with some of the patches (presents) that I created you can drag and drop them in Ableton to adjust and  use in your productions.


Here is a one minute loop track created using the patches i made.



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