Tip of the Week 19: Make Full Use of Your Macros in NI Massive

Native Instrument's Massive is an incredible synth, it enables pretty much any possibility with sound design and, as such is an essential tool in every music makers studio. One of the features of Massive are "Macro Controls", these are knobs in Massive which can be assigned to most features in the plugin.


Massive has it's Macro control section at the orange
knobs on bottom right of the plugin.

Like I said, these macros can be assigned to any control, and as many controls at once as you like. This means that you don't need to use complex automation for your synth to change sound, instead, just link each parameter to a macro. Now, you only need to automate one control, the macro itself.

Let's imagine a relatively simple sound, a wobble bass. This song will have a relatively long ADSR attack for the filter for the effect. Let's say for a moment that at the end of each bar, we don't want the bass to "wub", we just want it to play like a normal bass, we can use a macro.

Macro view from the browser page. Note that there
are eight macros, this sound designer has used them all.

There would be no point opening another instance of massive just to get that one note at the end of a bar, it would take up CPU and clutter your project. All you need to do is assign the macro to the envelope attack (pick the right envelope) and set it to reduce when the macro knob is increased.

You can do this by dragging the macro plus sign next to the knob into the modulation box by the attack and dragging the resulting value downwards.

That same macro could also be assigned to the filter cutoff, perhaps we want this note to be brighter, so likewise with the attack, just drag the plus up to the modulation box. This time you'll want to drag the value upwards to let more brighter frequencies through.

Now perhaps, you'll want to turn the tube distortion down a bit to compensate for the brighter sound, also assignable in the same way. 

That is one macro nailed, there are seven more which you have the option of using to maximise the control of your sound.