Massive X Tutorial

Massive X Tutorial – Table of Contents

First off, a big Thank You to Native Instruments for making Massive X resize-able. For those of us working on 27″ iMacs and then taking the sessions on the road with a 13″ Macbook, you either can barely see the plugin, or the plugin is too big for the screen. Resizing is essential.

Massive X resize
Massive X resize

Native Instruments very recently released the updated Massive X. For those that don’t know, the original Massive was put on the map by dubstep, or should I say dubstep was put on the map by Massive. Serum took the ideas first released in Massive to new heights, and Native Instruments is seeking to take the crown back when it comes to Wavetable Synthesis combined with Automation.

Massive X
Massive X

Massive X Wavetable Oscillators

Oscillator Section
Oscillator Section

Massive X has 2 wavetable oscillators, consisting of 170 shapes. The controls for Oscillator 1 and 2 are essentially the same. To adjust the volume of each Oscillator, you can adjust each respective slider (1 in the figure.) To change the wave shape, select a different one from the drop down (2 in the figure.) A complete list of the wave shapes is below. An early favorite is Drift, Dusty B which adds a bit of analog out of tune feel.

You can adjust the wave table by turning the “knob” (3 in the figure) and alter the entire pitch by clicking the 0.000 and dragging up or down.

Massive X has introduced more Oscillator Modes. The original Massive only had “Spectrum”, “Bend +”, “Bend -“, “Bend +/-” and “Formant” modes and these have been revamped. You can change the mode by selecting from the drop down (5 in the figure.) These modes will alter the wave shape in various ways, and the options underneath, along with the “filter” and “phase” knobs, will change feature parameters based on what is selected.

  • Basics
    • Banana
    • Bipolar PWM
    • Harold Saw
    • PWM Antidormic
    • Sin-Tri-Saw-SQ
    • Sin-Tri-SQ-Saw
    • SQ-Sin-Saw
  • Operators
    • OP EP Body
    • OP Power Tri
    • OP Sin WM
    • OP Sin WM Mirror
    • OP Sin-Imp
    • OP Sin-Imp Mirror
    • OP Sin-Trapezoid
    • OP Soft Shift
    • OP Wave Passing
  • Harmonics
    • Caspamonics A
    • Caspamonics B
    • Loverparade
    • Moto Saw
    • Moto SQ
    • Roundonics
    • Saw-SQ Ratio
    • Sin Ratio 1-24
    • SQ X2 Sync
    • SQ-Saw Ratio
    • Trilanda
  • Additive + FM
    • Crusty
    • Drift Organ A
    • Drift Organ B
    • Drift Organ C
    • FM Baker Bass
    • FM Distoralis
    • FM Growl
    • Grassmayer Bell
    • Layer Bell
    • Lazerbizz A
    • Lazerbizz B
    • Lazerbizz C
    • Lazerbizz D
    • Metallic String A
    • Metallic String B
    • Meatatron A
    • Meatatron B
    • Organ Waves
  • Monster
    • Bitrain
    • Bumb SQ
    • Caspatic
    • Dirty Vowel
    • Dragon Crush
    • Drop
    • FM Math
    • Goo
    • Goonetics
    • Gorilla Alpha-Male
    • Gorilla Beta-Male
    • Gorilla Female
    • Hohlkopf
    • Hygen
    • Memphista
    • Memphisto
    • Monsta
    • Moving Walls A
    • Moving Walls B
    • Moving Walls C
    • Moving Walls D
    • Moving Walls E
    • Overthere
    • Pleuda Wobble A
    • Pleuda Wobble B
    • Pleuda Wobble C
    • Pleuda Wobble D
    • Quack Attack
    • Smearus
    • Squarolution
    • Tollwut A
    • Tollwut B
    • Wrap me
  • Drift
    • Cadenza A
    • Cadenza B
    • Drift Ocataves
    • Dual Saw
    • Dusty A
    • Dusty B
    • Gritty Organ
    • Herbst
    • Jigsaw
    • Multi Saw
    • Quad Saw
    • Quad Saw Oct
    • Quartology A
    • Quartology B
    • Reiber Organ
    • Simp drift
    • Solo drift B
    • Susaw
    • Susaw +
    • Susaw Octave
    • Uplifter
  • Filter
    • BP Driven Saw
    • BP Driven SQ
    • Crisy Bacon
    • Dual Bacon
    • LP Driven SQ
    • LP Saw
    • LP Smooth SQ
    • LP Xbit SQ
  • Formant
    • Aggrogut
    • Eckrecht
    • Fofi Hi
    • Fofi S + H
    • Formant Saw
    • Growl
    • Halskloss
    • Kodiak Vowels
    • Normund
    • Notch SQ
    • Notch SQ Lofi
    • Owei SQ
    • Spucknapf
    • Talkative SQ
    • Talkative SQ 8but
    • Tender Men
    • Thats Me
  • FX
    • Durish
    • Jungle Morse
    • Noise Seed
    • Pladep
    • Pygme
    • Rainforest
    • Schoen
    • Solo Bala
    • Supatif
    • Vibra Harmonics
  • Mixed
    • Atari SQ
    • Flower
    • Flower SQ
    • Glitter
    • Glow
    • Lampio
    • Raspel
    • Sifer

This section, just as the name implies, are wave shapes from the original Massive that have been carried over to Massive X and remastered.

  • Remastered
    • Arctic
    • Bronze
    • Carbon
    • Chrome
    • Cicada
    • Colors
    • Crusher
    • Digigrain
    • Kangaroo
    • Modern Talking
    • Polysaw
    • Roughmath
    • Scrap Yard
    • Squelchy

Oscillator Modes

  • Standard
    • Forward
    • Backward

    • Polarity+
    • Polarity-
  • Bend
    • Strong
    • Medium
    • Gentle

    • Neutral
    • Up-Down
    • For-Back
  • Mirror
  • Hardsync
    • Hard
    • Soft
    • Grain

    • Neutral
    • Up-Down
    • For-Back
  • Wrap
    • Hard
    • Soft
    • Grain

    • Neutral
    • Up-Down
    • For-Back
  • Formant
    • Neutral
    • Up-Down
    • For-Back
  • Art
    • Hard
    • Bity
    • Soft

    • Neutral
    • Up-Down
    • For-Back
    • FU-DB
  • Gorilla
    • King
    • Kang
    • Kong

    • x1
    • x2
    • x3
    • x4
    • x5
    • x6
  • Random
    • Fluid
    • Thunder
    • Divine

    • P.Rnd
    • P.Switch
  • Jitter
    • J1
    • J2
    • J3

    • P.Rnd
    • P.Switch

Noise Oscillator

There are two Noise Oscillators in Massive X. Each one has it’s own volume control and pitch knob. Each noise table allows you to pick a setting from 6 major groups. There’s the standard White and Pink Noise under Static. Static also includes things like Cymbal and Hihat, presumably Native Instruments feels these would be well suited towards creating those sounds. Other Categories are Friction, Processed, Environment, Machines and Beings. The Immediately option from Being is an early favorite.

Filter Section

Next to the Noise generators is the Filter Section.

  • Asimov
  • Blue Monark
  • Comb
  • Creak
  • Groian
  • Scanner
  • SVF
  • SVF Parallel
  • SVF Serial


Massive X offers a visual routing table, similar to Reaktor, that lets you hook up the modules or components by dragging connectors (lines) between them. If you select the Massive X Blank template, no sound comes out. That’s because nothing is hooked up yet. You need to at least send an Oscillator to an output. Drag the little connector (dot or box) next to Oscillator 1 to the bottom connector in the Monophonic Area. Now when you play, a sound will come out.

Massive X Routing
Massive X Routing

To cancel or delete a connection, just double click it. Go ahead and remove it, and now drag to the X connector, which currently says Off. When you play, you will now hear a sound just like before.

Massive X Routing to X
Massive X Routing to X

Why connect to the X? We are going to add some effects. You can see that the routing goes from X to Y to Z, to out, in serial fashion. You can have 3 effects, and if you drag to the X, it will go through all 3. You could drag Oscillator 2 to the Z, and have just the Z effect be applied.

If you click next to the X->Y->Z box, there is also X+Y->Z, which allows you to run X and Y in parallel, and then both serially to Z, and finally X+Y+Z, which allow you to run the effects all separately.

In the top right box (module) you’ll see X Off, Y Off, and Z Off. If you click the off, you can select from a list of effects. Go ahead and set an effect for each. I chose Phaser, EQ and Stereo Delay.

Routing with Effects
Routing with Effects

Now to show that you can still connect something directly to the output, connect Noise 1 directly to the lower output connector. The default Noise oscillator is set to White. Adjust the volume down. Now you’ll hear the original oscillator with all the effects blended in with the White Noise with no effects.

Noise Routing
Noise Routing

Now lets add in Oscillator 2 and some filtering. Connect Oscillator 2 to F (which is currently Off) and then connect F to Z. We’ll just apply the Z effect to this Oscillator. If you want, you can drag F up above the Noise line so that it’s easier to see and less cluttered.

Now go up to the module that says F, and click Off to see a drop down of options. Select something like Groian. Now when you play something, you’ll hear the new Oscillator, with just the Stereo Delay (Z effect) applied. Go ahead and tweak the Frequency knob in the Groian (F module) to verify that it’s working.

Adding in another module
Adding in another module

Let’s keep going. Now connect Noise 2 to A, and A to the X effect, which is currently the Phaser. We’ll apply all of the effects to the noise. Now for A, click the drop down that says Off, and pick Anima. You may need to turn down the White noise level as well as the levels for Oscillator 1 and 2, so that you can tweak this new sound. I changed the noise type from Pink to Stutter.

Noise 2 Routing
Noise 2 Routing

Here’s what my final result sounds like. I hear vocally effects like “wow” along with the hissy noise and an alarm or “red alert” type sound. This would have been killer for sound design on the original Star Trek in the 60s.


We haven’t touched on the Mod 1 & 2 routing yet because we need to talk about Modulators first, but if you want to play around, click on the E1 tab, and you’ll see an ADSR type of interface.

Massive X Performer

One of the coolest features in Massive in the Performer. This was in the prior version, but you have more control over it in the new version. There are 3 performers and they are accessed via the P1,P2,P3 tabs.

To see one example of how it can work for sound design, we’ll take the following sound and add a performer to act almost like a volume swell pedal (like an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo) so you won’t hear the attacks, just a decays.

Without Performer
With Performer

To create an effect like this, click the P1 tab to open up the performer, and then draw in some curves. Turn the level knob all the way to the left to turn off the performer, and all the way to the right to set it to 100% (this should have been called a mix knob in my opinion.) The default is 4/4 time, and I selected an eight note grid, 2 bars long. You can adjust how long a “loop” or pattern that you want by sliding the black start and stop sliders above the grid where the numbers 1 through 8 are.

Just click around to “paint” in a pattern, you can use the edit tools to change the style of “brush” you use. If you draw below the center line of the grid, it will turn the volume down, and you’ll see the numbers go negative when dragging. I have whole note chords playing on the first note of each bar, so I want to make sure the 1 and 2 are below to reduce the attack, but then have it poke up above 0 and back down to act like turning a volume knob up and down on a guitar, or rocking a volume pedal to create volume swells.

Now click the arrows above P1 and drag to the mix knob, then click the P1 under the mix knob and drag up. This will create an automation associated with the P1 curve that you drew. Then do the same to PM2 and the second oscillator, or any other knobs that you desire.

You can also do an EDM riser with performer as well. The key is to draw in a diagonal line from your first bar to however many bars you want the riser to be. If you will play 1 note on the keyboard for 4 bars, then set the performer length to 4 bars.

Next, drag your P1 performer to anything pitch related. Lots of times noise is used, in that it gets louder. Try dragging it to the pitch knob for a noise type that you like. You can also drag it to one of the pitch boxes next to the oscillators (below I have it on both.) Drag up to 12.00 if you want it to go up an octave, or drag up to 7.00 if you want it to go up a 5th (which is 7 steps.) You can also do some frequency modulation to have a siren type sound cycling through all while the pitch is increasing (probably better for club music than something for the radio though.)

Riser in Massive X

And there’s no reason that you can’t use more than 1 performer.

Using the first performer on the Supatif wavetable and ART filter, and a second performer on the pitch, it creates an interesting robotic voice, or tuning in to static type of sound.

A robotic type voice

More to come! Stay tuned.