We first became familiar with the work of Mark Neary (@markneary1) on the day he published the C4 Synth preset titled, “Chaka Chan.” Mark skillfully used the C4’s Neuro Editor to dial in the funky Moog bass sound from the classic Chaka Khan track, What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me. It was clear from the embedded video that Mark’s bass playing and audio production skills were a cut above. A quick Google search turned up the Mark Neary website and a draw-dropping list of bass and production credits that include the Rolling Stones, Sting, Noel Gallagher, and Adele. To be honest, this impressive resume was not a surprise based on what we heard in the Chaka Khan clip.
Since that day we’ve seen Mark publish loads of fantastic presets, all with excellent accompanying videos. When we started our Featured Neuro Artist program it was obvious that Mark had to be included. As many of you know, we give away complementary Source Audio pedals to all of our Featured Artists. Mark picked up the Aftershock Bass Distortion – we can’t wait to hear what he does with it.
Let's get on with the presets...
Here is the preset that started it all. This punchy sound combines a Sine Wave Oscillator, an octave down Saw Oscillator, and a touch of clean signal to beautifully capture the essence of the Bob Christianson's Moog bass line from the original track.
Mark Neary was kind enough to talk with us about some of the sounds he pulled from the C4 Synth: “I have been waiting for years for this pedal to be invented. It has replaced four of the old pedals on the board. In addition to all the synth sounds it offers, it can also be used as a phaser, tremolo, octave and filter pedal. One great thing is the routing - having the ability to assign an expression pedal to the tremolo's LFO speed and make on-the-fly changes is great. Also, some of the sub sounds can be massive for hiphop/pop etc.”
"G Funk Snoop"
Mark totally nailed the classic synth bass sound that runs throughout Snoop Dogg’s debut record - it is a definite go-to sound for a lot of Dr. Dre productions. “Just your classic saw tooth sound, a-la Bernie Worrell," said Neary. "I also added a small amount of pure sine oscillator set down one octave to add some smooth low-end. Simple.”
"The KRAFTWERK Suite"
All hail the mighty Kraftwerk! This video features an entire suite of sounds inspired by Kraftwerk’s iconic synth pop classic, The Model. According to Mark, “It started off as an exercise to try and get as close as possible to the recording’s bass sound, but things got experimental. The “Das Model Pulse” preset (the pulsing sound that runs through the track) uses the pluck shape LFO assigned to the filter sweep with the re-trigger engaged to keep the pulse in time.”
The KRAFTWERK Suite includes the following downloads: "Das Model Bass" / "Kraftwerk Model Melody" / "Das Model Pulse" / "Das Model Alt Melody"
"WONDER City Bass"
“For the Stevie Wonder preset I tried to get as close as possible to the sound on the recording,” said Neary, “adding a little bit of vibrato using the expression pedal assigned to the voice detune, which is modulated by the LFO. The choice of different LFO shapes really makes a massive difference, depending on what sound you are going for. The pluck shape is great for 303 style filter cut off squelches.”
The "WONDER City Bass" preset is a great sound for bassists. The pitch modulation on each of the Voices gives the patch a deep, three-dimensional feel. If you don’t have an expression pedal, just turn off the External Control and set the Detune amounts to taste. You may also want to experiment with the LFO wave shape and speed.
This is spectacular. Mark grabbed some inspiration from the Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five song, The Message, a truly paramount track from the early days of hip hop. The preset runs a pair of Sine Wave Oscillators (one set to a 5th) and an octave down Saw Wave into a pair of 6-Pole Low Pass Filters, but it is the Octave function in the Filter module that really tightens up the response and makes the sound what it is. Neary explains, “For The Message preset I found that the 1/3 Octave and 2/3 Octave filter settings helped to recreate a vintage, less bombastic synth sound, more in keeping with the sonics of the tune. This option keeps it tight and punchy."
The Filter Module's Octave function tracks the pitch of the instrument and moves the filter's Frequency control accordingly. So as a player strikes higher and higher notes on his or her instrument, the filter modulates over higher and higher frequencies.
"The KAVINSKY NIGHTCALL Suite"
A wonderful C4 Synth recreation of the Kavinsky track, Nightcall from the film, Drive. A highlight of this collection is certainly "Kavinsky Bass." This vicious sounding preset is actually pretty straight-forward, running an octave down Saw Wave Oscillator into a Low-Pass Peak filter - sometimes simple sounds work beautifully. The "Kavinsky Chords" preset is also a must. This ambient patch takes advantage of the C4's Intelligent Harmonization feature combined with some pitch modulation to conjure a dark mood of eerie nostalgia.
The KAVINSKY NIGHTCALL Suite features the following downloads: "Kavinsky Chord" / "Kavinsky Bass" / "Kavinsky Triad" / "Kavinsky Arp"
Finally, let's round this thing out with one of Mark's most downloaded presets, "TOXIC Spears" This preset finds its inspiration from the fantastic Bloodshy & Avant (a.k.a. Miike Snow) production of the Britney Spears track, Toxic. The preset is pretty straight forward (a Saw Wave Oscillator into a Triple Peak Filter), but it has one very interesting feature. The Saw Wave Oscillator is pitched up one half step with the Detune knob turned down to pull the pitch back to the root note. Mark then assigns an expression pedal to the Detune knob - this unique twist allows him to slide his note up one whole step with the expression pedal. It's a great sound and a very clever use of the C4!
We hope you all found some inspiration from Mark Neary's excellent collection of C4 Synth presets and we urge everybody to start publishing One Series pedal presets with embedded YouTube or SoundCloud clips. We are constantly on the lookout for future Featured Neuro Artists. See you next month!
YOU TOO CAN BE A FEATURED NEURO ARTIST!!
Every month we feature an extraordinary Neuro preset creator. If we choose you as a Featured Neuro Artist, you will win a Source Audio One Series pedal of your choice. All you need to do to be eligible is publish cool presets with accompanying YouTube or SoundCloud links of the preset in action. Show us your presets!!