Dec 052012

A few weeks ago I wanted to make some 80’s style horror synth stingers. I’m sure you know what I taking about.

So I looked up what John Carpenter and Alan Holsworth used in the late 70s. Long story short, their main two synths were the Prophet 10 and the ARP Odyssey.

Prophet 10
fuck me

Yeah, I can’t afford one of those so I decided to go the software route. I’m using Abelton Live but any DAW (digital audio workstation) should do.

Once you have a DAW for recording, you’ll need a VST -software that emulates a synth. I couldn’t find anything for the Prophet 10 but I did find the Prophet 5 and thats close enough. I went with Prophanity made by Chris Roberson which is free.

If you’ve never programmed a synth, I’d highly recommend reading How to Program a Synthesizer by TweakHeadz Lab. It covers the basics and is pretty universal no matter what kind of hardware or software you’re using. So lets skip all the boring stuff. Here’s my patch (click to hear how it sounds):

My Prophet 5 stinger patch

Works for me but I’m sure you’ll want to tweak it for your own needs. Try playing around with the frequencies of the oscillators, the noise level in the mixer section, the filter resonance and envelope amount, to make different sounds. Raise the decay if you’d like the sweep to ring out longer.

So hopefully this will help some filmmakers (or even game designers) get started with stingers. I might write some more soundtrack articles in the future. In the meantime you should definitely check out these sites:

And a VST specifically made for Horror soundtracks: Gargoyle 2 by Krakli

 December 5, 2012  Posted by at 12:49 am Articles  Add comments

  4 Responses to “Making John Carpenter Style Synth Stingers”

  1. Can you make a tutorial on how do you make your games with blender???? :)

    • I don’t make games with blender but I use it to make models and animation.

      I’d suggest giving unity 3d a try.

      I tried doing some game design tutorials a while back but it’s a huge topic to cover and I’m not a great writer or teacher. I would also have to time away from working on new games.

      But I may do some one day when I have more time.

  2. are you the creator of powerdrill massacre?

  3. Would you be fine in helping me with creating more varieties of stringers, please? I’ve followed your tutorial using Mixcraft, and I have Prophanity, luckily, and I’m struggling to vary out the sounds for stingers. Could I send you audio samples of the stingers I’m interested in (Halloween III it is mainly)? With your potential showing the process through a screenshot (like on here to here your sample,) being really resourceful and helpful for me. :)

    Let me know if you’re interested and if not, I respect that. Thank you for your time.

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