In this unique article, you will get a step-by-step tutorial how to make an old-school Showtek hardstyle lead in FL Studio. So, let’s jump in.
The original Showtek hardstyle lead tutorial
For those of you who were with me since the beginning of Screech House, comment below if that’s you, you may still remember one of my earlier videos in which I showcased a beefed-up Showtek hardstyle lead. You can watch the exact project in today’s embedded video.
Free Showtek hardstyle lead FLP file
Now, in the original video I promised to give away a complete tutorial and FLP file when my channel would reach 5000 subscribers. I got a few comments of people saying it would take too long or wasn’t realistic for my channel.
However, here we are today with a loyal subscriber base of well over 5000, which is absolutely remarkable. Of course, if you’re new here and you want to be a member of Screech House as well, take a second right now and click that subscribe button.
A big thanks to you
That’s why, before we will dive into today’s special tutorial, I want to thank each one of you. Thanks to you we have reached this impressive number and we’re still steadily growing.
Let’s grow together
Nonetheless, it doesn’t stop here. Our next target will be 10000 subs. So, if you want to help us getting there, the absolute best way is to share one of my videos. The only thing you have to do is simply click the share button below a video. By sharing it, we can make Screech House one of the bigger EDM channels out there. So, please go ahead, share it as I appreciate it a lot.
Now, without further ado, enjoy today’s content and let’s find out how to make a powerful Showtek hardstyle lead in FL Studio. And make sure to read until the very end, as I will tell you there how to download this exclusive FL Studio project file.
This is what you need for your Showtek hardstyle lead
To recreate the Showtek lead from this project, you will need Synth1. Synth1 is a free synthesizer that you can download by clicking this link. While you’re at it and when you haven’t yet, click this link as well to download my free hardstyle sample pack.
When your downloads are finished, install the Synth1 synthesizer into your VST directory. If you don’t know how to install VST plugins, click here. Then, add the Synth1 VST to your list of instruments in your D.A.W. For me, that’s FL Studio. And if you’re up and running, open the Synth1 VST and let’s get started.
Showtek hardstyle lead project
Now, the project I made a few years ago basically contains 2 types of leads. One is for the main melody, which has that typical Showtek feel, and the other plays some chords, which I added later to beef it up. But for this post, let’s focus on the main Showtek lead and find out how to make that.
You can listen to the main lead in the video, but when you’re ready, let’s recreate it step by step. So, stay with me.
To recreate the lead, open a fresh instance of the Synth1 VST and feel free to follow along.
First, and in most cases, you want to begin your sound design process with the oscillators. An oscillator produces a starting sound that you can then modify.
- So, go to the oscillator section and select a saw wave for oscillator 1.
- Then, set the detune for oscillator 1 around 60%.
- Lastly, go to the mix level and set it to a ratio of 100:0. In other words, turn the knob completely to the left. This way, only oscillator 1 is playing and oscillator 2 is disabled.
When you have set the initial conditions for the oscillators, find the Amplifier. The amplifier is basically a volume envelope.
But if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about here, it’s best to start with the Sound Design for Beginners guide first. This guide will teach you all the essential settings on a synthesizer step by step, including, oscillators, filters, envelopes & LFOs. Just click the link to start straightaway.
- When you can follow me, go to the amplifier and thereby completely close the attack, completely open the decay and sustain, but set the release around 50%.
- Also, set the gain to 100% and the velocity to 0%.
Obviously, we’re not there yet. The amplifier now has tight and consistent settings, so let’s do the same with the filter.
- Thereby, go to the filter and completely close the attack and completely open the decay, sustain and release.
- Also, set the amount to 0%.
- Then, make sure to select the LP12 filter type, which stands for a 12 decibels low pass filter.
- Lastly, completely open the frequency knob and completely close the resonance knob.
As for now, the lead is now very consistent. But keep reading as we will immediately go to the effects area to shape it into that typical Showtek style.
- Therefore, quickly go to the tempo/delay section and disable the effect by turning the ON button off.
This will remove the delay effect, but the real magic happens with the chorus/flanger.
- So, go to the chorus/flanger area, enable it and set it to x4, which stands for 4 voices.
- Next, set the time around 15 to 20 milliseconds.
- Then, set the depth around 100%.
- Furthermore, set the rate around 1.5 to 2 Hz.
- And lastly, increase the level to plus minus 100%.
Now we’re getting really close in creating a Showtek hardstyle lead with these famous characteristics. But let’s push it to the next level and finish off with some additional detuned voices.
- Therefore, go to the voice section and set it to “poly” with a number of 32. This allows for the maximum number of voices being played simultaneously.
- Next, enable unison.
- Also, give the lead a little bit of a slide effect by setting the portamento around 15 to 20%.
- Next, beef it up the by selecting 8 unison voices.
- Then, completely open the detune, phase and spread knobs.
- And lastly, if you prefer an extra lower layer, set the pitch to -12.
Awesome. With just a few tweaks on the Synth1 synthesizer, you have yourself a powerful Showtek hardstyle lead. Of course, feel free to make any changes to shape the lead in your own preferred way. But if you don’t know where to begin, again; start with the Sound Design for Beginners guide.
7. Mixer effects
Once you’re happy with your hardstyle lead, send the Synth1 VST to a free mixer track, for example mixer track 1. Then, open the Mixer, select the right track and add a few effects. As you can see in my project in the video, I have used an equalizer, reverb and delay effect.
Now you may ask: so Cep, how should I use these effects to get a powerful but balanced sound? To give you a quick answer; it depends based on personal taste and what is required for your mix.
In my case, as you can see in the project file, I have mainly used an equalizer to remove some lower frequencies and add some higher frequencies. This gives extra clarity, especially in a mix. However, don’t think you MUST do it this way. So, I cannot give you a step-by-step guide for this.
Reverb & delay
The same is true for reverb and delay. Feel free to take a look, but simply go by ear. If you want a bigger sense of space, use more reverb and delay with longer decay times. Or maybe you prefer a dryer lead. Then, just go with milder reverb and delay settings.
After you have added some common mixer effects, you’re basically done. In our case, the lead now sounds the same as you could hear in beginning of the video.
Job well done! By the way, if you have a question, just drop a comment below. But what about the melody, how do you make one like that? Well, let me quickly explain that right away.
How to make a melody with your Showtek hardstyle lead
As you can see on the Piano Roll, the melody follows a very simple pattern. Those early hardstyle melodies were usually very basic, but that’s also what gives them their charm.
Now, in order to create a melody like that, you have to know a thing or two about music theory. You can learn everything about the essential music-theory basics in The Ultimate Melody Guide. Just click this link to get started.
Conform to your chosen musical scale
But in short, the melody is built on an A# minor scale. Thereby, it uses A# as a fundamental note, which you can see repeatedly throughout the melody. So, if you want to make a nice melody, stay true to your chosen musical scale.
Create a bouncy rhythm
Furthermore, be creative with the rhythm it follows. Don’t put each note exactly onbeat or offbeat. Let it jump around a little bit. If you do all that, you got this in no time.
Add chords to your Showtek Hardstyle lead
For the sake of completeness, let me share the chords I’ve added to this project as well. Chords can beef up your lead and give a more modern feel. However, they fall beyond the scope of today’s tutorial, but simply download the FLP file to find out what they look like and sound like.
Download the Showtek hardstyle lead for FREE
If you add chords to your melody is totally up to you, but once you’re finished, you have yourself an awesome old-school Showtek snippet. And as promised, you can get the complete FLP file for free by clicking the link below. It will guide you to a page where you can directly download a ZIP file with the project inside.
If you enjoy this content, don’t forget and share it immediately to help people find my work. This way we may actually pull it off and reach those 10000 loyal subscribers.