I am very new to sound engineering and am experimenting with Sylenth1 in my Ableton rig. I also recently heard the lead in this song (Song w/ Duck Synth) and thought it was really neat, so naturally I booted up sylenth and started messing around.

As easy as this sounded for me to make, I ended up finding it quite challenging.

If anybody could guide me in the right direction that would be awesome! Thanks in advance!

(P.S.) If anybody has any online resources to general beginner lessons for sound engineering with synthesizers that would be extremely helpful. I am (obviously) and amateur and I know that these kinds of posts are really annoying.

  • Have you got any samples as to how far you've got? Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 8:33

4 Answers 4


That sound is not very complex...and certainly achievable.

When emulating any synth sound, it will be a lot of trial and error tweaking.

But here are some obvious facts for a starting point.

  1. The pitch is sweeping upwards.

So first off you need to be using a synth that can facilitate that....most can. Use an ADSR envelope routed to control the pitch of the synth/occilator.

  1. It has a unique harsh gritty sound.

It is clearly not a simple saw or square wave. In fact to me it sounds FM synth or some distortion plugin. Maybe a harsh distortion plugin could work.

I would also try some FM synthesis. Not sure if you are familiar with this, but some popular synths that allow for frequency modulation synthesis are native Instruments FM8 or Ableton Operator. I think either of those synths would be perfect for making this sound. Try a saw wave being modulated by a sine that is a few octaves above it.

So basically the pitch part is clear and obvious. Then achieving that unique timbre of the sound will be either distortion + EQ or FM + eq.

Good Luck!


Yesterday I found this synthesis-course. Seems pretty good. Might buy this course myself.

As for your duck-dream I would start by analayzing real recordings of ducks with both my ears and with a DAW to analyze the waveform. I'll try it myself and will share the results here.

  • HI Wasaia, links are not considered a proper answer (that's why it's limited to 2). Can you elaborate on your use of this course because it looks like a sales pitch now. Commented May 11, 2015 at 14:06
  • Sales-pitch? :-) I'm just searching for a good course myself and I stumbled upon this one and it looks interesting to me. I haven't taken the course yet. It just seemed a very good one from what I have read on the net. User 'Forks' asked for 'online resources to general beginner lessons for sound engineering with synthesizers', so I answered that question with a link. No harm in that, right?
    – Wasaia
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 8:07
  • I already replied to your other response so I'll keep it short. Sorry for misinterpreting your answer! Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:01

Instruments that sounds like animals like a roaring or growling are often processed to sound that way using vocoders and sampling of the actual animal sounds, not just subtractive filters to approximate them...not sure if that is the case with duck synth or not.


Just get a sample of a duck quacking and load it into a Simpler device in Ableton, then write your duck baseline -Voila. It sounds like saturation has been added. It also sounds like the highs have been rolled off - that is most likely because it was recorded near water and wild life which will add a lot of high-end white noise.

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