Keeping stuff in Key

Hey production ninjas,

It’s very frustrating and limiting how bad I am at keeping shit in key, and the lack of solutions I’ve been able to come up with.

I’ve recently started using the TyrellN6 synth, and while it can sound way fatter than other freeware synths I’ve been using, I don’t understand it too well and in making a gully synth patch, often end up with something that is completely detuned from Garageband’s key setting.

I’ve been trying to fix this by bouncing the synth channel to audio, putting it on the deck in Virtual DJ and seeing the key there, but this only seems to half work, I’m guessing that the synth is probably somewhere between two different keys, the 2 oscilators are maybe not even really harmonic to each other etc (in which case I suppose pitching won’t help?)

Is there a simple way to keep all my samples and synths in key? I’m shit at tuning this stuff by ear btw, so that’s not a likely solution. It’s obvious that it’s off but I can’t ever seem to get it nicely in key. Again, not even sure the synth channel actually fits into a key at all.

For example, some kinda plugin that reads the key of the channel and then lets you cleanly pitch down or up by octave? Surely this is possible, right? The pitch plugin I have is just an analogue knob that’s impossible to get shit in key with.

I had the same problem with tyrelln6 like 4 years ago, I would just avoid that synth entirely imo
I recommend synth1, the filters are fatter

swear there’s a decent plugin that can do this

but idk what it is cos i need it too

1 BigUp

my experience with rootkey detection plugins/applications is that they are very error-prone (admittedly it was all freebie stuff, so probably paid software is more reliable)

tbh its not that difficult to find the key by ear:

  • play whatever it is you want to know the rootkey of
  • have a piano or something that can play notes ready (
  • while the sound is playing, play each key of the octave, unless we’re talking weird-fraction-of-a-semitone-tuning, one of the key will eventually sound obviously more “in tune” with what’s playing (and even if its indeed a weird halfsemitone tuning, at least you’ll have a rough estimation of the root key)
  • then you can refine by trying to arpeggiate the minor/major chord of the root key you think you have identified to determine whether you’re in major or minor
  • the process becomes easier as you train your ear (i have zero background in music theory btw)
  • if you want to tune two different elements together, then do this for both and you’ll see whether they are in key or not and at least have a general idea of how much you need to detune one or the other to get them in key, you can still do minor adjustments if it still doesnt sound right

imo i wouldnt stop using a synth you like just because you assume it can’t be tuned, anything can be tuned


if you look at a keyboard you see black and white keys

the 1 white key that sits next to the first group of black keys kind of points to the right >
the 1 first white key after the black group of keys kind of point back or left

if you use that first white key (and it’s siblings) in relation to all the black keys
you have one pretty easy scale - and one stevie uses a lot.

and if you notice those black keys all have 1 white key inbetween them

that relationship is kind of a thing all over the board - say use every second key on the board and you can hear a relation

usually if you pick one key or note you can use the one after the one next to it

mung version of piano but it works

1 BigUp

if ur in FL studio it’s even easier than that

1 BigUp

yeah thats neat

think you could do this in most piano rolls actually harkat

Synth1 produces no sound at all on my computer when I open it up, except one time when I pressed a key and it screamed out some horrific loud as fuck digital demon noise, so I’m scared to use it anymore


Send me a sample of that shit yo

1 BigUp

i loooooooled irl

1 BigUp

i legit never want to hear it again lol, it had to have fucked up my sound card or something lol, probably peaked out the global upper limit of volume on my computer easily.


Like all 32 bits of sound full. Bet that was loud as tits

put it this way: it was the most banging harsh noise track ever

harsh noise so harsh and cold that humans didnt even sculpt it…just the random dispassionate anger of a consumer laptop malfunctioning…#wolf


Sounds awful

Sounds glorious

For example, some kinda plugin that reads the key of the channel and then lets you cleanly pitch down or up by octave?

Why not to use your eyes and check if it’s in key or not, and if it’s not, where’s the problem? Honestly, I never had any problems with TyrellN6.

don’t use the latest version, it’s buggy as fuck
v1.12 is currently the best version, try that one
synth1 has some srs power and uses like no cpu at all highly recommend you try it again

1 BigUp

That is not how I approach music.

1 BigUp

OK but if this summons satan out of my monitors again i might kill u m8