MASSIVE X Tutorial - Basics & Features

Author: sleepfreaks

The long awaited synth MASSIVE X reigns supreme

Komplete _ シンセ _ Massive X | 製品

Native Instruments has released the new “MASSIVE X”.

Owners of “KOMPLETE 12”, “KOMPLETE 12 ULTIMATE”, and “KOMPLETE 12 ULTIMATE Collector’s Edition” can download/use Massive X for free.

The globally used and legendary “Massive” was first released over 10 years ago.
While the music scene evolves so do the many synths released in order to keep up with the times.
What kind of changes await in MASSIVE X?

In this article, in addition to a review of MASSIVE X, we will take a look at the basics and features of this synth.

MASSIVE X about OSC section

MASSIVE X about Phase Modulation

MASSIVE X about OSC mode

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Packed with Modern Sounds in over 350 Presets

MASSIVE X contains over 350 presets that are ready for use right out the box.

Massive X Preset-1

There are different sound characteristics such as “Lead/Bass/Pad/Key/FX etc” behind each sounds name, and the sound categories can be selection from the section on the left.

The sounds are incredibly thick and modernly flashy.
This sound library is incredibly useful for those who produce EDM music.

We had felt many of the presets in the previous MASSIVE were too distinct and difficult to use at times.
Every preset in this new version is easy to use and fit into your own productions.


In addition, MASSIVE X can be utilized within “KOMPLETE KONTROL” as well.
The main parameters for each preset will be automatically optimized in KOMPLETE KONTROL.

ARP Chord

KOMPLETE KONTROL’s knobs can be used to easily control and design the sound, with powerful scale functions and arpeggiators.

Sound Design in the OSC Section


MASSIVE X has 2 main oscillators on board.


There are a variety of waveforms in the OSC, split into different categories.

Massive X OSC WaveTable

Each waveform is organized under the WaveTable, and can be changed by turning the OSC knob.


The entered/selected waveform can be changed through a variety of different modes.
In addition to “Bend” and “Formant” included in the previous MASSIVE, a new variety of effects are provided.

Mode Knob

The knob functions will change depending on the selected mode.
By using different modes together, you can create intense and unique sounds and even sound effects.


Though we will mention this later, by adding modulation to different knobs such as envelope/lfo, you can create more thrilling sounds.

Using Phrase Modulation

By applying phase modulation to an OSC, you can create more nuanced and impactful sounds.

PM1 Massive X

Select which modulation to use from “PM1/AUX/PM2” for each OSC.
Click the desired modulation to turn it on (we will use PM1 for this tutorial).

Designate the modulation amount from the knob below.
In the previous MASSIVE, only a Sine wave could be used for modulation, but now the waveforms can be changed freely as well.

Mod Pitch

The modulation pitch can be changed as well.
This greatly expands the possible sound variations.

The default amount is the “Ratio”.

  • 「1」Modulate to the played MIDI note’s pitch
  • 「2」is 1 oct up,「4」is 2 oct up,「8」is 3 oct up
  • 「1/2」is 1 oct down,「1/4」is 2 oct down,「1/8」is 3 oct down

PM1 Env

By controlling the pitch using the envelope/modulation, you can instantly create unique sounds and sfx.

Applying Glide

You can apply the popular effect of connection pitches between notes using the “glide” function.


Click the “Glide” button to turn it on.
Designate the time it takes to slide between pitches from “Time”.

Massive X PolyMono

This glide is both “Mono / Poly” compatible, and can be switched from the “Voice” tab.


From the “Glide” section of the “Voice” tab, you can adjust the curve nuance of the pitch change as well.

Using Unison

You can utilize Unison by layering OSC sounds to thicken and widen your sound.

Unison Massive X

Turn on “Unison” in the “Voice” tab, and set the voice number from “2~6”.
When the voice number is set to 1, there will be no unison effect.

Width Spread

Adjust the sound width with “Stereo Width”, and use “Spread” to slightly change each unison pitch and add thickness by adding a “detune” effect.


By changing the mode to “Wide”, the pitch shift will be able to reach a max of 1 octave.

Chord Morph

When the “Chord Morph” knob is turned to the left, it creates a generic unison sound like mentioned earlier, but when turned to the right, each unison note will be set to the designated chord.


The chord type can be changed as well.
A single MIDI note can be used to play a variety of chords.

Using Routing for Sound Design

A unique characteristic of MASSIVE X is the ability to freely change the routing of sound.

Massive X Routing

Sections can be connected to control “filter/noise/feedback/effects/auxiliary” effects.

It may seem complicated at first, but there is only 1 rule to keep in mind.
The rule is that “the final oscillator sound heard will be the sound that reaches the arrow on the bottom right”.

Massive Routing

The connections can be deleted by double clicking.

OSC 1 Routing

For example, if you double click and delete OSC1’s sound line, OSC1’s sound won’t be heard, and you will only be able to hear the connected OSC2 sound.

Filter Masive X

For example, to pass the OSC1 sound through a filter, drag the OSC output to the input of “F_Monark” to connect it.

OSC1 Filter Massive X

It will look like this.
In this case, the OSC1→filter sound isn’t heard.
This is because the output stops at the filter.

Filter Sound Out Massive X

Because of this, connect the filter output to “X”.
By doing so, the OSC1 sound will go through the filter and reach the output.

OSC 1_2 Routing Massive X

In this case, only OSC1 will have a filter applied, and OSC 2 will be outputted without the filter applied.
You can freely change and control your sounds with these various connections.

X.Y.Z Massive X

This “X/Y/Z” is the effect section.
Individual effects can be applied to X/Y/Z.

X Reverb Massive X

For example, lets apply “Reverb” to “X”.

OSC1 OSC2 Reverb Effect-1

In this case, OSC1/OSC2 are connected to “X” and reverb will be applied to both.

OSC Effect Massive X

By connecting OSC2 directly to the output, you can also apply the reverb effect to just OSC1.

Rich sounds in the Noise Section

The noise section used to polish up your sounds and create sound effects has been upgraded.


2 types of noise OSC are on board, and the volume can be adjusted with the slider.
There are also a wide array of noise types, split into different categories.

There are machine/environment noises included, and can be used for a wide span of applications.

Pitch Noise

Use the “Pitch” knob to adjust the pitch of the noise, change the sound characteristic, and create variation.
In addition, using the envelope/LFO to create motion in the pitch is a common technique.

Noise Sound

If you don’t hear any noise being applied, check the output “routing” as mentioned earlier in the article.

Noise PM AUX Massive X

By connecting the Noise OSC to “PM AUX”, from the main OSC “AUX” you can use modulation using the Noise OSC.
This is a great method for creating incredibly intense sounds.

Massive Variations in the Filter Section

MASSIVE X has a wide array of filters on board as well.

Filter Massive X

As shown, you can choose from different filter types.

You can choose from famous filter types, to more unique ones.
The process of sound design is made enjoyable with some many types to choose from!

Filter Type Massive X

You can select “low-pass/hi-pass/band-pass/peak” etc from the selected filter type.
(the selection changes depending on the selected filter type)


If using a filter, be sure to remember to route it.
Like shown, for example you can also use it and not apply it to OSC2.

Rich Selection of Effects

From regular effects to intense tools, MASSIVE X contains a rich selection of effects.

Effect Section

Effects can be applied to “A/B/C” and “X/Y/Z”, with different types of effects that can be applied to each grouping.

Routing Effect

If we take a look at the “Routing” it is placed like this.

Routing Effect Massive

For example, on “OSC1” you could apply effects “A→B→X→Y→Z”, and on “OSC2” to you apply “C→Z”.

XYZ 並び替え

In addition, with “X/Y/Z” you can choose from 3 different patterns of routing.

Assigning Modulators

Massive X Tools

In the center of MASSIVE X, there are tools prepared that allow you to change the timing of knob/slider amounts.

Env Massive X

It can be used like the previous version of MASSIVE, by dragging each modulator to the desired knob/slider to assign it.
Of course, 1 modulator can be applied to multiple parameters as well.


After applying the modulator, drag the number amount up/down to adjust the amount (span of change in the sound).
The span of change in the sound will be showed visually according to the modulator’s color.

This application technique applied to all modulators.


There may be cases where you don’t have enough envelopes/lfos.

Envelopes/LFOs 2~9 can be freely interchanged.
For example, by changing an unused envelope to an LFO, you can access more tools for editing sound.

* Envelope 1 is set as a volume control “Amp-Envelope”


On the top of MASSIVE X there are “16 macros” available.
Similar to modulators, they can be applied to a selected parameter, and you can use the macro to control parameters using your “midi controller” or “KOMPLETE KONTROL”.


In addition, you can designate what parameter to change when moving “PB_pitchbend”, “M_modulationwheel”, and “AT_aftertouch”.

Envelope Section

Massive X エンベロープ-1

In the envelope section, “Shape” has been added for “A_attack” “D_delay”.
Because of this, you now can make more detailed adjustments to create nuanced sounds.

* Envelope 1 is set as a volume control “Amp-Envelope”

Exciter Envelope

In addition, a new “Exciter Envelope” has been added.

LFO Section

There have been added functions for the LFO as well.


“1shot” allows you to just apply 1 cycle of the LFO effect, and there are more LFO shape variations that have been added that are easy to use.

Click on the “Free” area and “Sync” to sync the LFO wavecycle with your DAW tempo.

Random LFO

In addition, a new type of “Random LFO” has been added.

Random LFO Massive X

As the name implies, the LFO wavecycle/movement can be randomized, and the LFO speed can be adjusted from “Rate”.
The randomization can be controlled from the center knob. This is great for creating SFX as well.

Tracker Section

トラッカー Massive X

The tracker section is a new modulator added in MASSIVE X.

The knob/slider effect amount can be adjusted by “pitch height” or “velocity” etc..

Reverb Massive X

A variety of uses is possible for this function.
For example, by letting the reverb effect amount change depending on the pitch height, you can set it up so the reverb is not applied to lower pitches.

Velocity Tracker Massive X

Using the velocity amount to change the wavetable points is another interesting way to use this.

Tracker Massive X

The played pitch is displayed with the yellow line.
Use the “Edit” tool to drag the line and create various curves.
This works great for making more detailed sounds.

Performer Section

The popular performer from MASSIVE has been upgraded as well.
It can be synced to tempo, with up to 8 bars of modulation possible.

範囲とズーム Massive X パフォーマー

Of course, detailed edits to the cycle can be made.
Drag the performance bracket above to determine the length (1 bar for this example).

You can zoom in/out from the slider on the bottom as well.

Performer Edit

The grid in the edit area will change depending on the selected subdivision/time signature.
Then simply click and drag to create variation.

Edit Perfomer Massive X

Centered is neutral, and will not apply any changes to the designated parameter.
Move the line up/down to create positive/negative amounts of an effect.

Edit Tool

In addition, by using the “Edit tool”, you can easily create more complicated lines.

Performer 適用 Massive X-1

The created curve can be applied to multiple parameters as well.

Bank Per Massive X

Up to 12 movements can be saved per Performer.
Click on the tab to create a new line or switch between other lines, and by double clicking you can name the line.

Per Massive X

In addition, you can switch between each Performance tab using your MIDI keyboard, allowing you to make realtime changes during a live performance.

Click the “Remote” button to check where it is being applied to.
As a default, the tabs are applied to the octave from “C-2~C-1” (12 keys).

MIDI Key Massive X

You can click on a desired key and apply it to your keyboard as well (changed to C1~C2 for this example).

Random Section

From “VR” you can randomize selected parameters.

VR Massive X

For example, by adding small randomization to pitch/filter/volume, you can create slight differences in the performance of each sound and easily add nuances.

Of course, using large amounts of randomization for creative sound design can also be easily done.


We hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

In addition to having incredibly modern tools on board allowing you to design your sound, MASSIVE X may have what it takes to change the music industry as it’s predecessor had done!
We highly recommend that you definitely try out this new and evolved synth!

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