The Weeknd "Sacrifice" Breakdown

Ever since The Weeknd released Dawn Fm in January we've been listening on repeat non-stop to the entire album for a few months, if you haven't noticed by the amount of tutorials we have of The Weeknd we're big fans so even before sacrifice came out as a single we were already hooked with that song, so now is the time to make a tutorial on how to achieve such great sounds.

This article was possible because all of the presets from this breakdown came from our Dark Synthwave Serum pack and it has have 20% off with the code: DS01.

Let's start by saying the obvious, we know is impossible to recreate a guitar in a synth all the nuances of the guitar player get lost, even with the best guitar vst out there it just doesn't sound natural, but as you know we are Serum lovers by heart and the whole point of this remakes is teaching you new things in Serum, so we decided to sample a one-shot we made of a telecaster we have, we run it through some pedals and amps to get the tone right and load it into Serum.

When you drag a one-shot into the noise oscillator (always try to make sure the sound you are imported is in C3 so it stays in tune) enable the one-shot mode and the pitch tracking as shown in the image above this will make the sound playable in different notes and not just C3 also if you want it to sound a little more organic and less robotic route the velocity to your level, at the end we added an ICanHasKick wavetable in oscillator "A" and a FFT_Add_3rds in oscillator "B" for a little body and that was it.

The bass is actually quite simple, in the verses is only giving movement and a little groove once the bridge and the chorus enter it only plays the root notes so it's not quite complicated, to make this patch we use a Basic_Mdc the wavetable position is at around 120 and the sync at 2.5 in oscillator "B" we have a Sine wavetable with some FM modulation, both oscillators have 4 voices so the sound it's a little bigger, now our envelope 2 is modulating the filter cutoff and resonance and that's it.

To make this sound we needed two layers one that added the body and some kind of more mellow sound and one with a lot of harmonies and air, so let's start with layer one.

For this patch oscillator "A" is using a MB saw wavetable with a little bend modulation coming from LFO 1, oscillator "B" is using an Analog_BD_Sin with some FM modulation, now the filter has some comb filtering making the patch sound more bright.


Now, this layer complements the first one to perfection since the first one gives all the brightness this one gives the body and warmth to the sound, in oscillator "A" we use a BottleBlow with LFO 1 modulating the wave table position to give some movement, oscillator "B" is using a Dist Sub Dskperc, now envelope 3 is modulating the cutoff so nothing above 6 kHz passes. 

This pad is a classic sound used in many songs in this instant is being used in the bridge and in the chorus it's actually just the B note being sustained but it gives some disco retro vibes to track, to make it we started with an ICanHasKick in oscillator "A" with the wavetable position at around 100, in oscillator a "B" a DQR_SAW_Wrd wavetbale is being used, now to get that sweeping effect envelope 3 is modulating the filter Band 12 opening it slowly so it sound as natural as possible, now a trick i use to make the patch sound wider is to maodulate the pan with the LFOs.

Now the time has come for the final synth, in this, presets we used two Jno wavetables the one in oscillator "A" is in its first position and the one in the oscillator "B" is in its third position, now the main characteristic of this sound is that the resonance in the filter is quite high and also to make it sound wider and bigger we use a lot of hyper dimension and chorus in the Fx tab, also use the compressor with multiband mode on.