HOMESHAKE Synth Sounds

homeshake synth sounds

Homeshake, aka Peter Sagar, is a solo musician from Montreal known for RnB influenced indie-pop with a lo-fi, home-recorded aesthetic. Formerly Mac DeMarco’s live guitarist, Sagar uses cheap synthesizers and drum machines to accompany his guitar playing and soft vocal delivery; his newest album, 2017’s Fresh Air, expands upon his sound by incorporating adult-orientated rock into his palette. I’ll dive into his sound, analysing the equipment Homeshake uses to craft his sound and the way that he likes to choose and program his tracks.

Hello Welcome

Sonically, there’s a lot more of an electronic influence on the record – what about this genre made you want to dive into it on the album? One thing was that I was becoming disenchanted with the guitar a little bit as a writing tool, and I found the more instrumentation you allow yourself, the more texture and feeling you can convey through your music. I just needed something else to work with… And I found a good synthesizer for a good price on craigslist, so that helped. –Homeshake

Homeshake’s go-to pieces of equipment are a Korg Poly 61 and a Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 08. The Poly 61 was the successor to the Korg Polysix, and like the much more popular Roland Juno series, it used DCO’s for a sharp, bright sound. The Prophet 08 is a versatile modern polysynth capable of lush basses, mellow leads and super deep basses, it is commonly used by a variety of artists (Thom Yorke, James Blake, Sufjan Stevens) who appreciate it for it’s versatility.

I’ll use the software synth TAL U-NO-LX to emulate the Korg Poly 61 patches, as it’s an emulation of the similar Roland Juno. The Poly 61 didn’t have an onboard chorus effect, so none of the Homeshake patches will use the chorus effects section. A great software version of the Prophet is Arturia Prophet V, which is an emulation of an older Prophet synth, the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, a legendary 1978 synth that the Prophet 08 is somewhat based upon.


Every Single Thing

Let’s start with creating the keys sound in Every Single Thing using TAL U-NO-LX, which will introduce some of the modulation elements involved in the Homeshake patches. The patch uses a single square wave oscillator, so turn off the saw and sub oscillators and turn on the square oscillator. If you’re using another synth then keep in mind that this sound utilises digitally controlled oscillators (DCOs) which are prone to less detune than analog oscillators. 

Next we’ll adjust how the brightness of the sound changes over time, to make it sound more mellow and less static, which we’ll do by adjusting the filter (VCF) and envelope (ADSR) sections. Set both the HPF filter and VCF freq to around 4 to close the filters, then raise the VCF env to between 3 and 4 to start modulating the filter using the envelope. Now set up the envelope with a low sustain and very long decay (around 6/7) to create a fading envelope. Play a chord and you’ll hear the filter being controlled by this fading envelope. 

Lastly we want to create a detuned effect, like the sound is going out of tune slightly every time we play a chord, which we’ll do using the synths LFO modulation. In the LFO section set the trigger mode to sync and the delay time to 1/1; this will keep the LFO in time with our DAW’s tempo. Also click the INV button in the LFO section which willmake the oscillators go flat, rather than sharp. Apply this LFO to our DCO’s tuning with the LFO fader under the DCO section, at the top-left of the interface. Raise it to a setting between 1 & 2 to keep it subtle, as extreme settings will make the synth sound nauseatingly out-of-tune.

  • Every Single Thing Keys 00:00
  • Every Single Thing Full 00:00
everysingle keys

Wrapping Up

The synth sound in Wrapping Up involves using modulation to create a swelling effect. Set up a similar square wave patch to the one in Every Single Thing, but this time rather than applying envelope modulation to the filter, we’ll apply it to the overall volume. Switch the VCA mode from gate to env, which will control the amp volume with the envelope, then set the envelope with a long attack around 7, no sustain and a medium decay and release time. Set the LFO to subtly drift the tuning, this time in free time mode with a low rate setting. Check out the exact settings below.
  • Wrapping Up Keys 00:00
  • Wrapping Up Full 00:00
wrapping juno


The thick sounding keys track in Heat was likely recorded on the Prophet 08, utilising its polysynth capabilities to make an otherwise simple patch sound much richer. Start with the basic template Pro5 2 Osc and lower the fine-tuning of oscillator B to 1%. Lower the filter cutoff to halfway and raise the resonance to the 10 o’clock mark. Run this patch through sparing amounts of medium-sized hall reverb to make the patch sound less dry. Check out the full beat using a Prophet bass patch and another drum machine sample kit.

  • Heat Synth 00:00
  • Heat Full 00:00
homeshake heat prophet

Under The Sheet

Under The Sheets features a particularly complex patch that takes advantage of some of the Prophet synths advanced capabilities. Start with the Pro5 2 Osc template and set up the oscillator A with an octave up (+12) square wave, and oscillator B with a saw and square with the fine tuning set to 33% and PW (pulse-width) to the 8 o’clock mark. This will give you a really rich sounding base to start from. 

Now lower the cutoff to 9 o’clock and raise the env amt to 3 o’clock to start modulating the filter. Set the envelope with no attack or sustain, decay at 2 o’clock and release at 12 o’clock. This produces a sharp decay that together with the rich sound gives you a metallic plucking effect. Use reverb to make it sound less dry and you’ve got a killer synth patch.

  • Under the Sheet Synth 00:00

Call Me Up

This song has a clear 90s soul vibe to it, and the choice of synth patches and drum machine sound are largely responsible. The mellow lead is another Prophet patch, this time just using a single sawtooth oscillator (one oscillator sounds mellower and thinner than multiple detuned oscillators) and another envelope modulated filter, this time with the cutoff at 9 o’clock and the env amt at 11 o’clock. 

Set the filter envelope with a medium attack, long decay, low sustain and medium release, check the screenshot below for the exact envelope settings I found sounded closest to Call Me Up. When playing this patch pay attention to the different sound between long notes and short, punchy notes. Experiment with the filter envelope settings to see the different effects you can get, especially with the relationship between the attack and decay portions of the sound.

  • Call Me Up Lead 00:00
callme lead

For the pad chords, we’re going to turn to the Roland D-50. Billed a ‘Linear Synthesizer’, the D-50 was a powerful digital synth that was released as an easier-to-program competitor to the Yamaha DX7, and like the DX7 was capable of rich, complex sounds. It featured a joystick for easy sound manipulation and was the first synth to feature onboard reverb. 

Roland D50’s are still relatively inexpensive to find second-hand, and Roland have also released a smaller boutique version, the Roland D-05, as well as a software version that uses samples on their Roland Cloud service. Listen to the Call Me Up chords on the Roland Cloud D-50, with the preset Flute-Piano Duo. Check the D-50 sound and the full arrangement using my Fender P-Bass and another sampled Roland 808 drum kit.

  • Call Me Up Pad 00:00
  • Call Me Up Full 00:00
callme chords

Homeshake Presets

I’d like to do an ambient relaxation tape, but I don’t really know how I’d do it. Maybe just turn all my synths on and let them go crazy. –Homeshake

Thanks for reading! I’ve had tons of requests for this article ever since I wrote the Mac DeMarco pieces. Hopefully the walkthroughs shed some light on how these type of wobbly, modulated synth patches are created, and hopefully you’ll be inspired to take these sounds into your own music.

The Homeshake presets from this article are also included in the Synth Sounds Collection, a free preset pack collecting the synth presets from all of my articles in one download.

If you enjoyed this article then consider supporting the site by becoming a Patreon supporter, which gives you access to Patreon-exclusive remakes such as my remake of Homeshake’s Not U.

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Comments on HOMESHAKE Synth Sounds

34 thoughts on “HOMESHAKE Synth Sounds”

    1. I don’t have a Prophet Rev 2 so no, sorry. You should be able to use the settings from the Prophet V plugin as a starting point though.

  1. Hey ! Thanks a lot for this work.
    I have a question : I’m getting my first synth, and have views on Korg’s Minilogue, which I tried and liked. But I also really like the kind of sounds you’ve been workin on here. Do you think Minilogue might be able to reach such vintage sounds, with some effect pedals behind maybe ? Or should I just rather go for an other synth, like an used Yamaha Dx7 or a Reface CS ? (Juno’s and Prophet’s are too expensive)

    Thanks a lot

    1. I’d say avoid the DX7 as it’s not very fun to program, whereas the Minilogue is good fun and great to learn on, I have one, it’s not good for vintage sounds but it is great for getting a big range of sounds. My first synth was the Arturia Minibrute which I learned on until I could afford a Prophet 08.

      1. Thanks for the quick answer ! I’m going for the Minilogue, will learn my scales on it and then we’ll see ! I have one or two of pedals at home (like Caroline Météore) that may drive us into vintage and dreamy scapes anyway 🙂
        Thank you very much for the work and help, again !

  2. Hey man, nice work. I have a question. What other processing do you do to these plugins when you upload a sound on here. your samples sound a little different than mine (yours sound closer to the originals, even though I am copying the same settings from your screenshots). It sounds like maybe some sort of amp emulator or saturator or something?

    Also, could you tell us about the Bass synth on Every Little Thing? It sounds like you were able to re-create that one too.

    Thanks for the great work! I’ve learned so much from your site 🙂

    1. I didn’t use any amp simulator or saturator, the only effects after the synths were Ableton Glue Compressor on a light setting and Ableton Reverb.

      I left out the The Every Little Thing bass sound because I wasn’t too happy with, I couldn’t settle on the right settings. I think it’s just the Poly synth with both oscillators and a long attack/decay and no sustain on the filter envelope.

    1. Not next on the list, but would definitely cover them, they like Roland Junos so it’s likely pretty straightforward

    1. I love DIIV! Their sound is mostly guitars but I’ve been thinking about doing some guitar articles, so we’ll see!

    1. Hi, the Roland Cloud plugins are for OSX and Windows, I use OSX and they installed fine. The Roland Cloud emulation is pretty much the only D50 emulation at the moment, just because it was a really complex synth. NI FM8 is reasonably similar but doesn’t have the perfect D50 sounds.

  3. Hey, I was the dude who asked for this on the tame impala comment section. This is so amazing I really appreciate you coming through on this. As always you nailed the sounds too!

      1. I hate to be that guy asking for requests, but would it be possible for you to take a look at badbadnotgood’s synths on IV? I know they use a juno 60 live a lot and somehow were able to get the speaking gently sound on Matt’s korg SV1 (not really a board known for its sonic shapeability) and I also think I read somewhere they used a CS80 a lot on that album.

        Cheers man, have a good one

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