Ben Cantil on Z3TA+ 2 – Teaching Synthesis & Sound Design at Berklee Valencia

We recently had the opportunity to catch up with our friend Ben Cantil (aka. Encanti) – EDM Producer, author of the Mutant series Expansion Packs, and evangelist for Z3TA+ 2.

Who is your Masters Sound Design Course at Berklee Valencia geared towards?
I am working with young professionals from all walks of life who have come to Berklee Valencia to earn their Master’s degree, especially as part of the Music Technology Innovation program. My curriculum emphasizes practical and professional applications of creative music software. Some of these students will become sound designers, but many others will become engineers, stage musicians, film scorers, and installation artists, so I try to find common threads to make the content really relevant and useful no matter where you take your skills outside the classroom.


What are your goals for the students in your class?
This course is all about the fundamentals of sound design. The first goal is to equip students with creative and technical skills for generating sounds from scratch, emulating sounds, and composing unique sonic gestures intuitively. Another goal of this course to produce content using a variety of different medians. I think it is an ideal class for anyone that learns best from hands-on experience.


What are some of the Cakewalk Products being used in your class?
Z3ta+ 2 is a major part of my masters sound design course. We spend several weeks building patch libraries and sequences to make the synth really sing. I’ve found this is the ideal plugin to use when teaching synthesis, because it’s so unrestrained and versatile without being a processor hog.


In what ways are you using Z3TA+ 2 as a teaching tool?
One popular recurring project we’ve had is synthesis dictation: I make a sound with Z3ta+2 and play it back, and the students have to re-create the patch just by listening to it.
I’ve had an in-class project scoring sound design for film.  We used a clip from Transformers 3 and made sounds for one of the transformation scenes – some of the Z3ta+2 sounds came out sounding better than the actual clip!


What was your inspiration for the Mutant Reload pack?
All of the patches were created while writing musical ideas and teaching music synthesis lessons as part of the Music Technology Innovation masters course at Berklee Valencia, so these sounds have seen some real action being put to the test in many musical contexts.  I have to thank my department head Stephen Webber for bringing Z3ta+2 in to the program here, because it’s become such an important tool for what I teach, and this library is direct the result of being used all the time.


What are a couple of use-cases for these sounds?
The bank that I’ve found the most useful has been the “Keys” section.  These sounds are just amazing for chord progressions.  If you’re making trance or some kind of epic buildup for any electronic music, you can just scroll through these presets and find the right flavor.  These sounds are all over my new album Freakquency which is coming out July 15.  The other highlights are my trap bass sounds, which are basically a bunch of better alternatives to your everyday 808 kick samples, and also the series called “Dip Low” which explores the talking lead sounds you hear in a lot of electro and heavy bass tracks.


Anything else you want to add about them?
The secret ingredient is love!  I made this library because I love making music.  These are the finest presets I’ve ever produced, and I promise that that these banks will serve as choice ingredients for taking your Z3ta+2 productions to the next level.