Changing the attack and release of a keyboard sound is another common, very effective tweak to make. Many good sounds that have some release after you let go of the key can sound sloppy when you’re playing faster phrases.

To fix this issue, just follow these steps:

  1. Go into the sound or program edit mode of your keyboard.

  2. Find the amp parameters or page, locate the amp envelope generator, and lower the release or release rate/time parameter.

    This step lessens or tightens up the ringing after you let go of a key.

    Note: Most synthesizers have dedicated front panel knobs for the amplifier envelope (likely labeled ADSR), so you can make this change without looking through menus or pages.

  3. Save your new sound.

    Give it a new name and save location so you avoid losing your first sound.

Likewise, a too-slow attack makes a sound hard to play quickly. To adjust the attack, repeat Steps 2 and 3 in the preceding list, substituting the attack rate parameter for the release parameter in Step 2. To speed up the attack, lower the value.

A quick tip is to take a quick on/quick off sound such as an organ and slightly slow up the attack and lengthen the release. This process turns the sound into a different type of pad sound, great for dreamier background chords in a slow song.

Some more advanced envelope designs offer a start level and then a second stage for the attack level and rate. To get a quicker attack, check to see whether the start level is very low or very high. If it’s quite low, try raising that level to the same level as the attack in the second stage.

To slow down an attack, a high start level may get in your way. If so, lower the start level back to 00 before working on the attack time.