Modern power synth plug-ins can create thick, complex and evolving bass sounds.
See some tricks below performed in Ableton Live.
Growling Bass Using FM Synthesis
The Sytrus soft-synth of FL Studio – Imageline is used here as FM Synth.
- Set Operator 1 to Square wave and play with some of its attributes: e.g. set the Attack Fast
- Set Operator 2 to Sine wave with fast attack. You can play as well with its parameters.
- Now set the OUT volume of Operator 1 on and Set in the Matrix Operator 1 / Operator 2 on.
- Go to Main and set the unison mode to 8 voices for example. You can play here as well with some unison parameters.
- Go to Operator 3 and set its envelope to a short loop, acting like an LFO to give some aggressive modulation and extra rhythm. Click in Operator 3 on LFO and set speed dial up. Adapt to your liking.
- Open Operator 2 OUT Volume and set Operator 2 / Operator 3 in the matrix on.
- We will now route Operator 1 to a filter for a touch of bite. Drive it hard. Set Filter on Operator 1 fully Open + the Filters OUT volume.
- All other operators are routed in parallel to the Out as well.
- For solid weight, we high-pass our synth channel and layer a sub tone underneath from a second Sytrus.
- Izotope Ozone 5 then adds subtle width and grit to the original patch on the high-end via its multiband compressor, harmonic exciter and stereo imaging modules.
Resampling and Frequency Splitting
Why not sample some outboard bass synth sound and then apply your favourite plug-in effects on several frequencies.
- Sample for example a Bass sound from the E-MU Orbit Dance Planet. Sample one note (tip: use C as base note) and hold it for 1 bar.
- Record the audio of that 1 bar note into your DAW. I’m using Ableton Live.
- Import the audio file into your plug-in sampler. In Ableton Live this is very easy: just drag the audio into the sampler instrument and voila.
- Zoom in on the audio in the sampler and make sure your starting point of the sample is the beginning of the bass sound.
- The sound will now retrigger perfectly every time a key is pressed, and it’s modulation will change speed as we play notes up and down the keyboard.
- Apply portamento inside the sampler: i.e. Go to Pitch/Osc tab and select Portamento in the Glide field.
- Group the sampler into an Instrument Rack. Right click on the sampler and select Group.
- Copy the instrument in the rack and paste it again in the rack. Now we have two instances of the sampler.
- We will use these splitted instances to apply different effects on the low and high frequencies.
- Apply a low pass filter on the first instance for manipulating the higher frequencies. Use EQ Eight from Ableton Live.
- Apply a high pass filter on the second instance for manipulating the lower frequencies.
- Experiment on the higher frequencies with multiple effects like wideners such as AutoPan, modulation and spatial effects like reverb and delays. Below I used Distortion (Overdrive), Chorus and Reverb on the Higher Frequencies.
- I used an Amp and Distortion (Overdrive) on the lower frquency.