Future Cool Bass Creation

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.

  1. Set Operator 1 to Square wave and play with some of its attributes: e.g. set the Attack Fast
  2. Set Operator 2 to Sine wave with fast attack. You can play as well with its parameters.
  3. Now set the OUT volume of Operator 1 on and Set in the Matrix Operator 1 / Operator 2 on. Screenshot Bass 1
  4. Go to Main and set the unison mode to 8 voices for example. You can play here as well with some unison parameters.Screenshot Bass 2
  5. 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.
  6. Open Operator 2 OUT Volume and set Operator 2 / Operator 3 in the matrix on.
  7. 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.
  8. All other operators are routed in parallel to the Out as well.Screenshot Bass 4
  9. For solid weight, we high-pass our synth channel and layer a sub tone underneath from a second Sytrus.
    1. This can easily be done in Ableton Live by grouping the Sytrus as an Instrument Rack and copying the Sytrus sound twice in the instrument Rack. As per picture below.    Screenshot Bass 5
  10. 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.Screenshot Bass 6

 Resampling and Frequency Splitting

Why not sample some outboard bass synth sound and then apply your favourite plug-in effects on several frequencies.

  1. 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.e-mu-orbit-197961
  2. Record the audio of that 1 bar note into your DAW. I’m using Ableton Live.
  3. 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.Smapler 1
  4. Zoom in on the audio in the sampler and make sure your starting point of the sample is the beginning of the bass sound.Sampler 2
  5. 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.
  6. Apply portamento inside the sampler: i.e. Go to Pitch/Osc tab and select Portamento in the Glide field.Sampler 3
  7. Group the sampler into an Instrument Rack. Right click on the sampler and select Group.
  8. Copy the instrument in the rack and paste it again in the rack. Now we have two instances of the sampler.
  9. We will use these splitted instances to apply different effects on the low and high frequencies.Sampler 4
  10. Apply a low pass filter on the first instance for manipulating the higher frequencies. Use EQ Eight from Ableton Live.Sampler 5
  11. Apply a high pass filter on the second instance for manipulating the lower frequencies.Sampler 6
  12. 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.Sampler 7
  13. I used an Amp and Distortion (Overdrive) on the lower frquency.Sampler 8
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