Key-tracking Bass
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Old 14-02-2016, 08:57 PM   #1
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Key-tracking Bass

I'm fairly confused about the concept of keytracking. I'm under the impression that because the lower frequencies are so spread out, that you need any eq adjustments you make on the bass to change with each bass note to keep the bass sounding consistant. At least I think that's the idea?

I've spent a fair amount of time looking for a clear explanation/tutorial on how to do this but there really isn't that much information around. Maybe its so obvious I'm supposed to know this already?

I make my bass using FM8 which as far as I can tell doesn't have any key-tracking function built in.

As you can tell I'm quite confused about the whole concept, can anyone enlighten me?

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Old 14-02-2016, 09:23 PM   #2
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Re: Key-tracking Bass

I don't know if this is too basic, but key tracking usually tracks the filter according to pitch so, as you say, you have more consistent bass notes. You could record all your bass notes separately from FM8 and then play them in a sampler.

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Old 15-02-2016, 12:56 AM   #3
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Re: Key-tracking Bass

Thanks for the input relic. Still confused though. After recording the fm8 samples and putting them in fl studios sampler there's really no difference. The best solution I have right now is to set up the eq for each individual note, which is probably a really long way of going about it. Apologies if this is beginners stuff, but there's nothing in the fl studio manual or even online that actually explains how to do this.

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Old 15-02-2016, 01:10 AM   #4
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Re: Key-tracking Bass

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Originally Posted by MothSound View Post
Thanks for the input relic. Still confused though. After recording the fm8 samples and putting them in fl studios sampler there's really no difference. The best solution I have right now is to set up the eq for each individual note, which is probably a really long way of going about it. Apologies if this is beginners stuff, but there's nothing in the fl studio manual or even online that actually explains how to do this.
Sorry, I should have been more specific. I meant that you should record the notes each with an adjusted filter setting so you are getting the same relative volume from each. The other option would be to setup volume automation for each note then record loops to audio. By that logic you could also just automate the filter was well.

I know it isn't always possible, but often I try to write my bassline with the notes that have the most consistant volume for the patch I created. Personally I don't mind some "dynamics" in my bassline due to relative volume changes due to frequency difference, but sometimes you write a funky bassline and some of the notes hardly sound at all on certain playback systems.

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Old 15-02-2016, 01:19 AM   #5
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Re: Key-tracking Bass

Key-tracking is quite basic actually. It allows a filter to move the cutoff according to your note value, so that they go together.

Say you have full/100% keytracking. You choose a bandpass, press A4 on your keyboard and dial in the root-note with the cutoff (basically the frequency of the note, 440Hz). Now if you play any other keys the filter cutoff (frequency) will follow the note you play.
That's the simplest explanation that I can give.

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Old 15-02-2016, 07:15 PM   #6
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Re: Key-tracking Bass

I think FM synths don't have key tracking filters because the harmonics are too complex and can vary from note to note (If you're using any amount of fixed frequency offset). Key tracking is more of a subtractive synth thing. I took a quick look at FM8 (on google images, I use sytrus myself) and you have something called key follow, which probably adjusts the volume or pitch of your various operators to try and keep the harmonics more constant as you play up and down the keyboard.
Personally, I don't key track filters very often, and I just lo-pass my basses if I do anything to them.
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Old 16-02-2016, 11:58 PM   #7
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Re: Key-tracking Bass

Evelon and White Noise are on the money. I find that key tracking has a negative effect on filter sweeps so I disable it most of the time.

I'm not a fan of FM8's default key tracking setting so it's one of the first things I adjust when making a patch.

If you want consistency in terms of volume for your bass sounds, try clipping, saturation or compression.
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Old 17-02-2016, 12:13 AM   #8
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Re: Key-tracking Bass

It depends upon whether you set keytracking to be at the high extreme or at the low extreme.
One use is to have low pass filters stronger in the upper octaves so that the notes sound more staccato and so that they aren't so shrill and bright. Meanwhile, the bass notes will be open and complex and unfiltered.

Or, you could do the reverse and make it so that the bass notes are more filtered than the treble notes. They would then respond more to the filter enveloping than the treble notes.

In Vember Surge, you can set keytracking to note amplitude instead of note filtering. So yeah, you can make the bass notes louder than the treble notes or vise versa. It's a bipolar setting in Surge.

Technically bass notes are closer together in Hertz than treble notes. By octave interval think of the gaps between 1 hz to 2 hz, 2 hz to 4 hz, 4 hz to 8 hz (and so on) compared to 440 to 880 hz and higher octaves. Higher octaves have more frequencies between them. That's part of the reason why white noise sounds higher in the treble. There's more frequencies being represeted up there compared to lower octaves. But Pink Noise has equal energy per octave (due to discrete filtering).

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