How do they get that deep bass?

I’ve been trying to get that low bass sound that you often hear on rap tracks, but I just can’t get the power on the lower notes. Listening to eg So High by Mist/ Fredo, the bass drops from Bb1 to F#1 to E1 with the E1 still retaining high power. But when I try to reproduce that, Bb1 fine, F#1 OK, but E1 sounds so weak.
(I used the B-Low patch in Massive in Cubase 10.5 Pro).
I figure that the producers are somehow fattening it with saturation/ compression? but I can’t work out how.

Similarly, Jay-Z / Kanye West in Ni**as in Paris hit some really low notes that I can (weirdly) hear on my cheapo earbuds (sounding good) but the notes don’t sound at all on my AKG 240 headphones as they drop below the freq range. Are they somehow using harmonics to give the impression of low freq?
(as well as extremely expensive production tech:-))
Thx if anyone can point me in the direction.

Take a song. Take 2 bars from a song where bass is prominent then add low pass filter to it. Then add reverb.

I think you’ve nailed it. It’s a combination of slow compression to help even out the levels between notes, and saturation to give a few higher harmonics for small speakers to play.

When I mix/master, I make the assumption that people’s systems can’t actually play back anything below 120-150hz, so I highpass the bass and see how well I can still hear it. Often I give a little boost in that 100-200 hz range. If you’re making the bass from scratch, you could take it a step further and layer in some harmonics on your own. A bass patch that has worked really well for me lately is a square sub playing my lowest notes with a triangle an octave up reinforcing it. I’d stay away from clean 808s and sine waves as you are going to have to do some extra work to them to make them audible above 120hz or so.

Im gonna go ahead and say no… don’t do that.


@white_noise Has the right idea here, and so do you, even if it’s difficult to put into practice.

Practice working with sounds like @White_Noise described in his reply, play around a bit, and you’ll start to figure out what works. It’s one of those things that’s going to require some practice and a lot of patience to nail.

You can also bounce all your notes to audio and just manually adjust volume on each then bus it all back together. Its tough with those sub freqs for sure!

Also. It should be in mono for sure if you are not doing that :slight_smile:

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Less technical and surgical. Plenty of things to try. Soft clipping, compression, saturation to generate extra harmonics. Some digital compressors that are modelled after some analog stuff have internal saturation control. glue compressors with soft clipping features are awesome for that too. Also multiband processing.


Thx. I’ve definitely got patience: I’ve been walking back and forwards to the car to listen to each mix and wonder why it still doesn’t sound good:-)

Will try that on a loop. I know it should be in mono, but now I’m wondering if it actually is! Better check

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Thanks. I figured that a pure sine would be too weak, and I’m gonna try layering squares and subs today. Great help, thx

I’m going to try out every suggestion!

Cool. I figured most people know the mono thing just a friendly reminder :slight_smile:

Some pitch modulation via an envelope might help emphasize the attack, so your sub is somewhere between a tuned kick and a sub bass line. I find that method helps out with pure sine subs

Ableton’s Operator is great for this as you can create your sound and if needed go back and dial it in with the time macro and the pitch mod depth macro. 2 knobs to get your pitch and time right.


Thanks. I thought I’d be able to find pre-sets where all the sound design had been done, but I’m actually kind of pleased to find that it needs some work to get it how I want it.

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