Share your bass sound design techniques thread

Yea I know dubstep is dead and seamlessr pretty much helped everyone uber hax that sound so…

Feel free to share your own bass sound design techniques…

Me personally I try to make two patches out of one custom preset…sometimes I do this and sometimes I have two instance of sytrus…

It’s all about those higher harmonics…messed up phases…tunings…Lfo’s…and macros…

Combining dry wet signals of the sound processed with a vocoder being modded by another synth using custom waveforms…some distortion and modding wierd filters made with eq

A touch of Glide/portamento…to get the pitch slide sound…

Etc…frequency band split…

Granular synthesis…and time stretching…

For glitchings wierd sidechains plus beat slicer and looping select transients

With some env mod…

And transient destruction with compression

I gave up and started making House music.

that being said, you pretty much covered it in a nut shell…

also, all those bad ass Dubstep and Nuero DnB sounds are FM8 (et al) NOT Massive : )


It’s funny, I thought I could do it too, but people kept saying my basses sounded too old-skool. So I’m making frenemies with basic fm tones and messing with the envelopes to just add a layer of more modern, hard hitting sound.

Also, and this goes for everyone, when in doubt, whip up an M1 preset. There are some real gems in there. I have some songs that are like 50% M1 presets and I have never ever gotten hate for it.

The M1 like the DX7 is so much of early dance music its scary.

Unison panning turned up …not the pitch just the panning.

Even though I just trashed Massive, I will say I wise NI would release its Dimension Expander as a stand alone FX VST…

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Serum’s Hyper Dimension is pretty much that on stilts. And you can just use Serum’s FX as a standalone VST, which is even better


Oh right on. Yea, I’ve got Serum. I’m not big on onboard FX with synths too often so I haven’t played with that a lot. Thanks for that tip man. I will be abusing that : )

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i forgot to add the compressing of layers adequately and triggering the layers in conjunction with the overall sound to get the sequence that you want…and when you you get to a certain point sound design is 30% of battle the the other 70% is mixing…

layer the mid range and the sub bass and if you want space out the upper frequencies…this might be my own bs but as i go up in frequency range the more space i add…i don’t use stereo imaging due to phase cancellation but that depends on how much stuff i add to the track…simple panning with stereo seperation works wonders

The greatest hack is to slap compression really hard, glue or mulitband. every time. Go hard. Use multiband preset known as OTT (everyone knows it), automate dry/wet. Then there’s saturation/distortion units. If any one you got lucky owning Saturn you’re sorted. Then there’s Izotope’s Trash that can rip audio in shreds. Ohmicide fuckery for complete annihilation. Multiband saturation/distortion in general really brings cool results. Short delay feedback loops, tape saturation also brings some digital artifacts in this extreme overprocessing. You can turn a simple sine wave into some really wild stuff just with effects. Just fuck with effects till you crash your system. Automate dry/wets, some other parameters. Bounce it. Assign other modulations, bounce it again.


Dude i would of never thought of using a multiband compressor in conjunction with distortion…seriously thanks. :slight_smile:

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Honestly, try OTT vst by Xfer for the beginning. It’s a free plugin which is a recreation of Live’s Multiband Dynamics preset OTT (stands for Over-The-Top). A preset of multiband compression… As VST effect… Because broducers loved it so much. It used to be a huge meme when dubstep was the thing. People were saying “just apply 9 OTTs on effect chain and you’re good” because it’s just extreme settings of multiband compression within one click. Compression, multiband or not, can be a creative tool too. It’s amazing for sound design. The rule is that there’s no rules when you’re making sounds from scratch.

For distortion I can apply guitar amps too. Like in Live we got this “Amp” device and I often use its “Blues” module. Yeah, I’m really making some blues music… cranks gain to 11. You can always automate dry/wet to turn these units on an off, send a bit of signal, reduce amount of it. See how the sound is being shaped. Then you can try frequency splitting for a bass. For example, applying effects in parallel, sending everything, let’s say that is below 80hz to a glue compressor with extreme settings with a bit of taste of saturation, then anything above it to something else, like lighter saturation, very short delay, ring modulation? Anything really, I’m just typing anything that comes to my mind. You can home-cook some complex effect chains just like that. Not only that, you can map that split frequency and just keep swiping till something cool comes out. Different values, different effects, their position in series - different sound in general. While doing it always record it in audio so you won’t miss that one sweet moment when you accidentally tripped on some knobs.


detune 2 saw waves, add a sine sub osc, set the filter envelope to 0 attack, dial the decay in by ear to the tempo of the track, 0 sustain, 0 release and set the arp to stun. :wink:

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I like to either layer a sampled guitar bass sound above a Moog or Juno from a VST or any synth bass over a sub and then use a flanger on the top layer which will give the bassline bounce. Needs to be used subtlety enough so you’re not actually hearing the flanger in the full mix just getting the effect. A little bit of compression to help glue them together but nothing to heavy otherwise you’ll kill the dynamics of the flange.

Sounds like a very French House type of approach, what sort of music are you producing?

Right so modulation of the harmonics of unison pitch…in sytrus in the pitch tab and after that than the unison sub tab…plus a scouch of FM mod = align phases in the unison setting a little panning not much though = instant reese bass…

Also multiply filter strength by however much…and mod cutoff fx addition optional…

C-1 to C1 Sine/Square/Saw -> Whatever -> Distortion (slightly) -> Compressor

“Whatevers” I like :

Grain Stretchers like Granulator
Flanger with low frequencies (act like a metallic beat repeat)
PHASERS oh my god
Frequency Shifting (I do this with Replika XT)

I draw my automation line accordingly, if I want a particular motion.
If I want to accuentuate frequencies, I put 2 bells on these frequencies and make em move accordingly.
For extreme resonances, big EQ bell before distortion.
For smooth frequency motion, average EQ bells moving, after distortion & compression.
For a nice notch filter, negative EQ bells between distortion & compression.

My go-to compressor is Waves H-Comp, I get those transients really fast.
I use OTT smoothly because I really don’t like that sound. Unless it is to transform weird background noises and shape em into badass growls. But you have to manage carefully these awful high frequencies.

But really, now I have a powerful machine, I’m all about Serum and wavetables.

Then I modulate with Replika XT & Portal. I like those Au5 growls, I really like smooth phasing and extreme frequency shifting.

Then I warp everything in Ableton, and at that point I have way too much growls for the track I’m producing, so I export a lot of things for later.

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Make a bass patch I like, slap on a compressor like a fairchild or Tube-tech, then a high pass filter on it and remove the frequencies that make my glove compartment rattle, then put a Pultec EQ on it usually attenuating further until i get that massive attack thin but phat slice of black liquorish :joy: