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9.2 Advanced Synthesis: Bass

The use of filters in synthesis enable you to manipulating an original sound into an infinate number of variations. Chapter 13 contains more details of the filters that will be used for the following turorials, which are aimed at more advanced producers.

Phattening up a Bass

The essence of a Phatt Bass is the creation of many powerful harmonic frequencies. The following techniques can be applied to Phatten up a Bass synth.
Bass before.mp3
Bass after.mp3

*Use 2 waves, one detuned slightly flat, the other slightly sharp. The greater the variation, the more harmonic frequencies are created. Too much variation and the core frequency is lost.
*Use different types of waves, saw and square etc, to create the Bass.
*Isolate the mid to high frequencies. Add stereo chorus to add motion and widen the sound.
*Add distortion or overdrive to add power and grit.
*Add reverb to create space.
*Add compression.

Rapid Rhythmic Motion Bass
A very simple but effective use of Track Automation is to create diverse rhythmic patterns using a Cut Off Filter. The trick is to reduce the speed of the track during the recording of filter movement to add more precise automation.

Rapid Rhythmic Motion Bass.mp3

1) Create a Phatt Bass.
2) Add a simple Drum sequence with 16th hats.
3 ) Reduce the speed of the track by 1/2 and set up the sequencer to record any movement of filters.
4 ) Add a Low Cut Filter.
5) Play the track and record the up and down movement of the Cut Off filter in a rhythmic motion, similar to scratching, i.e. using a variety of fast and slow motions.
6) Repeat step 5 again using a Band Pass Filter.
7) Return the track to normal speed and play back.

Warble Resonance Bass

Experimenting with a very high Resonance and Low Cut Off filter can produce extraordinary and very gritty Bass sounds. Depending upon the VST or Synth you use the results will vary considerably.

Warble Resonance Bass.mp3

1) Create a Phatt Bass.
2) Maximise the Resonance and reduce the Low Cut Off filter to 10%.
3) Add a distortion filter at medium intensity.
4) Add a Low Cut filter set to 40 - 50 Hz to remove unwanted rumble.
5) Adjust the Low Cut Off and Resonance filter until the Bass sound produces a warble fluctuation, similar to an tremolo.