Tips for making good bass for full-on please!

Aphasia Dec 10, 2004

  1. Aphasia

    Aphasia oh go on then

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    Hi

    Im having real trouble with the bass line sounds for full-on stuff. I really want to try and create that fat punchy, full and bouncy bass that you hear on a lot of full on track these days. Bass that when you put it into a four note run for example you can really feel the rhythm, upfront and cheeky. Absolum, Polaris or IM for example. Ive got a virus b which i can only get to do floppy-deep or angry bass and novation bass station which i can only seem to make wet, aciddy or again too sub-low bass. Im using sonar and sound forge. Any tips please on using these instruments, plugins or instruments to get, or eqing etc???

    Thank you so much!

    Phil
     
  2. JPsychodelicacy

    JPsychodelicacy Studio Elf

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    OK - most full-on bass is just a basic saw wave with a low pass filter and envelope. If I'm using Cubase, I tend to use either the Muon Tau Pro or the Novation V-Station, if I'm using Logic I use the ES-M, which is like a one-stop shop for psy-trance bass. To be honest, it doesn't really matter what you're using, the principle remains the same.

    What you're after (if I understand you right) is a bass sound that has punch, but doesn't interfere too much with the higher frequency sounds that the rest of the tune is made up of. In this case less is more. Firstly you need to decide how much of the 'punch' is carried by the kick drum (the longer the kick drum sounds, the more it'll interfere with the bass). Above 147bpm you don't have that much time for each individual bass note to register what note it's actually playing, so if you're going for 16th-notes, make sure the note sounds for long enough to hear. This is where an amp envelope can help you. To start with turn everything but the sustain down and set the bass notes with the length you think is right. If you think it rings for too long, take the sustain down, and if you want it to ring for longer, up the release a bit.

    As for the synth settings themselves, you'll want a single oscillator saw wave and a low pass filter with filter envelope. Turn the envelope off at first and tweak the cutoff and resonance until you've got a sound you're happy with (setting up a basic one bar loop really helps here). To give it that 'click' - that's where the envelope comes in. Tweak the envelope decay so that you get a nice clicky sound, but make sure the decay is pretty fast - you don't want your bass interfering with the mids and highs to the extent that it takes away from your lead synths later. Experiment with all four envelope controls until you've got a sound you're happy with.

    As you add more parts to the mix, you may want to tweak the amp and filter envelopes to fit the whole tune better. This is where the dreaded 'experimentation' phase kicks in... learn to make that part of it fun, and you'll be sorted in no time.

    I really hope a single sentence of that made sense, as I'm a bit drunk and unsure...

    J.
     
  3. Continuum

    Continuum Throb Farmer

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    Nope J thats what I was going to say. I'd also add that separate eq of the bass + kick is essential to strip out the low freq mud and give both sounds the space to live in. Firium is my fave eq for this..
     
  4. Aphasia

    Aphasia oh go on then

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    Cheers J and AC for that,

    Just the sort of advice i needed. have already got a fattish sound developing, will continue my experimentation into the night...nice one!

    px
     
  5. Marc

    Marc Scratchadelica

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    :goodthre:

    cheers peeps ... b-lines seem to give me a world of agro :/

    peace,
    m
     
  6. Wandering Kid

    Wandering Kid Junior Members

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    further to the replies above.

    you have a virus b! thats a monster for producing basslines! :Grin:

    theres a couple of things though. sub bass frequency is typically 35 to 50 hz. too much presence in the sub range makes your tune muddy. around about 60 to 120 hz is where the bulk of most kick drums reside but alot of your bassline will also occupy the same frequency. what you need to do if you bassline is sounding muddy is to get a parametric EQ and make a notch where the peak of your kick drum is (check it on a spectrum analyser). most of my kicks have their peak around 60 to 65 hz with alot of presence going up to abot 150hz where it drops off suddenly. you may also want to shelf off some of the sub by lowering the slider on the EQ around 35 hz by 1 or 2 dB to get rid of some of the murkiness.

    the hard notch will allow the kick drum to punch through the bassline a bit more but your bass will sound weaker as a result of both of those. i compensate this by compressing the bass (more often i compress the kick as well). check on the spectrum analyser where the peak of the bassline is. if its muddy it should have too much presence between 35 and 75 hz. find the peak and dB of the peak. set the threshold of the bassline lower than the peak of the bass. and up the gain. what that will do is flatten out the presence of the bass and it will make it overall, louder. this makes up a little bit for the ground you gave way to the kick.

    i sometimes also layer a lower mid range kind of bassline with it to give it a bit more presence 'around' the kick. experiment with the EQ and compression tools cuz these are absolutely the most important tools you are gonna use for production. and good luck getting those phat rollers.
     
  7. makdaddy

    makdaddy Guest

    but really try and get the best sound you can without using any of the above! and perhaps omit the notes that land on the 4/4

    imak x
     
  8. Faction

    Faction Proto-col

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    Good luck!
     
  9. makdaddy

    makdaddy Guest

    what i was trying to say was dont rely on these tools (eq & compression) too heavily for shaping your sound - it needs to be good to begin with

    and not as colin took it ".....without using any of the above![/quote]" being this entire thread....derrrr
     
  10. Pricey

    Pricey Ontologist

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    :goodthre:

    Excellent advice! I'd also reccomend boosting around 110-112Hz when you're all done and happy - this seems to be a favourite 'Psy-bass' frequency. Strangely enough there are a multitude of burial and 'sacred worship' chambers in various countries from times past that resonate around 110-112Hz... it seems that this frequency has some undefinably pleasing effect on the human brain :Smile3:

    I would agree with the comments above about getting the right sound before trying to boost around this sort of EQ, but it can just give it a bit more oomph whe you're there.

    Oh, and try the VB1 synth (freebee with Cubase I think) if you want a classically overused (and annoying to some) 1200 Mics stylee sound. This is probably more effective if you chain it to something a bit more 'real' i.e. with some better bottom end and and more life-like harmonics.

    And remember to check it's a danceable riff too - the groove's all in the bass!
     
  11. Wandering Kid

    Wandering Kid Junior Members

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    the right sound is subjective. you will be doing most of the sound shaping on the filter of the synth. so im assuming you've programmed the sound you want, more or less but want to keep it fat and tight in the mix. the EQ and compression is to make it sit well in the rest of your track. if your bassline is muddy its most likely clashing with something else your track - nearly always the kick drum.

    if its muddy just playing on its own then...errrr something is seriously wrong with how you programmed it. back to the drawing board. or put it through a speccy analyser and check out the problem frequency range. i normally dont boost frequencies on EQs unless i have to because it chews up headroom and i like my tracks nice and LOUD. eheheheh.
     
  12. Christos

    Christos iHelper

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    try this one:

    1. Set up your oscillator waveforms
    OSC 1 - Sine
    OSC 2 - Sine
    OSC 3 - Triangle


    2. Set amplitude amounts
    OSC 1 - about 75%
    OSC 2 - about 75%
    OSC 3 - about 50%
    It is important at this stage not to allow any clipping or distortion to the signal, or it'll sound like a cheap Karaoke remix!

    3. Offset pitches
    OSC 1 - minus about 33 cents
    OSC 2 - plus about 33 cents
    OSC 3 - minus 12 semitones (1 octave lower)

    4. Turn up the 3rd oscillator until the patch rumbles "right"...
    EG
    OSC 1 - about 75%
    OSC 2 - about 75%
    OSC 3 - about 80%
    Again - it's important not to let the singal clip. If it does, bring all 3 oscillators down.

    5. Set monophonic mode.
    Make sure the synth only outputs 1 MIDI note at a time - but DON'T put it in unison mode, because we don't want to detune the oscillators any more than they already are. Then play the patch in the lower regions - octaves 1 and 2 should sound nice.

    If you've used the right waveforms, and don't have any additional filter or amplitude manipulation, you should should have achieved a nice authentic sound.

    Besides programming your synth, compress the shit out of it. Attack and release times depends on what you want to achieve. If you need an audible attack don't shorten your attack to much, as it will cut off the initial transient and the sounds starts to get undefined. Same for release here,if you want to keep your attacks then just time it so it's a bit shorter then your shortest note.
    If just need pressure (say for some of this never ending lfo modulated basslines) just make the release long enough that it stays compressed the whole time and turn the makeup-gain up and it will go boom.

    If you're using a DAW that supports sidechaining (like logic or DP, or this can even be done in Reason) then you can have your bassdrum duck the compression on your bassline. When the kickdrum is triggered the compression effect is reduced and when the kick is over, the compression slams in (with a speed depending on the attack parameter on your compressor). The result is that the kickdrum "punches holes" in your bassline so that you can get less interaction between them. Very useful for all styles of electronic music where you need huge basslines.
    This can be done in Cubase too btw with tc's native bundle (works great!) or waves c1 (with a bit of setup).

    Hope these tips will help a bit :Wink3:

    have fun,
    c. k.
     
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