As most sub-bases are mono, there is a shortage of tips & techniques for creating stereo sub-basses. Therefore, here I will walk you through how I made a patch in FM8 and why I chose the settings I did. It is meant to be used in a booming Hip Hop or Pop production but could also be used in Dubstep or House music. In short, the key to a good synth bass is subtle movement. Each parameter should be finely tuned by ear to your liking after making these course adjustments.

The patch sounds like this…







1 Sine wave carrier (F)

– Firstly, route 100 percent into Z (low pass filter). Low pass filtering is a hallmark of good synth sub-basses.

– Secondly, Turn Key Sync On. This will make the cycle of the waveform start at the beginning of each trigger.

– Then, Push Velocity up to 27 percent. This will make the synth more sensitive to differences in velocity while recording, or after drawing in velocity values.

1 Sine wave modulator (D)

– Modulating carrier (F) by 60 percent. This will create a desirable amount of side-bands (added frequency content).

– Ratio of 2. This means the frequency of the modulator will be twice that of the carrier no matter what note is played.

1 LP filter (Z)




– Route to output 95 percent. We don’t want to overdrive the filter, but we want it hot.

– Cutoff around 1 kHz. We need those characteristic side-bands to be there when that modulation sweeps in, but we want to cut them off at about 1 kHz for more control and a better mix.

– A little bit of resonance. This provides clear separation in the mix, and the bass gets distinct.






Attack – logarithmic, 50 ms.

Decay – 25 ms.

Sustain – 90%

Release – logarithmic, 250 ms release.






Attack – smooth, logarithmic 800 ms attack.

Decay – none.

Sustain – 100%

Release – logarithmic, 150 ms.






Attack – immediate.

Decay – none.

Sustain – 100%

Release – logarithmic, 450 ms.






– Active LFO.

– Triangle or sine wave contour, whichever you prefer.

– Eighth note rate (Sync on).

– Modulate amplitude of Modulator by 100%. It will be interesting to automate this parameter after you’re done with the patch.

– Delay by the duration of modulator attack (about 800 ms in this case). Having the modulation sweep in at the climax of the envelope of the modulator is a common effect in bass synths.




– 2 voices, detuned and panned out about 25%.

– Set polyphony to Mono. This does not mean the output will be mono, it just means you can only play one key at a time.

– Turn up the analog quality by about 30%. This will add some natural-sounding warmth to the noise floor.






Short, bright and dry Reverb. It is important, but you should barely be able to hear the decay. As a result, it should just provide a sense of space to the low-mid range.