INTRODUCTION

As most sub-bases are mono, there is a shortage of tips & techniques for creating stereo sub-basses. Here I will walk you through how I made this 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. The key to a good synth bass is subtle movement. Each parameter should be finely tuned by ear to your liking after making these coarse adjustments.

The PATCH sounds like this…

 

OPERATORS

4

1 Sine wave carrier (F)

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

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

– 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)

5

– 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, so the bass is a bit more distinct.

 

ENVELOPES

Carrier

1

Attack – logarithmic, 50 ms.

Decay – 25 ms.

Sustain – 90%

Release – logarithmic, 250 ms release.

 

Modulator

2

Attack – smooth, logarithmic 800 ms attack.

Decay – none.

Sustain – 100%

Release – logarithmic, 150 ms.

 

Filter

3

Attack – immediate.

Decay – none.

Sustain – 100%

Release – logarithmic, 450 ms.

 

MODULATION

6

– Active LFO.

– Triangle or sine wave contour, which ever 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 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.

 

MASTER

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

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

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

 

FX

7

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

 

POSSIBLE CONTEXT