Sub-bass is one of the foundations of modern electronic music. Because of that, it requires close attention when it comes to processing, so as to make it sit in the mix properly. There are many techniques we can use to do that, and in the next tutorial we will present to you one of them.

We will start as usual with a previously made pattern inside our SoundBridge: DAW. Let’s listen to it.

~Full Mix – Without Sub Bass

As you can hear, in this pattern we have the basic elements of a full mix without the sub-bass. So let’s make one. For the sake of this tutorial, we have chosen the Massive synth by Native instruments. However, there are plenty of other alternatives, so feel free to use any synthesizer you prefer.

Synth settings for punchy sub

After writing a basic MIDI groove, we can adjust parameters in Massive.

We will use only one oscillator. First, let’s select a sine waveform. Here is how it sounds.

~Sub Bass – Basic preset

The next step would be to make a filter envelope. In this case, we will use both available filters and route them to envelopers 3 and 4, as shown in the picture below.

Both envelopes will have identical settings, except in the first, envelope 4, we will set a longer Decay and higher Level.

Here is how it sounds so far. We can hear the punchiness start to kick in. But it’s far from the end result.

~Sub Bass – With Filter Envelopes

The next step would be to add a fastpitch envelope modulation. This we will do routing the envelope 1 to the oscillator and setting the Decay and Level parameters to a very low value. After that, we will increase the pitch in the oscillator from 1 to 36, which is three octaves higher than the original. You can check that in the picture below.

Let’s hear how it sounds so far.

~Sub Bass – Pitch Modulation

One of the final steps in the processing would be to color the sub-bass with some additional EQ in order to tame some mid frequencies that are standing out. Also, a bit of ducking (sidechaining) will help the sub-bass glue better with the kick drum.

~Sub Bass – EQ & Sidechain

Here is the final result with the other elements of the full mix.

~Full Mix – Processed Sub Bass