Become a parallel professor


We have covered the use of parallel compression in one of our previous blog articles. It’s a technique whereby you use the compressor as a send effect (you’d traditionally use it as an insert) so that the dry and compressed signals are running in parallel. It’s a useful technique that allows better blending of the clean and processed signal. Consequently, it’s used widely among some of the best music producers out there. In the following blog, I would like to show you how you can use a similar approach to add more harmonic content to your bass sound.  I am talking about Parallel Distortion.

To summarize: it is done by making a new auxiliary (send/return) track, inserting a distortion plugin (or effects unit) of your choice on it, and sending it to the track you wish to distort. By pushing drive and tweaking tone, you will hear the effect generate new harmonics at the higher frequencies on the bass. This may help to thicken the sound further and make it more prominent in the mix, but can potentially clash with other instruments. However, there is no justification for adding a lot of high-frequency harmonics from distortion only to cut them out again with an EQ when you mix.


Let’s start distorting


I have previously made a short bass sequence using Scarbee MM-Bass ( a very realistic sounding live bass instrument that can be found within Kontakt by Native Instruments). This is how it sounds unaffected.




~Unprocessed Bass sound


Get your tweak on


Moving forward, I will create a new return track within SoundBridge and place a distortion plugin on it. In this case, I have chosen Saturn by Fabfilter. You can see that Saturn has 3 bands and each band has a different kind of distortion. These bands can be wide or narrow depending on which part of the frequency spectrum you want to affect with distortion. Therefore, this multi-band kind of distortion is pretty useful in my opinion. Once I finish with tweaking the distortion parameters, I’ll move on to blending it to the clean signal. By combining the processed (distorted signal) with our original signal using the send fader on the bass track, we can hear a significant change made to the overall sound.


Parallel Distortion


Last but not least, I will duplicate the bass channel and place a Q10 plugin by Waves and apply Pseudo stereo preset on it. This is because I want to make the bass sound a bit wider. We have covered Pseudo stereo technique in detail in some of our earlier blog articles. Feel free to check it out here.

In the end, let us hear the processed sound solo and after that accompanied by rhythm.


~Parallel Processed Bass sound


~Parallel Processed Bass sound + Rhythm


Download the patch here.