Synthesising monstrous ‘wobs’
Xfer Records’ Serum is Mustafa’s go-to synth for making his trademark big, bad bass sounds. Here’s how he does it…
Starting out with Serum’s initial saw-based patch, Mustafa activates the low-pass filter and modulates it with an envelope, tweaking the attack and release curves of the envelope to get an aggressive feel. The Filter’s Drive and Fatness get a rough and ready sound.
Mustafa heads to Serum’s FX page next, activating the Compressor in Multiband mode and turning up the Gain to achieve a suitable amount of loudness. “It’s instant fatness, basically! You can automate the top, mid and low bands, which is nice,” he enthuses.
To make the sound more complex, the second oscillator is activated and set to one of Mustafa’s custom wavetables. He sweeps the Wavetable Position knob to find a suitably filthy tone, and makes the oscillator sound even richer by turning up its Unison voices and tweaking the Detune and Blend knobs to taste.
In order to control the sound’s overall stereo width, Mustafa turns down the Unison Width. A chorus effect is added next, and Mustafa turns its Mix and Low Pass Filter knobs to max, then fine-tunes the Delay and Depth knobs.
Once Mustafa has the chorus sounding the way he wants it, he dials the dry sound back in with the Mix knob. Next a Distortion effect is added after the Chorus and before the Compressor, and Mustafa pumps up the Drive level to make the sound even grittier.
To process Serum’s output, Mustafa uses JST’s Gain Reduction, turning up the Gain knob to saturate the sound. Reverb comes courtesy of ValhallaDSP’s ValhallaRoom, with its lowest frequencies rolled off.