Getting a beefy bass sound in Ableton Live
Joe layers kicks and classic Roland drum samples for Counterculture’s ominous, chugging low end
The foundation of Joe’s kick is a sample from a DSM sample pack, played back via Live’s Simpler instrument in a four-four pattern. Layering is key to Joe’s kick sound: “I would have just dropped a bunch of different kicks in here and played them against each other.”
The first additional kick layer is a mid-range sound, and the second a more ‘wooden’ timbre. “I try not to process things too much, I just use some functional cutting. Of course with that low end you really want the low to shine through, and with the top end you want to make sure all of the low is cut so there are no bad interactions there.”
As well as EQ, Joe uses Live’s Limiter to boost the level of some of the kick elements, and all the parts are routed through to a bus with Dada Life’s Sausage Fattener on it. “It’s amazing, it’s so simple but it really tightens things up and can get you a lot more volume out of them.”
The kick group is layered with another group that provides a wet, reverbed version of the kick, and a Roland TR-707 click. “I use that in pretty much every track, it’s important for the sound to punch through other elements.”
Counterculture’s bass sound is a Roland TR-808 low tom sample, again played back via Simpler. “It’s creating a bit of groove and a bit of rhythm with the kick. When you play them together, it’s almost adding a little bit of swing.” The tom is cut with EQ, sidechain compressed from the kick with a 10ms Lookahead setting, warmed with Saturator.
…then kick and bass are compressed with Live’s Glue Compressor, and their lows are boosted with Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack AirEQ Earth. Then they’re compressed again with Waves API-2500.