Sat­u­rated subs

It’s time to crank up those sub­woofers – DnB hot­shot Ed:it shows you how to syn­the­sise and drive your way to sub-bass per­fec­tion

Computer Music - - Studio Strategies -

If you want your tracks to elicit a vis­ceral re­sponse from a dance­floor, a weighty sub-bass part is es­sen­tial. When de­signed, pro­grammed and mixed ef­fec­tively, this de­cep­tively sim­ple el­e­ment will drive your drop home like noth­ing else.

‘Sub bass’ can be de­fined as the fre­quency re­gion of between 20Hz and 60Hz, give or take, mean­ing a fit­ting bassline can be crafted from any sig­nal fea­tur­ing suf­fi­cient low-fre­quency con­tent. Some­times I start with a raw sine or tri­an­gle waveform from a synth, other times I’ll sam­ple the bot­tom-heavy TR-808 kick, and then there are times when only a more har­mon­i­cal­lyrich Reece sam­ple will do.

In this month’s Stu­dio Strate­gies step-by-step guide, I’ll fo­cus on the first ap­proach by syn­the­sis­ing a sim­ple bass tone with a vir­tual in­stru­ment. As sub fre­quen­cies in­her­ently lack midrange up­per har­mon­ics, low-fo­cused basslines of­ten don’t trans­late to smaller speak­ers, which is why I’ll show you how to em­pha­sise those midrange and top-end har­mon­ics with gutsy sat­u­ra­tion treat­ments, with­out com­pro­mis­ing the gut­tural raw­ness that we as­so­ciate with low-reach­ing bass.

Although less is usu­ally more when it comes to sub-bass de­sign, there are a few pro­cess­ing tricks you can use to get away from a straightup, static tone. Let’s dive deep and get low…

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