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
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…