The amount of the info on the subject is tremendous but the problem is how to filter the actually useful info and leave the bollocks out. There are Youtube tutorials, 130+ pages Isratrance thread etc, but most of the advices and tutorials usually boil down to “I use these settings and it works for me”. If it works for someone else, it doesn’t automatically mean it will work for me since the tracks’ key, the bass pattern, the kick are just as important as the bass synth settings (huge thanks to Imba for sharing his bass patch, but I still haven’t even tried it cause I don’t expect it to change my world). So this thread should be more about the basic concepts rather than sharing settings and Youtube (which is also welcome though).
So well, what may be important from my experience.
- The synth choice. Some people say that every synth is fine as long as it has a saw oscillator and a 4 pole LP filter. This is not my experience, I think some synths do it much better than the others. Sylenth seems to be popular for a reason and I’ m getting the best results with it so far.
- The key of the track. I’m writing most tracks in E minor because it’s easier for me to write the melodies in this key, but I guess it may be not the best key for the bass. What keys are commonly used?
- The amount of oscillators or waves within one oscillator. Sometimes stacking several saws in one oscillator with locked phase and zero stereo spread sounds better than one saw, sometimes it doesn’t. Seems to work better for one note patterns like in progressive than for jumping full-on bass.
- The starting phase of the oscillator – may make drastic change depending on the note length.
- The suboscillator. I commonly use sine wave admixed to the saw one octave lower. The relative volume may depend on the key and the bass pattern, I think one note proggy patterns will sound fine with much louder sub than full-on basses jumping over one of two octaves, these usually require way less sub if any.
- The filter and amp envelopes. This goes without saying that they are very important but I think they may be mostly set by ear. Highly depends on the bass pattern.
- The external processing. All the tracks on my soundcloud have the bass decorated with various plugins like New Year’s tree, but I think none of these basses are especially good. Now I’m gravitating towards minimal processing, basically only an equalizer and a monoizer, al least it is easier to control. As for the eq settings, it was independently confirmed by two guys with very good ears that the harmonic frequencies can mask the fundamental bass tone making the bass muddy (e.g. if the bass is in E, 165 HZ may be a problematic area, where a wide cut may improve the clarity of the bass).
What else may be important?