While searching for a complete in-depth tutorial on how to create a bass sound, I figured it would be nice to have a threat on the subject here. A bit like this one one kick drums Kick drums & basslines from sine oscillators, LFOs and envelopes. I am not looking for a specific bass sound (plenty of tutorials), but more for a getting started guide that gives inspiration for experimentation.
Since I would like this to be an interactive threat, I have made a list of questions - with or without answers - instead of just facts. If you have anything to add, please do comment, I will update the post accordingly. Extra questions are welcome as well of course.
If your source of knowledge is anything else than your own wisdom, please add the source.
ANATOMY OF A BASS
What does a typical bass sound look like on a spectrum analyzer?
The harmonic content of a ‘natural’ electric bass consists of all harmonics, up to a certain frequency.
What techniques for bass generation techniques do exist?
The simplest, most basic bass wave is a sine wave. This wave can be augmented by other waves, or other techniques that add harmonic content to add some bite and character. Examples of these other techniques are distortion and FM.
What would a schematic overview of these techniques look like (SOS style)?
Which waveforms should I use?
Either a single waveform or multiple waveforms can be used. When stacking waves you can tune them an octave or a fifth apart. Some potential combinations are:
- Square with different pulse widths
- Stacked squares
- Sine/tri + saw/square
- Square + saw
How should I tune these waves?
If stacked, detuning the waves slightly - maximum a few cents - can create a thicker sound.
Does the upper part of the spectrum need a stereo sound? How can this be done?
Which VCO’s are most suited?
Judging by the broad range of suggestions on the www, I conclude it doesn’t really matter as long as the basic waveforms are available.
- Vult Bleak
- SL EV3
- SL Saws
- Lindenberg Woldemar
- BogAudio FM-OP
- Valley Dexter
- Valley Terrorform
Which techniques can be used to enrich the original wave?
Which wave shaping units work well with bass sounds?
- Vult Debriatus
Where should wave augmentation be placed in the signal chain? Before the filter? After the envelope?
Which filters are most suited for bass sounds?
- SL Stairway
Are different envelope generators and other modulation sources used for every wave?
Which envelope type is used where and what are its characteristics? With type I mean convex, concave, linear.
Do you use the same envelope for cutoff and resonance?
Filter cutoff envelope
Filter cutoff modulation
- Audio signal from the highest square wave.
Filter resonance envelope
Filter resonance modulation
Is it a good idea to add a little bit of noise to get more attack and fullness?
Abbreviations: SL = Squinky Labs