D&b Basses

I could never really figure out how to build good d&b bass sounds, which is pretty much why i don’t do d&b. I’m talking Current Value / Tech itch / Evol Intent type of grimy filthy stuff.

Anyone got pointers to get me started?

Collected from DOA

Reece: you take something like a synth with 2 detuned saw oscillators (up to you), export a .wav with one note or a melody playing (also up to you), and reload it into 2-4 samplers or so.
This lets you send each one into a separate mixer track, so that you can filter each one and use separate effects based on what frequencies are present.
For instance, distortion sounds pretty awful on high frequencies, but sounds good on highly filtered low frequencies. Also, you can add stereo effects to the high frequency component, but you should keep the bass fairly centered in the stereo field. Then you can add things like bandpass filter sweeps and other automated madness. Repeat as many times as is necessary.
Once you’re done, export the whole batch as a .wav and reload it into one sampler. Have fun playing melodies with it.

It’s pretty easy. Basically any subtractive synth will do.

Take two saw waveforms. Detune the second anywhere from 25-50 cents, depending on how wide you want it to sound.

Take the cutoff of a lowpass filter from anywhere between 90hz - 150hz. Just do it to taste, letting through however much harmonics you think sounds “right”.

Crank up the resonance - this is what gives a “reece” it’s really full sound. Be careful when you do this though, as this can get really loud at higher levels. Do it to taste, anywhere from 45%-100% (definitely depending on the filters on whatever synth you use).

There you have it.

In DnB it’s actually synthesis and sampling together. You create a sound you like, you sample it (usually at just one pitch, i.e. no multisamples, so that you can have that “obviously sampled” sound to it), maybe find some bad loop points within it so that it acts rythmically at few pitches (sound whoose loop is 1/8 @ C, will loosely have a loop dancing @ 1/8D on a G below that C etc.), and then use that sound as basis of further synthesis in a sampler.

So synthesize, resample. Layer two or three samples (one that is very subby, pure sine or just lowpassed to death, and then one for mids, one for highs etc.) to your sound etc.

Another trick is to have a simple sligty detuned sqare and lowpassed “sub” sound define your tone, and you layer some other stuff heavily lowpased above it (anything really, from people talking to furniture clanging) and high shelved so that bass sound defines the tone of it. Then resample this sound and you have an easy crazy patch with a lot of random movement.

You could also try time-domain or frequency-domain resynthesis. Won’t work very well for tight basses, but all sorts of other sampled material will work.

What conner said.
But with a nasty renoise example to perhaps help a bit.


Nice one!

Throw some Renoise Native effects like chorus, flanger, and distortion2 on the Sawaves. Put a Bus Compressor on the master track. It’s magic time!


you might wanna check my tune made for sdcompo round 19 (will be available tomorrow) if you are looking for a bassline sound similar to this.
the sound is sample based and manipulated by renoise1.8 internal effects only.
the DSP chain basically looks like this:
Distortion -> HPF -> Send (filtered delay) -> EQ10 -> LPF 172hz -> Limiter -> Distortion (very mild) -> Send (filtered verb)

  • 5 LFO devices modulating the four bands of the EQ10 + another one on the LFO frequency which modulates a band.

Rough :slight_smile:
Be interested to see that.

Here is link to Noisia complete DnB bassmaking tutorial! Didn’t check it out indeep yet, but sure, there is a great examples.

I think the thing to remember is… it is not difficult.

You need to understand music first of all (I mean, chords, notes, etc etc )

Once you understand that, then you should listen to a shit load of bass heavy music and pick out what notes are being played.

Then start getting technical…

The sounds are pretty much always a mono sub bass line which follows the sound of the mega distorted and processed mid-high bass line copy.

Distort it, and and most importantly, add stuff like chorus and stereo width to the mid range part (not the sub).

Once you have done all that, get your levels right, automate some filters on it (musically) and play around with it.

Sidechain kicks to it so make it really swing. Done.

what you say is true for the more melodic genres of dnb (liquid, atmospheric, funkstep, whatever), but definately not for the subgenre sunjammer is pointing at.
music from artists he mentioned is all about sounddesign and effects than about chords and other obligatory musical stuff.

or you could be oldskool like me and just get a sinewave or an 808 bassdrum :P

I wrote my own basssynth in reaktor which I am using quite often and a keyfeature of that one is a “bottom”-oscillator which does a simple sine-wave one or two octaves lower than the rest, this sinewave is slighty “overdrivable” if needed. This is because nothing shakes the room like a simple, low sinewave.
But you can also try baxxpander, this one works wonders sometimes too :


Which is why this style of music you are talking about is instantly forgettable…

Classy statement vadarfone.

In any case this has nothing to do with anything you said vadar. This is a sound design question, not a musical theory question. We can talk musical theory in another thread if you feel it is actually relevant; i have 8 years of classical music education on me.

An mp3 of examples of what i’m talking about. The last bit of it is where i usually get puzzled: How does he manage to keep the lowend so clean in the middle of all of that junk? That kind of thing just blows my mind for some reason, i’ve never been able to keep things that clean.


a while ago i read something, probably on the DOA forums, which might help to keep things clean:

once you layer your bass and filter and distort the hell out of it,…

you render it down into the hi’s, mids and lows and stick them on seperate tracks. this gives you much more control when mixing down as you can then cut certain frequencies out if they start muddying up the track.

hope that helps.

“thousand pictures speak more than million words”

everyone check this video out…

pandadnb.com reese video tutorial


tip: you can layer multiple waves like in this tutorial by using Albino2 or 3

Not sure if it has been mentioned but Trash is great for applying distortion on specific bands like you mention.

Since it fits somehow here: I’ve released the source project of my 30secs entry for the Kara september contest. Needs various VST plugins, but might be worth a look for someone.



anyone know a freeware vst that can layer more than 3 oscillators like albino? Preferably an unlimited amount of oscillators?

[quote="#<0x0000562853389128>, post:19, topic:20282"]
anyone know a freeware vst that can layer more than 3 oscillators like albino? Preferably an unlimited amount of oscillators?

Arguru Voyager VSTi has up to 4 oscillators and is really nice. An incredibly underrated synth, imho. Too bad it’ll probably never be updated now… R.I.P. Arguru.