Dubstep Bass Synth

I have recently become interested in dubstep music and have begun work on a dubstep project with a friend of mine. The percussion used in dubstep is fairly simple and I have no problems with it, however I am finding getting that really deep warbly bass synth sound to be somewhat difficult. I can achieve a bass sound that is close but no cigar. I’ve been doing this by using synths running with 2+ oscillators set on square waves mostly and detuned from eachother. And by running this through a low pass filter, and modulating its cutoff with an lfo. I’ve also been stacking up multiple instances of the same bass synth (one an octave lower than the other). And, I have been heavily EQing the output of both. Can anyone give me some pointers on achieving that Skream style bass sound. I have been considering purchasing NI Massive as well because all of my synths are freeware and I keep thinking that maybe I’m just due to upgrade and get something a little more powerful.

When asking for this kind of help, it’s always best to assume that nobody here has ever heard or before, and has no idea who the heck is. Therefore, you should provide some examples that demonstrate exactly what you are hoping to achieve. YouTube video links are usually good, but be sure to mention the specific point(s) in time when the sound(s) can be heard, just so there’s no confusion.

Even if a person has never heard the stuff before and would have no idea what kind of sounds puts into their music, if you provide some good examples then it simply becomes a matter of whether the person understands how to create the sound itself, not whether they know or like that particular type of music.



i’m no expert but i believe its pretty common to use a clean sinewave or similar for the sub-bass. you could use a pure generated sinewave, or try a clean-ish setting on a monophonic synth which emulates an ms-20, sh-101, moog or similar. tune it to the lowest audible frequency range… although some dubstep heads will tell you it should go lower so you can feel it even if you can’t hear it. it sounds like you’re probably nearly there with the mid to higher frequencies, so you just need to balance these sounds with the lower range. just remember you will usually want these lowest frequency sounds to be fairly clean… pure sinewaves are pretty common to get that deep sound. after that its just practice balancing and EQing the sounds properly. NI Massive is probably pretty good for this sort of thing i think, because it has sub oscillators and stuff, which may provide the depth you are missing. but you should also be able to do it without. Check out the jorg belegan demo track also.

There’s a tutorial song in Renoise 2.5 named “Tutorial - XY Device” that should help you get started:

You’re pretty deep into the sound you want from what I read in the first post, but for other beginners reading this thread check it out?

a simple single cycle sinewave + eq should do the job.

found a interesting link for you maybe.

The Dubstep Production Bible

Here some pointers that have learned along the way.

  1. I agree w/ what dblue said: ALWAYS include examples of sounds you want to emulate when asking for help on a forum…how else in the hell will we know what you are talking about!? :rolleyes:

just teasing you, don’t worry about it, now you know!

  1. You do NOT need expensive soft or hard synths to make the sounds you are looking to make. You CAN do it all in Renoise.
    HOWEVER, you may get better results using a good freeware synth…there are tons out there…do a search…there is a section in this forum devoted to it!

  2. Bounce down a Scream tune you like if you haven’t already, import into Renoise or other sample editor…cut a 30 second clip of the bass sound in action, and find out what it is you like about the sound and try to emulate it…this is the fastest way I know of to become a better sound designer.

  3. Warbles and wooshes and wows etc…all modulation, most of the dubstep producers I like attach lfos to much more than just the filter cutoff! Get experimenting!

  4. Mid-range harmonic content is what gives your filter cutoff and other modulations something to shape…distortion ,bit crusher’s, cabinet sims, sawtooth oscillators, etc all provide you with fantastic harmonic content for your modulations. FM synthesis is great way to get harmonically saturated sounds for the mid range area in your bass.

6.Use your lfo’s consciously,ie… don’t just place an lfo on the filter cutoff and leave it at that…control your lfos with envelopes and draw them in with purpose, have an awareness of why you drawing your envelopes in the way you do.

  1. To sum up the free synth search: These features will be very helpful-Multiple Voices per oscillator, at least four.
    Pulse Wave Modulation, Unison Detune, FM, some nice on board filters will help.

GOOD LUCK! Post a song or two when your done! :walkman:

ps…I am not saying don’t buy Massive if that’s what tickles your fancy…however, from what I have seen, most producers just bounce down very basic sounds from Massive sometimes and use their DAW to do the rest…its just not neccessary!

In Renoise I’ve had the best results in my attempts to make wobble basses by:

-creating a good sounding bass with a lfo modulating the filter at the desired pitch
-bouncing it to disk and creating a new instrument with it
-using the 09xx effect to jump around through the stages of the LFO

There are other ways to accomplish the same thing but this has been the most convenient for me.

chorus and reverb the fuck out of it… and then layer that with another bass eq’d so they sit better… you want loads of high end with these… gives more texture when you low pass it

lfo to yyour filter ( l ike the low shelf, much more solid than the straight up low pass)

add a high pass cutting just above 100hz

on a new channel put in a chip sine following the same notes as the other bass line… making sure it sits in the gb below your main mid range bass…

big fat bass done

sickest bass sounds i’ve heard yet … http://www.myspace.com/spor
…there’s 13 free podcasts there too.
(mostly Dnb but whatever, cut the beat in half and you got dubstep)

When I want that dub wobble I just use a lot of different squarewaves together (put 2 squarewaves out of line and render selection) in different pitches then filter, resonate, distort and LFO!
You’ll get something like this: quick example (300kb)

everything said above + a stupid number of flanger instances all modulated to some degree = clinically obese bass.

also i’ve been playing around with only using samples to generate bass sounds, its more glitchy but if say you E1 a bassy kick you get a nice growling bass.

and then add aforementioned stupid number of flangers :ph34r:

Thank you Tarek-FM. Your advice is most helpful. The info on the mid-range harmonic content is something I didn’t realize. Prior to reading your post I had already started automating the lfo with envelopes and even other lfos, and I had also started experimenting with using the lfos to modulate other things.

there is a new synth

its quite good

the dubstep bass

What i am trying to establish is:

The sample sounds looped - I have no issue creating the “sound” - but cant manage to get the effect of the loop being faster at higher pitch and slower at low pitch - unless its just a basic bass sample looped, and the pitch change affects the loop speed.

Is this the way it’s done, or am i missing something.

Oh - and listen to all of distrikt’s tunes - he is the business.


That, and " Pants before Shoes "

You can thank Gary Larson for that.

Now tell me if dubbass bass samples are just short loops :)

They can be. Almost any sample can be a potential bass. Or lead. Or kick. Or quirk. It’s about being creative and thinking outside the box, imho :)

i really recommend native instruments:massive vst for dubstep bass,all u have to do is select the pitch and waveform of each oscillator,send it to a filter with the cutoff linked to an lfo and u got ur wobble!also a compressor with hard settings and a touch of overdrive can really beef it up too.another trick i like to use is to send my bass track to a send with a high passed modulating delay unit with distortion placed before and after and u end up with scorn-like walls of bass,very heavy and atmospheric.I always use l3 ultramaximiser to reallly squash the bass too,its an animal.

Hmm, would it be too much too ask for if you could upload an xrns file which shows this? :)

you want to sound like skream… there’s no recipe. otherwise you could use any wobble.

but you will get close with albino and massive. thats what they use.

but hey, even synth1 is a hell of a wobbler.

dont imitate, innovate!

EDIT: sorry, i was misreading your post.

edit2: lol@Rubbahdawg: theres even a track by skream where he uses the bluematrix (reaktor ens) and its default preset patch as main melody.