How do i create this 80s synth bass sound in renoise

hey guys,

how do i recreate this bass inside of renoise itself? its so fat, dirty and clean, id rather not use vst’s if i can. i have some minor experience creating a 80s synth horn sound inside renoise itself from another tutorial on youtube but id like to recapture the sound of the bass on this song as close as possible

multiple saw wave oscillators, detuned from each other, lowpass filter envelope for the pluck shape, very slight attack time on the volume adsr will get you 90% of the way there. here’s a quick stab (a few minutes fiddling) at it… not too different from a psy bass. I used my psybass 4 preset as the starting point.
synthwave bass 1.xrni (10.2 KB)
post processing probably holds some of the magic, too

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thank you id be lost without you brother

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I think in your example also is a comb filter on the bass, which adds those nice, varying harmonics and also that metallic and spatial touch (did not check with headphones though). Renoise’s comb filter is pretty good, you can use that. But I would not use Renoise for the actual bass sound, use a more precise synth/generator. Precise timing, sustain, decay and also curve in the filter envelope is key here for a proper synthwave bass. One oscillator of two (or more) at least could be free running (no phase restart) for a more analog sound. Renoise can’t do that. I have seen that you use ANA 2, just use that. Maybe the second filter also has a comb filter mode? Then find a nice sounding frequency in the comb filter and slightly varying its frequency using an lfo. Maybe even random, but in a controlled, very narrow range. Maybe also sample and hold (s&h) on the lfo.

The comb filter could be also done with a slight flanger. If you add a bit of noise, too, you will add coldness to the sound.

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creating sounds inside of ana 2 or any synth is still very new to me, i usually just choose a preset and adjust to my liking, ill see how i go, i really want that bass sound

thanks for the advice

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I think that designing your very own sound usually gives you the best results, so I would say it is very worth trying. You then will have also you very own identity, not the average one. As you know synthwave is very much about sound esthetics. I really like the esthetics in your tracks. That bass was great. Ok, that seems to proove that a wise selection of good presets will do the job, too. That complete edition of ANA2 comes with a ton of good presets, but maybe not so much genre specific stuff. The owner is not so much in synthwave. IMHO, there is like 2% good synthwave nowadays, and 98% standard synthwave with lame, standard sounds, standard harmonics. If it’s standard, then at least do the design properly. Ok, this is highly subjective now :slight_smile:

If you are searching for more genre specific presets, you might try VPS Avenger + some retrowave preset pack. Sometimes it’s on sale for about 100 EUR. It also comes with high precision filters and comb filters. Way more precise even than ANA2. It sucks though when it comes to performance, it has some programmatic design flaws causing cpu spikes. You still can use it, if you have a fast cpu. Also it has an annoying copy protection (needs revalidation each 3 months). I bet that bass in that reference track was made with Avenger. It can sound too standard, quite annoying then.

i 100% agree with you that majority of synthwave out there is hot garbage hahaha, every once in awhile ill stumble accross a sick track that really makes me jealous which makes me step up my game.

the only issue with my bass i was using is that it just sounds too muddy and i cant seem to get rid of it without removing all the low end which is what im going for, really fat warm and tight with some nice mids aswell

the bass in the reference track has really caught my ear and im chasing it hard i really want to capture that tone and use it in my tracks to take them to the next level, i have only been making synthwave for 2 months so i have along way to go in the genre

ill look into VPS Avenger right now for sure, hopefully theres some good youtube videos on it

'if its possible to recreate in renoise that would be ideal ofc

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Dunno if this is a wise decision. I mean why reducing your possibilities, limiting your sound design possibilities? Renoise is a great oldschool sampler for sure, but not a precise synth. Of course you can use it for synthesis, too, but due the imprecision and limitation, you might walk into a deadend. I would use renoise sampler for drum sounds mostly. VSTis’ sounds are also easily transferable to other DAWs. I would wisely choose one good workstation synth instead, which workflow you like. Only my 2 cents. This is not Renoise bashing, just a reality check.

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That’s sound design. :slightly_smiling_face:

Nice bass, but it sounds completely different than the bass secondheat is looking for.

Just like any other genre. 99% of songs always suck.

Serum has got by far the most Synthwave presets and Serum is also pretty good for sound design. Personally I’ve got almost 5000 Synthwave specific presets only for Serum, and of course there is more available. I also create stuff from scratch in Serum sometimes. This video shows how to create some bass types in Serum:

Happy fiddling! I’m not an experienced sound designer, but sound design is always fiddling around and takes time. Using and adjusting presets really can help to save time if you don’t have the time and the mood to fiddle around. But sometimes fiddling around is fun, too.

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y’all raise some good points regarding the advantages of vsts, and serum is a total beast. I love it and do use it from time to time, however I mostly just grab waveforms from it to make sounds in renoise, because of the insane flexibility and power of the instrument fx chains

I was trying to emulate the main bass that comes in at 1:19 in the track, not the highpassed, flanged version in the intro. There are some differences, but to say it’s completely different feels a little off to me. I know a sawbass when I hear one, lol. here’s a second try that’s a little closer. there’s an octave doubling of the original saw that I missed on the first go. The main difference in sound (I would guess) is in the particular saw wave that’s being used, in combination with the particular filter, and the particular envelope shape.
synthwave bass 2.xrni (13.3 KB)

here’s a comparison of the original (layered with a high hat in the track, which gives the white noise-like profile at the beginning of the wave. this was the cleanest bass I could capture from the YT link)

and my version at the same timescale:

Now, there are some differences in the details of the two sounds which come down to the points above about waveshape and filter characteristics, but I’d say it’s pretty close, especially for someone who’s literally never heard a synthwave track I liked, lol (no offense to all y’all synthwave producers - I’m sure some of you can’t stand psytrance. I get it, we all have different tastes. If you have any synthwave tracks you think are required listening, I’m open to expanding my pallette :slight_smile: )

All this to say, that you can absolutely do functional sound design natively in renoise if you want to. It’s a tradeoff, with advantages and disadvantages, just like literally everything else, but totally doable if you want to go that route. I do sound design in renoise all the time, and only seldom do I come up against a wall I don’t feel like at least trying to climb, and the instrument fx section makes the view quite nice, imo



Everything you can do in Renoise, you also can do in a usual workstation synth. But the opposite is not true at all. Here some examples what is missing in Renoise for being a proper synth:

  • Sample accuracy
  • Coherent timing
  • mutliple serial filters per voice
  • pre-filter saturation, various saturation on voice level
  • wavetables
  • analog aka varying waveforms
  • high quality oscs
  • sample rate LFOs
  • ring mod, osc sync (on voice level of course), cross-osc modulations
  • free phase, phase stuff in general
  • midi stuff like mpe, key-up amount

This list could go on with 20 or more points. I think Renoise is meant to be a sampler / rompler, and does a decent job here. Using it as a synth is a nice sport to show your hacking-the-system-skills, but always will be a tradeoff and limiting of your skills (and the quality of your production in the end).

I don’t think that those limits above are subjective or discussable. It is not a good advice to suggesting to use Renoise only for people who want to do their own electronical style.

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eh, people like working in different ways, and different tools yield different results. In my experience, renoise is more than capable as a synth environment, but I understand that not everyone would want to work this way. To each their own! I’m just some weirdo who likes to do things the hard way, I guess :upside_down_face:

I often find that I’m able to achieve unusual results (that I genuinely like) that I couldn’t through more conventional means, and to me, that has value.

I’m not suggesting that renoise can do everything that a modern workstation synth can do, just that it can do much more than most generally assume

OP asked how to do it in renoise, so, towards that aim I’m just trying to help

Guys, you know that we can have both native stuff and VSTs. Renoise is great. :+1:
I like to combine stuff from both “worlds”. There’s this possibility, so why not using it?

Right, both are basses and both have the same base. But I think when it comes to basses the details are crucial. These details can make a bass sound “completely different”. That’s what I was trying to say. :wink:

That’s absolutely correct! :grin:
I don’t like Psytrance, but it’s way better and for sure more listenable than Breakcore, which is only aggressive noise for me. But even if I don’t like it I can recognise a good composition and production, and I fully respect that. Not to mention the work behind it. I can dislike a style but like the quality of composition and production at the same time. Of course there are different tastes, but there’s no doubt about if someone has skills and delivers good work or not.

So you’ve never heard a Synthwave song you like? How come? Any style has got some good stuff, even Breakcore. I could show you tons of great Synthwave stuff. Let’s try one of my own compositions. What do you think? You have the right to be honest and of course you can say “Fucking disgusting!”. :laughing:

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fucking disgusting! :face_vomiting:

Just kidding, of course… this is a very nice tune with great production value and solid melodic composition. Some elements I really like. The bass sounds great, and I dig the plodding, ponderous vibe. reminds me of swamp psytrance, actually, and the rhythm section is not so different. I LOVE the timbre of the synth stab that comes in around :50 as well. Some of the other elements don’t really do it for me, but that’s just me. I guess I’ve never heard a synthwave track that made me want to listen to more synthwave, but again, there’s no accounting for taste :upside_down_face: As someone who was a kid in the eighties and listened to and enjoyed some of the synthpop from that era, a lot of the synthwave I’ve heard just strikes me as kind of narrowly self-derivative and one dimensional (which is a criticism that can easily be leveled directly at psytrance, too, lol). I’d love to hear some synthwave that’s reaching more toward the aesthetics of, say, depeche mode or new order or something that felt just a little more exploratory. That’s just me, though, and to be fair, I haven’t really searched. I’m sure there’s plenty of good tunes to be heard.

thanks for sharing your work! And yes, with plugin support, renoise definitely does offer the best of both worlds :slight_smile:

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Thanks, glad you like it! :grin:

Oh, I can show you something on Youtube going in that direction. But like all my Youtube stuff it has a bad sound quality (and in this case no mono bass, too). But this may suit your taste much better:

But there is so much more Synthwave has to offer. You just have to pick the right songs. Like @ffx said, the most Synthwave stuff is same-sounding crap. BUT there’s also a lot of gold, no doubt.

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If you can choose only one song, what would be your favorite synthwave song? And for what reason then? Like nostalgia, sound design, emotions? I know it’s a tough decision… :slight_smile:

You are right, overlooked that.

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My favorite Synthwave song of all time? I already told you. It’s Nightland by Droid Bishop.

Why? Just listen to it! From the first second some magic is happening. I especially LOVE the first instrument, it’s like listening to a musical creek. I really need something like that, too. It’s so lovely and playful and makes a great sound carpet. But I also like the choice of instruments in general, the composition, its simplicity without being boring, the song structure, simply everything. And this is not an ordinary Synthwave song with an ordinary bassline and the always same-sounding synths.

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Obviously I am bored AF… Tried to rebuild in Avenger, but failed somehow:

The waveform obviously is different, used a highpassed saw with spread and a lowpassed square… Maybe therer also is a quieter upper octave on it?

Maybe better?


I’ve heard some of your songs and I have to say they are brilliant !
Just I have one question out of curiosity .
As I have read from couple of your posts , it seems that you are eager to use only Vst’s in Renoise rather than samples .
So what is the reason you use Renoise? Because as far as I know trackers are best suited when using all those commands or at least the wonderfull Instrument FX which is not available when using Plugins .

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Thank you! :slightly_smiling_face:

It’s a fallacy that trackers are best suited when using pattern effect commands and sample related FX. I did that for 20 years. You can do the same stuff in another way when you’re using VSTs and even more. The reason why I’m using Renoise is because I’m a tracker guy since 1991 and using trackers is the only way I like to create music. Renoise gives me the opportunity to combine the tracker stuff I know from the very beginning (my first DAW was the first tracker ever) and modern VST stuff. That’s why.