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FAT BASS-LINES, Do You Want One?

Posted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:39 pm
by Oxidelic
hei people, hello to everybody. Just decided to share some knowledge about making good-fat basslines in a fast way. without searching for ages for the MAGIC-FAT-BASS preset or putting 20 different plugins on your bass-chain and at the end always finishing with mud, hollow and and everything else but not Fat-Bass.


First of all, write your KBBB line! write the BBB as 1/32 notes but over 1/16 positions. This is made so that the small tail of every bass note (it holds the major part of those lovely fat subfreqs) is not mixed totally with the next note and thus we can hear them 3. if not they mix into each other and its like a continuous subbass-rumble. Try with notes of the 0 octave, like from F0 to B0, later you will adjust them more precisely.

Now the Synths

if you use Cronox2 (I recommend it eagerly, its very fat and crunchy this synth):

First of All, turn off all types of effects on the synth you might have, slide down until 0 all the ADS(F)R both of the filter envelope and the amplitude envelope. At this stage you will not hear anything. now you go to the OSC section. in Cronox there are 2 OSC. Choose the upper one (it has a nice Saw wave), you choose it moving the MIX button, up is OSC1, down is OSC2, and of course you can mix them but for now we dont need this. (notice there are also FM and AM switches, Dont use them for now, Use the MIX)
Now you have to choose the clean SAWthooth wave (the one that looks like a peak and not the triangle ;) )

you will notice also a Detune, and Spread buttons. we dont need them for now.
On the filter section choose LP24, also put the buttons TRACK and DEPTH in the middle. Now push play of your DAW. Still nothing, and sure we have both ADSR turned off.. and here starts th real tweaking.. try pushing up a little bit the S (sustain) both of the filter and the amp envelopes, also on the amp envelope push just a lil bit the A (attack) too. WOW there is a SOUND already! and nice fat one! so now you can continue tweaking the DEPTH and the TRACK buttons a little but until you get a bass line you like. also you can try other notes than B0, could be G0 or anything else. Remember, the main tweaking is in the S button but just if the rest is down. you can try also to move a little bit the Release of the Amp Filter. but really A Bit! otherwise you will get continuous and distorted bass. So this is the basics for the Cronox2, once you have made this you can try experimenting with the other parameters but always very slightly or you will ruin everything.

For the VB1

the same for the notes, short notes on the 0-1 octave depending on what do you want to make, melodic or crunchy bass... or maybe both ;)
The trick with the VB is to NOT to use its original GUI, it is very frustrating and also VB1 has a decay and release parameters that are not shown on its original GUI, so you will have to tweak them via Automation or via Standard GUI (live and logic permits this, in Cubase you will have to access them via Automation).

so you will see 6 parameters:
decay, pickup, pick, volume, release, harmonics.
slide them all to the left except the volume of course and leave the release to 100% or 98% for a small tail and thats ALL!!! now you have to search for the best note and you will need some good eq to shape it.

other verrryyyyy nice one is the tritium but again, use it carefully!! it can sound horrible or it can sound great.
trylogy is also DA MONSTER but i assure you, dont use the presets!!! you have to build the bass from scratch, but what is great about trylogy is that it has recorded the best SAW WAVES out there from the most legendary analog synths, juno, moog, etc.. so we build the bass in trylogy the same way as in cronox! but using some of the saw-waves from it.


once we have achieved a good bass without any other help but the synth himself we can shape it furthermore. a lot people use rbass, or a bass maximazers etc.. dont use them...! you can achieve great subs from the synths themselves and from a good EQ. Here is a Major Trick! For transparent sculpting use EQs that proof to be good analog emulators of old vintage EQs. this is because they treat the bass much more smothly, but with more definition and contrast. I can recommend the Stillwell EQS, 1973 and the vibeEq. but of course to use them you will need a little bit of understanding.. most of them have HPs, LS, MIDs, HSs,
HP - highpass, LS - lowshelf, HS - HighShelf.. just learn there particular functoins (look in google) and than go back to sculpt your bass. with an eq of this kind you dont need no rbas, subbas, mega-doomic-subbasic-madness or whatever other vst that claims this...
for compression and sidechaining use the TC - Native bundle. its so easy and so transparent. a lot people use izotope trash and me also have recommended it, but it is used to boost a weak bass, if your bass is fat from the beginning no use of it is needed. another very good dist effect, very simple, but very clean and contrast giving is the Oligarc-Drive ;) try it ;)

i hope i have helped somebody out there.

hugs to all FREAKY=TWEAKERS and chek my psyport profile for some tunes ;)

Posted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:11 pm
by Shen (Mental Records)
You are a champion, thank you for posting this!!!

Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:23 pm
by Oxidelic
i think you are totally right friend. I dont say USE EQ!!! i just say if you use EQ for the BASS it is not to cut, nor to shred and minus to destroy the bass-waves.. just read better my friend. i just say, if you want to give it a further WARMTH (taking in mind that we dont have 2000euro for a hardware eqs) u can use one of the few good analog eq emulators out there.

I think that you just dont know what means an analog EQ and what means a digital, parametric or paragrafic multiband EQ (which obviously sucks!!!!).

as you see it has just a few knobs... ehehehehehehe and "no knifes for cutting"

if you use something like this:

for sure you will achieve just MUD and Hollownes...

also if you read well i expose how to achieve a good bass into the synth itselfs!!!, cronox, vb1, esm, vanguard, albino, tritium etc etc.. all are good synths for specific basses and we all can achieve them without any EQ.

about the PAZ analyzer from Waves it is just an ANALYZER!!! it doesent make any change on the sound ahahah , it just show you the spectrum, and wow, from what I have heard, everybody sooner or later leaves behind everything that is WAVES!!! it is total CRAP!

for good and much more precise Analysis I can recomend Spectrum Analizers like from IXL, later named Roger Nichols...
here an image of an actual bass presentation from cronox.
Paz analizer will never show me with such precision what happens really on the 30 or the 60 or the 100-200hz range. in PAZ its all much more unclear ;) in PAZ you cannot see very well the fundamental of the bass or the first octave (marked with yellow).. and so on and so on...

so my bro, we are speaking the same language ;)

hugs and keep DA-KILLA-SPEEDY-NOISE of yours.
and wow please Post your Way of doing it ;)


Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:12 am
by Zagoan
thanks alot m8! 8) :kiss I'm gonna try this when I get home today 8-)

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:46 pm
by Azeban
I would agree with most of what you say, Oxi. And it's really good info. I have also fallen in love with Cronox 2. Really great synth!

However, I have tried my latest bassline with and without the RBass and I can say that I think the RBass is a *wonderful* plugin.

JUST BE AWARE. RBass does *NOT* add sub frequencies to your bass line!! It adds UPPER HARMONICS which makes the bass more audible *without* the subs. Too much of these (120-250hz) and it starts to sound too warm and muddy!

BE VERY CAREFUL to only use a *little* RBass. -15 to -8dB is where I like it. If you are careful to tune the cutoff right you get added energy most noticeable in the second and third harmonics. I'm a fan of bass lines that are loudest in the 120-160hz range, peaking a few decibels above the kick. Lots of bass clarity in this range **if you don't overdo it**

Also, if you're mixing without a sub, keep in mind there is probably more bass than you realize! A huge problem. You must resist the temptation to crank it up. Agree with Oxi here: use the spectrum analyzer and check what you hear. It may help to use a loudness curve plugin to boost the bass a bit, making you less likely to turn RBass up too high.

And, Oxi, I actually *really* like the LinEQ from Waves. It's not the best for shaping the sound because it's subtle. It is a surgical tool. The killer is the variable slope high pass. I use this on my kick and my bass, check the result in the frequency analyzer. I try to get it so I can actually SEE a smooth roll off of the lows with the sub frequencies of the kick just popping up between the lowest bass tones. You can get very calm, tamed sub bass this way. Probably this could be left to mastering, but if you can get it right yourself, I say go for it.

Also, I just noticed that Ableton 7 has a High Quality mode for EQ, Dynamic Tube, and Saturator. Right click on the effect and select High Quality. It made the EQ on my bass line much smoother. Now you are getting 64bit, double precision EQ. The more bits for math, the smoother the filter function, the closer to analog sound we get...

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:08 pm
by Oxidelic
ou great my friend!
I love that people contribute.

u can also chek the sonnox eqs. it ha also a very sharp and uncompromising lowcuts and highpass.

but i found that a crrect tweaking of the synth can bring a bass almost 90% ready. with strong fat fundamental on the 30-40HZ but with sharp and very well formed down curve to 20hz. as the image os the analizer i posted. this is a picture of the exact bass from cronox without any eq or something.

abut the lineq you are right. it is for surgical work, and this means frequencies above 1000hz or more, you see that the bass waves are big, strong, heavy, the lowest waves need more than one meter to develop fully, so if we put a surgical tool we make them "bleed"... when we apply even the smallest cut with such an EQ for example on the 100-300hz it brings inmediately sound artefacts, small distortions and resonance..... so what i have learned from all the tutorials out there is, Dont Use Linear Eqs on bass!!! if you want to correct something on the bass do it with the synth, or change the kik, or make nice sidechain, but dont try to fix something on the low freqs of the bass with linear equalizers. i learnd too that small overdrive effects, or some cabinet distortion effects are realy great, they give texture to the bass and also personality.
at the end knowing how to manipulate the bass freqs one understands that less post work on the bass, better the bass itself. the bas has to sound as we want from the synth itself, and has to fulfil our expectations without any further fixing... if posible

once again, thank you friend for shareing your exerience.
hugs people

Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:09 pm
by Kabayun
Hehe Oxi :grin: your sharing all our secrets! :bub D: :lol:

But seriously thanks for the tip on those stillwell plugins....I have been trying to find good eqs and distortion plugs because just like you, I used to use R-bass and trash but now I dont use either 8)

Your process is almost exactly what I do to make a bass using Cronox, but just to be sure I followed your directions exactly. The only thing i would add is that when you are tweaking the filter and amp sustain values, you will also have to tweak the decay to get the sound you want.

Also, when using Ableton or Logic, I use the side-chain that is built into their native compressors. They are both simple, easy to use and to a pretty good job.

Serious props to Delian for putting this in writing. If only you had been there 2 years ago when I started producing.... :kiss

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:35 am
by Azeban
So, I just went back to my track and took off the RBass.

And guuessss what!? Sounds way better! Thanks Oxi!

I do think it's worth saying again that I don't think the fundamental needs to be the loudest piece of the bass line. If you find the right tone the sound is still deep and dark, but very clear. Try using multiband distortion to boost and drive 100-300hz and bring down 60-100hz a bit. The kick really sticks out and the bass is *punchy* and powerful. Anyone else hear what I'm saying or is this crazy? (You can tell me... :w8 )

Also, are you sure about linear phase eq and bass lines being bad? I know a parametric eq would introduce phase distortion, but that's what linear phase eq is supposed to *not* do.

In the case of waves there is a little bit of quantization error because the math is done in 48-bit precision and then reduced to 24-bit at the output. If your software is 32-bit (or 64-bit like Ableton 7 or newest Cubase) you should DEFINITELY **turn the dither option off** on the LinEQ or you introduce unnecessary noise.

Anything wrong here? Anything good? Thanks again to everyone for contributing.

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:16 pm
by Oxidelic
wow people wow really THANK YOU SO MUCH for continuing contributing small tricks and details. AZEDAN thank you so much my friend y didnt know this high-qullity option in ableton. GREAT!
about the fundamentl of the bass i agree, not always it is the strongest, but it must be present and very nicely shaped so that we can achieve those warm basslines. and for sure, the banging part of the bass is between 80-300Hz.

Dave my dear friend ehheh great for your contribution too! IT IS totally corect about the further tweaking of cronox. for sure, i move the attacks too, i little bit and those small tweakings makes diferent basslines.


Hugs to all

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:39 am
by Oxidelic
HEI HEII!!! how are you my friend? :D :D :D

uff i was so full of work i could not speak a lot on msn but just msg me ;)

now about your post, i agree too, and actually this is what i am trying to say, don't use a lot EQs on the bass. when i gave example with the stillwell 1973 or the vibeEq also from them, I wanted to explain that they are not actually Surgicals Eqs, they have veeery smooth curves. they have just LP (low pass), LS (low shelfs) veeeeery usefull ;), MB (midbell) and HP (high pass). as you see there is no Qs, no notch, nothing like that, just smooth analog-like curves. What I'm trying to say is that if you run your bass very well tweaked from the beginning, from the synth itself, no matter if it is trilogy or vb1 or cronox, if you run it trough an EQ of this sort (analog like, analog emulation) and even if you let the knobs as default, it will shape very slightly, very smoothly your bass, it will give to it very rich harmonics, warm and fat. If you start tweaking very slightly the knobs, start using the gain or the freq of every knob (did you see that on most of the analog type EQs, there are specific frequencies marked..? hehe it has its meaning ), move the freqs-knob, move the gains downwards (here is a tip: Use the Eqs mostly for Eliminating freqs not for boosting ;) ) but you can always start experimenting too ;), so we do this not to cut drastically our poor bass, no.. we do this to shape it very smoothly and slightly but using the analog-like algorhythms of those very special EQs. this simple process will give more integrity in the sound, it will give it warm without mudding the sound, but the opposite, it will make it more clear yet fat because of the subtle contrast that the analog-eq will give it and because of that i said, we sculpt, we shape the bass, not cuting or deforming or distorting... this is bad.
now people can ask... "but why do i need to make all this if i can just adjust my kik and fit it between the fundamental and first octave waves of the bass? this is the perfect way to fit em and also very stable...?"
..well this is also 100% true but if we want to make a moving bass, a bass that changes the note or texture.. than we will need to pass it through an analog like eq (to form contrast and rich harmonics) and than a good compressor with side-chain so that when the bass changes the note the gain doesent explode ehehehe.. and the bass stay stable despite of the note changes... and because of the sidechain the kicks tail does not changes audibly.. ;)

wow.. too much writting... hehehe
hugs people

see ya later

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:51 am
by The Andychrist
cool topic! I also love the cronox 2 action for bass, and I have a specific construction that yields a pretty ripping, straightforward, hard bass. :bub It's especially nice at high speed.

Start the same way as above. Pick a saw wav on OSC 1, with OSC 2 off and the mix (obviously) on all the way to the left. Set the symmetry wherever it sounds nice to you (I frequently find myself wandering around the 10 O'clock zone), then don't let any unfiltered noise through (TRACK to %100), no filter envelope (DEPTH to %0), and decay time and sustain volume all the way up. Also, attack all the way down, and just the teensiest release you can imagine. For weirdo-crazy-person-ultra-doom bass, set the filter cutoff low (around 300Hz). for more generally ripping bass, set the cutoff higher. In my experience, it is best not to endow the filter with too much resonance... most of the time, no resonance will do nicely 8)

Since the decay parameter on the amp envelope is set all the way up, the midi note length will entirely determine the length of the note played. With the sustain volume all the way up, the bass loses a lot of its potential dynamics (except the teensiest bit at the end!), but it really makes up for the loss with growling, bad-ass, loud-as-balls, textured delight. Also, if you're anything like me, you will not have much use for intra-note dynamics while you're blasting away at the back wall of your studio at 160+ bpm. At fast speeds, I think it's okay to take dynamic cues from the space between bass notes rather than the beautifully crafted shape hidden within your 1/20th of a second of bass (which is about all you get at 160 bpm with 32nd note bass on 16th note intervals).

A mildly interesting sidenote: 160 bpm means that each beat (which is a quarter note in the psytrance meter D: ) last for 3/8ths of a second. so, your 32nd note is only 3/64ths ( or, a little under 1/20th ) of a second long. this means at 160 bpm, if you render a 32nd note of 64Hz anything and look at it in a sample editor, you will see exactly three cycles of whatever waveform you chose to play. Wild, huh?

More interestingly, with this bass, you will need a HARD kick. I'm serious.

After all the fun choosing a kick sample, eqing it, and sometimes maximizing it (yeah, I said it), apply a sidechain compressor to keep the bass on the 2nd 16th note of whatever beat from summing too irresponsibly with the tail end of your extremely low pitched (and therefore very long) kick. ;)

that's it! It's a good one for those days where you just need a comically heavy bass :cs

Good looks Oxi for starting this thread! :cheers

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:24 pm
by Oxidelic
ou Andy those are some KILLAAAAA TIPS!!!!

great one!

:cheers :cheers :cheers

Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:11 pm
by Zagoan
Hi guys, I need your expertise.
I'm using cronox trying to make a nice bass for my kbbb line, the way OXI described it and it look ssomething like this in the analyser, after sidechaining/compressor.

and my cronox how it looks like


I'm feeling and hearing that something isn't right can you give me some tips, I've been playing around for some time with sustain, decay, cutoff frequency but not really getting such a nice graph in the IXL as you got there OXI :-P any help is greatly appreciated :cheers :cheers