Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rolling Your Own Bass Sounds Part 2: Electro House Bass

This time out I'm going to show you how to make an electro-house style bass/lead. Electro-house tends to use very simple sounds utilizing classic synth waveforms instead of anything especially exotic. For this exercise, I'll be using ReFX's Vanguard because everyone and their mother has it.

1. Fire up an instance of Vanguard. Click the FX button so it isn't lit up. This is a bass sound so you don't want stuff like delays and reverbs to muddy things up. From the preset browser, select the factory sound LD AlphaOmegaMS to use as a starting point. Hit the EDIT button to expose Vanguard's sound editing controls.

2. Change OSC 1's waveform to SQUARE and lower the SEMI setting to 0.

3. Change OSC 2's waveform to SQUARE as well, but this time, raise the SEMI setting to 24.

4. Finally, change OSC 3's waveform to SINE and lower the SEMI level to -12. While this doesn't necessarily contribute timbrally to the sound, it adds some low end weight that is useful for basses (and is often missing in Vanguard bass sounds, IMHO). You can turn up the VOL level of this oscillator as well to further boost the low end.
And that's it! Obviously there is no one electro-house bass, but most others are just as simple to program. Here's a short example of what the result should sound like:

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