Smooth, clean bass sound

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jarvi2
KVRer
4 posts since 7 Jul, 2018

Post Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:42 pm

I'm getting started with music production and having fun playing around with Ableton and several VSTs, but I'm having trouble figuring out the bass sound I'm looking for. Basically, I want a smooth, clean, warm bass that sits back in a mix as a foundation instead of cutting through as a main element.

I've tried a basic sine wave sub bass which is close, but it has no real attack or pluck at the beginning of each note, and it sounds off to me if it starts to go higher than the really low range. I tried NI's Scarbee MM-Bass, but that's too punchy/edgy/bright/"pop"-y. I tried Orange Tree's Cherry Electric Bass which is more subdued and comes close, but I don't want fret noise and buzz, and the sustain seems a bit short too.

In terms of genre, I'm thinking along the lines of Bonobo and Emancipator (although I'm not sure how much the sound I'm looking for actually matches what they're doing).

It could be acoustic or electric, synthesized or sampled, I'm just thinking more about the tone. Any recommendations or suggestions about what I should be looking for?

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fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
12260 posts since 5 Jun, 2012 from Portugal

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:33 pm

Post a YT video of a song that has such a bass, whatever you are looking for...

Generally speaking, turn down the cutoff frequency, and the filter envelope amount, and if necessary use an equalizer to stress and reduce certain frequencies.

I like this kind of bass sound, it is from the Synclavier if I remember the record sleeve correctly...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxEZ7D8yLIQ

jarvi2
KVRer
4 posts since 7 Jul, 2018

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:12 pm

Not sure if these are exactly what I'm describing, but here's a few examples (looks like the embedded videos all start at the beginning, but the links start at a specific point in the track):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbJthGW ... tu.be&t=64
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYI4nBH ... u.be&t=111
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIIOrUw ... tu.be&t=96

_al_
KVRist
306 posts since 28 Oct, 2014

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:26 pm

Yeah i know what you're after, and yeah, it can actually be tricky finding something that sounds right.
For me, the best solution is using a synth that lets you draw your own waveshapes. I use Zebra but that's probably overkill for what you need.

I find the waveform you use is pretty crucial in making it sound right, so i spend quite a bit of time fine-tuning it before i touch an eq.
For me, the best way is to start with a square, then slightly round off the two outside edges, so it loses it's grittyness without resorting to using a filter.

Then i usually start experimenting warping the second half of the wave shape in various ways. Adding little spikes etc. At some point, i may need to low pass it, if it gets messy, but i usually get a nice sound like that.
Sometimes it wont even resemble a square anymore, but somewhere between square and saw, but it will still be a nice full bodied sound.

Oh, and remember to EQ out some of the 300-500hz range, or it's likely to sound a bit cheap and wrong

MogwaiBoy
KVRAF
2776 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:25 pm

All 3 of the basses in the videos are quite different - which one exactly are you going for? The Bonobo one is like a sinewave as the basis with some analog style harmonics (saturation) to make it more squarewave slightly. The one in Merlion by Emancipator is more like a real bass played by fingers (ie: Fender Jazz) with the top end dampened. Even though it may well be synthesized, it has the tonality and feel (stops, slides, bends and all) of a real bass.

What other VSTi's do you have available?

Here's a great bass sound I found recently... Tonnnnnnes of harmonics above the fundamental when put through analysis.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDhCZLApy4E

jarvi2
KVRer
4 posts since 7 Jul, 2018

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:10 pm

Good point, I guess I'm asking about two different things:

1. A synth bass with that kind of tone (thanks for the tip on sine + saturation, I'll play with that)

2. A VST "real" bass with little to no fret noise and that kind of tone

I have Komplete 11 (standard) and Omnisphere. Any presets to check out and start from would be cool.

MogwaiBoy
KVRAF
2776 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:22 pm

Komplete you say?

Have a dig through Monark's bass presets :)

Zexila
KVRAF
3116 posts since 18 Mar, 2008

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:32 pm

Muted bass is what you seek for "real" bass, as far as synth bass goes, most "deep/sub" bass named presets will come close.

For the fun find: TUC Deep Sub and XS Punchy Sub, in Repro 1 Bass preset section. :)
https://u-he.com/products/repro/

Also there's some nice bass presets in Diva, again look under prefix TUC. :tu:
https://u-he.com/products/diva/

You can reverse engineer them in Monark easily. :wink:
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Winstontaneous
KVRian
1406 posts since 15 Feb, 2006 from Berkeley, CA

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:40 pm

jarvi2 wrote:Good point, I guess I'm asking about two different things:

1. A synth bass with that kind of tone (thanks for the tip on sine + saturation, I'll play with that)

2. A VST "real" bass with little to no fret noise and that kind of tone

I have Komplete 11 (standard) and Omnisphere. Any presets to check out and start from would be cool.
Does Komplete Standard have the Scarbee P or J Basses? Those are good for #2.
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Mathematics
KVRist
275 posts since 10 Sep, 2015 from You haven't unlocked this character yet

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:12 am

I remember first starting with EDM and I wanted a good bass line. Everyone's given you some really great information. I just want to add a little bit of my experience with bass, and mixing bass for electronic/new-age music.

For the most part, use mono sub bass lines. The click can be made by simply cropping at the quarter cycle wavelength, or simply, just cut the sample at the beginning to not start at equilibrium (0-phase, or zero crossing.) So cut it at the highest amplitude of the wave form (at the extrema). You can get a cheap and sharp click like that. Stronger clicks are done other ways, just look it up.

Once you know the key signature for your song, tune your bass to that key and make sure if you use other sub notes that follow the song, test that they aren't too far away from the fundamental base note of the key signature.

Use a free plugin called SGA1566 by Shattered Glass and Tube Saturator 1 by Wave Arts to get some really decent saturation. Use Melda Production's Free bundle for the Oscilloscope plugin, not the Oscillator plugin...although you can probably create some good low tone samples from it, so you can use that to look at the modeled wave form. It has other tools that are really helpful. Stacking is going to be your way of getting a thick and lush low sound. I suggested the Melda bundle because it also has a free Tuner...you need that to know what note the sample is. It has a loudness meter and other essential stuff that you probably have.

Then just use reference tracks. If you're using samples, consider a free sampler like Zampler RX, if you don't have a Suite or something similar.
http://www.zampler.de/ (link is on the right)

The main thing you're going to discover is that a lot of the best songs use a lot of harmonic distortion/saturation.

Massive is just sick and has a ton of presets from the community for free. For kicks...I just custom make them with Kick 2. I use a couple of samples for transients, body, then Kick 2 for the sub. With Kick 2, I no longer look for kick samples. Oh...I also use Torque to force a sampled kick to the key of my song. Those two are lethal together. I've saved so much time and money by not having to search for samples. Torque is great for snares too. I've gotten awesome results. Some people claim it sucks but I think it's because they don't understand how to use it...oh well.
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jarvi2
KVRer
4 posts since 7 Jul, 2018

Re: Smooth, clean bass sound

Post Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:16 pm

Lots of fun suggestions to look into, thanks all!

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