How To Create A Bass Using Any Found Sound Recording

In this tutorial we will demonstrate how to make a bass sound from any found sound recording or sample.

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  1. Choose your sample recording. The sample you choose will have an affect on the sound of the finished bass, however do not be scared to get creative and experiment with sounds that you would not normally use to create a bass. Often good results can be found in unlikely places.
  2. Setup some metering plugins to help you make better informed decisions during your synthesis session. We recommend the Smexoscope oscilloscope and the Voxengo span spectrum analyser. Both of which are free plugins.
  3. Set your sample start point and loop brace. Whilst doing this you will notice how the tiny differences in the loop will generate completely different tones. This is where the majority of the tone of your final bass sound will originate from so try to find something that sounds fairly good to the ear at this stage. Snap mode can also be turned off if you want to be more precise with you loop in and out points. If your tone sounds clicky then try using the crossfades and ensure that your waveform is looping around in a way that it flows like a wave around the loop switching periodically between a negative and positive polarity.
  4. Find out the tone of your bass using the spectrum analyser and transpose the sound so that it correctly corresponds with the note of your keyboard. This means your sound is now in tune and you can also now play it down in the bass ranges.
  5. Program so notes to fit your project, allowing the bass notes to play whilst you program the rest of the sound can be beneficial for setting all the timings and filter settings correctly. In this case we are going to create a drone style chord bass.

6. Alter the amplitude ADSR envelope to fit the sound you are going for. At this stage you need to decide what style of bas you want. I.E. a pluck style bass or a more sustained one.

7. Once you have the main shape of your bass in place you can accentuate and enhance the sound using the filter control and filter cutoff amount. Once again the ADSR envelope assigned to your filter cutoff can really add some interest and harmonic content to your sound.

8. Add any further interest with the use of modulation options such as filter, volume, pitch, envelopes, LFO’s and velocity. In this case we add a gentle LFO to the filter cutoff to give our bass some movement.

9. If the bass sound is still slightly weak in the bass and sub range then consider using EQ, overdrive, amp, cabinet or saturation plugins to correct the tonal balance and give the sound enough weight to be capable of supporting the rest of your track as the bass element.

10. Add effects such as delay & reverb as you see fit. Some people may not use spatial effects on a bass sound however this is mostly genre dependant, so experiment and a/b compare the results to see if the effects benefit the sound.

11. Side-chain the bass to the kick to stop it causing clipping. This will also save some headroom and help to keep the track balanced.

12. Test how the bass will sound in context of the track. Automate some parameters to see how the bass can develop as as either an element of the track or even as the main theme.

13. Map some macro controls and create a rack to make the bass more user friendly to use and automate.

If you would like to learn more about found sound, synthesis and sampling then check out the full Found Sound & Sampling course here. 

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