What happens next???
Suuuuuup, following on from my last post about where I begin when making a new track I thought I'd let you all know what happens next.
Once I've got some percussion down that I'm really happy with and feeling the vibe on I'll more than likely always get my basslines rolling next. I know I said in my last post that the percussion was the most important part blah blah blah and I stick by that but I feel that the bassline is equally as important and it really needs to compliment everything you have done in the drums. My go-to synth for creating almost all of my sounds and especially the bass, is Serum by Xfer Records. It's an advanced wavetable synthesizer and you can either buy it outright for $189 or pay monthly, and let me tell you it is 100% worth every penny, no matter what genre you produce it will definitely improve your sound design tenfold. This synth is so versatile with the sounds it can churn out and has so many features to mould your creation to exactly how you want it to sound.
Usually when I'm designing my sub I'll open up a sine wave in oscillator 1 and pitch it down 1 octave and make sure that the sub frequencies are on... nothing out of the ordinary I guess. Well next I do something that a lot of people will probably twist their faces at and that is add a hard clip distortion using the FX panel. Damnnnnn going straight in with the processing to really give it a fat sound, crazy right? I like to do this just so I can really hear all of the presence it's gonna bring, even if it is just when I'm jamming on my keyboard to my drum beat. I'll then add in a second oscillator with a square or sawtooth wave, depending on what style I'm feeling. I'll then phase this and keep it quite low in volume so that the distortion brings it out and it just sits nicely on top of the sine. Next thing I do is sort out the attack, decay, sustain and release envelopes so that it doesn't just start and finish abruptly. Heres a preview of a quick sub that I made in around 2 minutes, which is usable but would sound fat as hell after playing around with it for a bit longer.
So now that I've got my sub sound to fit behind my drums, I'll usually have a little jam on my keyboard and get a decent idea in my head of how I want my basslines to roll. When I'm writing it in however I'll usually drop my bpm right down to between 100 & 110bpm. This is such a cool trick that a lot of the heavyweights will use to really fine tune their subs to fit with the groove of the drums perfectly. Trust me, give it a try and I guarantee you'll be doing it by second nature every single time you create a sub pattern to groove alongside the drums.
After my pattern is down and I'm happy with it ill start to process the sub channel by adding sidechain compression linked to the kick so that it doesn't interfere with the frequencies that the kick is churning out. This technique really free's up a lot of space and stops your mix from becoming muddy. I'll also add a low pass filter to EQ anything out above around 400Hz as this is where any unwanted noise will be sitting.
In the next instalment I'll start to touch on techniques I use on vocals and how to make the most out of any track you want to sample.
Hope you enjoyed the read