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Making a Heavy Distortion Bass with FM8

Posted on 22nd September, by SteveF in FM8 Tutorials. No Comments
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In today’s tutorial we will be going through the steps to create a heavy distortion bass with FM8 and discuss some possible variations that are easy ways to modify this osund for your own use.

Heavy Bass!

Making your own distortion bass with FM8 is so simple it may surprise you!

There are many types of heavy, harsh and edgy bass synths that are incredibly popular in various modern music genres right now. We will be looking at just one way you can design your own heavy distortion bass with FM8, so keep in mind that any one of the waveforms used can be quickly swapped out for a different one. And there is no limit to what you can do with the sound once you take it out of FM8 and into your DAW for further processing. Let’s dive right in.

To begin with, we need to set up the FM Matrix. As you can see, I have set up two main operators to be routed to the output strip, each panned slightly in opposite directions. This is to give the sound extra width without introducing too much phasing, as phasing can present potential difficulties when it comes to the later stages of production. So we will depend upon some simple pitch setting and feedback to produce the bulk of the heavy edge we require. Using all sine waves also helps to keep the signal clean, but you should experiment with using different waveforms. It’s an easy way to add sharpness and brightness to the sound.

Making a Heavy Distortion Bass with FM8 Tutorial by OhmLab 1

Below, you can see that very little has been done to the envelopes. Just enough release has been added to avoid any popping or clicking during the initial delivery.

Making a Heavy Distortion Bass with FM8 Tutorial by OhmLab 2

Several things have been touched on the Master window. First, the synth has been set to run in Mono mode. This will make the Portamento (which has been activated) sound better as the bass glides between notes. The total number of Unison voices has been increased to seven. The Detune, Pan, Analog and Digital Quality sliders have all been adjusted for the right character.

Making a Heavy Distortion Bass with FM8 Tutorial by OhmLab 3

The next stop is the Easy/Morph window, where the main amp envelope and the timbre envelope are tweaked to better shape the overall sound.

Making a Heavy Distortion Bass with FM8 Tutorial by OhmLab 4

And finally, it’s time to add some effects. The Overdrive and Tube Amp are added to accentuate the edginess and add more distortion. The Shelving EQ and Peak EQ are used to finish shaping the sound. And the small amount of Phasing and Reverb provide a slightly larger space for the sound to develop in and adds a touch of movement.

Making a Heavy Distortion Bass with FM8 Tutorial by OhmLab 5
Making a Heavy Distortion Bass with FM8 Tutorial by OhmLab 6

Below is a small audio sample of the bass that was just made playing alongside some drums to give you an idea of how it may be used.

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