Liquid DnB Tutorial Day 2: Making a Smooooth Bass [7 Day Song]
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com, and welcome to day 2 of the 7 day song on Liquid DnB. Yesterday in day 1, we made a driving DnB Beat, today we’ll be making a smooth bass synth to accompany said beat.
I’m going to have to adopt my smooth jazz announcer voice ’cause this bass is so damn smooth.
Mmm, so create a combinator, name it smoooooooooth bass, then create a thor instance inside it. I’ll just add in some notes now, which I’ll discuss with you cats later.
Give it 3 oscillators – two analog and one multi osc. Run them all through with the 2 and 3 buttons.
Set the analogs both to sine, taking one down an octave, so it’s nice and deep. For added thickness, turn the multi osc to softsaw, the 3rd one down, and detune it a bit on the interval detune mode, which is more consistant and less messy than the default random detune mode.
Now, turn the sustain to full on the amp env so it doesn’t lose volume over time.
Turn the env on the filter to 0 and the freq to 350. Mmm yeah… dayumn that’s smooth. This just cuts off that high end nicely.
Turn the portamento on as well so it slides between the notes, giving that lazy, cool feel to the patch.
That’s all we’re going to do here in the thor instance, next we’re going to add a maximizer to make sure it’s a nice and loud bass, but also to add in a tiny bit of huskiness to the smooth bass.
Turn 4ms look ahead on so it’s brick wall limiting the bass, meaning it is incapable of clipping, not matter how hard it tries, kind of like a paraplegic gardener. Now that’s sorted, I can show you the “soft clip” mode.
Turn it on and listen to the difference in tone as I turn it to full. It’s still smooooth as ever, but has that extra little bit of frequency content in there making it more powerful. Soft clipping is simply smoothing over parts of the signal that would otherwise clip and make horrible distorty noises. In technical terms, instead of *cewfkwelhklfhweujfiewjhfkwehj* you get “mmmmmmmmmm”.
And that’s the bass tone! Nice and simple – we don’t want to overcomplicate things here, baby, just keep it deep and smooth.
Now for those notes – There are two bass melodies in this song. I hope you’re not expecting too much complicated stuff in the low end of the track, since the first is very simply just two notes. We’ve got the fourth in the key Eb, followed by the root note of Bb. This sounds unsurprisingly uninteresting on its own, but when combined with all the melodic elements on top later on, it’ll act as a gorgeous undertone pedal, meaning everything will sound more pretty and emotional.
The second riff has a little more to it, just working its way down the notes in the scale from the high Bb, which will cause the smaller speakers to rumble, down through G#, F, back up to F#, down to that Eb, then down to the low Bb, which will cause the bigger speakers to rumble. It’s all on the beat though, nothing too complicated with offbeat timings, since that might distract the listener. The job of the bassline in liquid is usually just to fill out the track.
And there you have it! A Bass smoother than barry white in a rock polisher… Except with less blood.
Join me tomorrow for day 3, where I’ll be making two sweet synths – an atmospheric pad and an ethereal glassy lead.