Video Tutorial – Making a Totally Radical Hardstyle Bass effect in Reason

Hi, I’m Dave from, and this is my tutorial for making a hardstyle bass synth patch in reason using Side-Chaining on a Compressor.   It’s a similar sound to the bass effect found in the “haha hardstyle” and “nero” songs.

You can download the reason file used in this tutorial here.

A quick warning: Hardstyle is a bit of an acquired taste, so if you’re into dance and trance music you might not like it – it’s more repetitive and less melodic, generally using percussion and samples to define one track from the next.

Okay!   Let’s begin.

1. Create a Combinator by right clicking the reason interface and selecting “combinator”.   Rename it as “Totally Radical Hardstyle Bass”.

2. Within the Combinator, create an instance of Thor and an MClass compressor by right clicking and selecting the relevant device.   Right click on Thor and click “Initialize Patch” to remove the preset effect.

3. If you don’t already have one, create an instance of ReDrum.   (Right Click> ReDrum Drum Computer)   Add in the sample for the kick drum you want to trigger the side-chain with.

4. Create an instance of “Spider Audio Merger and Splitter” by right clicking and selecting it.

5. Side chaining means using an signal output of one device and using it to manipulate the compression level of the signal.   This, used on a constant bass note, will achieve the pumping bass effect that you need for hardstyle music!   Press Tab to flip the rack over, and drag the Left Mono Audio Output from the kick drum channer on your Redrum rack to the A(L) input on the spider audio rack.   This will automatically make another lead appear from the right output, making the signal stereo.

6. Drag a lead from the first output of the spider splitter to the “Sidechain In” input on the compressor in your combinator instance.   Select “Soft Knee” and Turn the Threshold on the compressor to -36.0db (fully anticlockwise) to increase the effect the sidechain input has on the compressor, and turn both the attack and release fully anticlockwise to made the effect on the compressor sharper and this give it a more defined pumping feel.   You can use another output from the spider splitter to send the kick drum sound to the main mixer if you actually want to hear it too!

7. Now to edit the bass synth sound – We’ll be making the synth out of a sharp, lead sound, which is already playing, and a bassier sound so you can really feel the bass.   In thor, select “show programmer” to open up the synth for editing, then click the drop down Oscillator on OSC 2 and select Analog Osc.   Select the Sine wave (the smooth curve) from the 4 LEDs available, and Turn the octave up one.   Select the “2″ button to the left of Filter 1 (The low pass ladder filter) to allow it to pass through into the rest of the signal chain for that synth.   You can now hear the bassy pumping sound as well as the sharper lead effect.

8. To make the bassy sound a bit stronger, click the drop down arrow on OSC 3 and select “FM Pair Osc”.  Click the “3″ next to filter one to send it through to the signal chain.

9. Now lets define the effect a bit more clearly.   Turn off the “Gate Trig” for the Filter Envelope.   This stops the envelope being added to the filter, as we want to control that with an LFO later on instead.   Turn the A, D, and R controls on the Amp envelope to 0, and whack the sustain to full.   A is Attack, the length of time it takes for the sound to fade in, D is decay, the amount of time the sound takes to level out to the sustained level after hitting the initial attack peak, and R is Release, the amount of time the sound takes to stop after the note has finished playing.

10. Now to manipulate the filter to get that “wow” effect.   Turn the resonance and frequency to just over a quarter to reduce harshness of the filter for the start of the “wow” sound we’re going for.   click “Tempo sync” button on LFO 1.

11. In the bottom section, under source click and select LFO 1.   Turn the amount up to 100 and select “Filter 1 Frequency”.   Blam!   There’s your “wow”!   But at the moment it’s not in time with the beat, so turn the “Rate” knob on LFO 1 to 1/4.   This makes it oscillate every quarter note.

12. Get some cyberdog gear get your melbourne shuffle on!   Your pumping, totally radical hardstyle bass is ready!


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Hi! I'm Dave from and welcome to the site!

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