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Music

Quick Tip: How to Make an Aggressive Trance Bass

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Today I will show you how to make a typical trance bass sound, which is very popular among the best producers in the world. The best way to do this is to make a long sustain zero release AMP ADSR envelope with lots of saw wave. Oh and don’t forget the distortion.


Step 1. Create a Melody

The melody in the most trance tracks is quite simple. It’s only there to establish the rhythm. But sometime the bass is more prominent, so there must be some changes to the pitch of the notes.

As you can see in the image below, the last two notes are different to the others, not just in length but also in pitch. Most of the notes in the rhythmic line are longer than the usual because the sidechain will give the final pump to the track.


Step 2. Make the Synth

I used Sylenth to make the synth tone of the track. As I mentioned before, the long sustain and zero release is essential to make this bass aggressive.

The long sustain is important because the sidechain. The zero release is essential if you want to close the amp right before the release phase starts after you released the MIDI note.

Another important thing is to turn on all the oscillator sections within a saw waveform. You can double the voice number but make sure that not over voiced the oscillators because too the much voice number will be ruined the bass line.

Detune the oscillators -1 and -2 octaves, and turn on the Retrig button some of the oscillators to make the bass in your face. You can play with the filter envelope, but it is not necessary. I used the built in EQ to enhance the 200 Hz and 1300 Hz mid frequencies.

Here how it sounds so far:


Step 3. Add the Effects

Most of the effects we'll use are some kind of distortion. In Ableton Live there are many effects can make you synth distort. My choice was the overdrive and the Amp guitar amplifier/distorter.

I overdrive above the 4k frequencies because I like the high frequencies to be aggressive. But that won’t be enough. So I decided to create an amp effect. I choose the Rock type, and lower the presence down to 2.54.

Warning: The AMP distorter is a big and aggressive effect, so it can damage your speakers at high volumes. Be careful the volume while you make this tutorial.

I lowered the dry/wet parameter down to 33.3%, and turn the output into mono. This is an important decision because the aggressive bass must be mono, otherwise it will disappear in the track.

After the Amp I created a simple delay with a very little dry/wet number, but I decided to turn this off. Use the delay if you would like widen the bass in the stereo field.

After that I added an EQ. I lowered the frequencies around 1.88 kHz and raised them around 3.44 kHz.

And don’t forget to sidechain your track to a kick or something to make your track pump. I used a really big compression ratio.

Here's the final bass line in a mix:


Concluding Words

Now you can use this sound in your productions. I hope you enjoy this tutorial, and don’t forget to leave your comments below.

See you in next time. Happy music making!

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