In just 10 minutes from now you will know exactly how to make a distorted bass in FL Studio. I’m Cep, an EDM producer with over 15 years of experience, and here are my best secrets to creating a huge bass sound.
How to make a distorted bass in FL Studio
I searched online but it’s annoyingly difficult to find any good content about distorted basses. So to save you the headache, I’ve created this post.
All you need to do is follow 3 simple steps. If you follow these to a tee, I promise you can build any strong vibration bass from now on.
What I’m about to share is one of the most effective methods, but there are also other ways to create a fat distortion bass. I might cover some in the future, so make sure to follow this channel if you don’t want to miss it.
STEP 1: Create the lower layer of your distorted bass
Start your project with a heavy sub bass. This will produce the lowest frequencies that you can feel in your stomach.
At this step, don’t worry about the shape or character of the bass just yet. We’ll get there in a minute.
How to make a sub bass
You can get the sub bass by using a sample or creating your own. In the video, I’ve created my own.
Regardless of how you get it, what’s most important is that your heavy bass is tight and centered. This means that the wave of the bass looks like a fat sausage. (That’s what she said.)
One extremely easy way to achieve that is by using a synthesizer and selecting a sine wave. Naturally, any sine wave is tight and centered. Though, you can also use some of the other waveforms, so feel free to experiment.
For the bass in my project, I went with the 3x Osc. That goes to show that you don’t need fancy tools, and literally everyone can get results in mere seconds.
Play the right bass frequency
It is important that your bass has the lowest fundamental frequency. Hence, draw one, or a few, notes on the Piano Roll. Put them low enough so that the bass plays in the sub frequency region.
For example, for the key of G this is at 49 Hz. For the key of A this is at 55 Hz. And so forth. You have to determine the key of your bass, based on your song or melody.
Now, if you don’t know music theory stuff, it’s all covered in my book The Ultimate Melody Guide that you can get by clicking this link.
Once your bass plays at the right frequency, you’re good to go. But you can also choose to add a secondary sine wave one octave higher.
When you add a sine wave one octave above the other, you will get more bass-like frequencies. Though, be careful and only add a little bit. Else these higher bass frequencies will start to overshadow the sub bass too much.
Distort your heavy bass
Finally, send the bass to the mixer. On the mixer you can add a distortion, but you don’t have to. It simply depends on your outcome.
In my project I included a distorted. A distortion can create overtones and fatten the bass. Just play around with the amount until it sounds good to you.
Feel free to go back and forth between the distortion and the synthesizer to tweak the sub bass. But don’t overdo it.
Use and EQ to crossfade your lower bass layer
Since the job of the sub bass is to take care of the lowest frequencies, you will have to remove all the frequencies above that. So at the end of your mixer chain, simply add an equalizer and roll of the higher frequencies.
This will leave you with some heavy rumble and vibrating pressure from your speakers. The leftover empty space is later for the character of the bass.
On your equalizer you can choose to select a steep or shallow slope and anything in between. Also, you can use a cutoff frequency anywhere from 350 Hz all the way down to around 60 Hz. It just depends massively on your results and interplay with the upper layer of your distorted bass.
As you can see in the video, I went for a cutoff frequency at the third harmonic. This is a great starting point. For now, stick a pin in it. Come back to it later once you have an upper layer.
STEP 2: Create the upper layer of your distorted bass
The upper layer of a distorted bass takes care of the shape and character. It can give that crunchy feeling or massive sound.
How to give your bass character
Again, you can get this bass by using a sample or creating your own. Of course, I’ve created my own.
But if you want to use distorted samples, you can find some crunchy ones inside my hardstyle sample pack. It’s free, so download it directly by clicking this link.
As for this project, I will not explain all details because that will do more harm than good. Instead, I will give you my blueprint. With this blueprint you’re powered with the strategies to make infinite distorted basses. All of which can be golden. So, pay close attention.
Set up the upper bass layer
To get started, add another synthesizer and select one of the waveforms. You can also choose to add a secondary waveform at a higher octave, but you don’t have to.
To make the upper layer go well with the sub bass, play the same notes as your sub bass. Once you’re set, here’s everything you need to know.
Use an EQ to crossfade your upper bass layer
Send the upper layer to a unique mixer track. So, any other track than the one your sub bass is routed to. At the last slot of that track, add an equalizer and roll off all the lower frequencies.
As a rule of thumb, the cutoff frequency and slope of the upper layer should be similar to that of the lower layer. Theoretically at least, this allows for a tight mix between the two. As you go, you can always play around with these settings in both layers to find a sweet spot.
Distort and shape your upper bass layer
Now let’s go to the fun part. Use the empty slots on the mixer track to add effects. These effects will shape the bass.
The most basic way is to add a distortion and crank it up a little bit. This already creates some crunch and character. For some basses this is enough.
But to take it up a notch, add more effects, such as an equalizer and maybe some reverb. You can play with these effects and tweak the hell out of your bass.
Thereby, you can add multiple effects in a row or alternate them to achieve greatness. Make it as simple or complex as you want. But I suggest starting simple in the beginning.
So for equalizers you may want to remove or allow lower frequencies. Boost or dip different mid frequencies. Play with the bandwidth. Maybe add some higher frequencies.
When it comes to distortion, you can use it aggressively or more gently. You can aim to saturate or desaturate the sound. Maybe apply a mix level or keep it fully wet.
As far as reverb goes, make your bass pretty wet or keep it drier. Play with the room size and decay time. Set a specific pre-delay time and fumble with all the other settings.
But you don’t have to stop there. You can also include any other effects, such as flangers or phasers. Simply change the parameters and see what you can come up with.
Mixer effects chain
Next to adding effects, experiment by changing the order of effects. This can create big differences as well.
But always consider ending with a limiter. This ensures your signal doesn’t exceed the maximum allowed loudness.
Play with your synthesizer to shape your distorted bass
To make even more changes, just go back to your synthesizer. Try different waveforms. Offset the phase a little bit, and finetune the pitch of an oscillator. Use a filter and play with the cutoff and resonance. Consider adding a filter envelope. And so forth.
As you can see, there are billions of ways to shape your distorted bass. Your goal is to go back and forth between different settings until you’re happy. This is much easier than it seems. Just keep it simple at first.
STEP 3: Mix and finalize your distorted bass
Once you feel like your bass can initiate a 9.0 earthquake, let’s finish it and add it to your song.
Before we do, we’re almost hitting a milestone, so if you can distort that subscribe button for me that would be fantastic. I also read all comments, so while you’re at it, let me know what you wish to see next.
Route your bass layers to one mixer track
On the mixer, make sure to route both layers to one track. This way you can shape the final bass as a whole.
Be careful not to do anything overly aggressive here or you can ruin it. At the very least I’d recommend adding a limiter, so you can cut off peaks and achieve maximum loudness.
Export your distorted bass
When all is done, simply export your bass to a WAV file. One way of doing this is by using Edison. Just add it to the mixer’s Master track and press the record button. Then, play the bass in FL Studio and press stop when you’re finished.
Afterward, feel free to clean up the sample in Edison by cutting away silences or artifacts. Then, export the bass to a WAV file.
By the way, when you record the bass, play one long note to capture enough content. This allows you to use it later in a variety of ways in your songs.
Test your distorted bass
It’s always a good idea to see how your bass performs in a song. That’s why in the video, I opened it in a new project and went for a quick trance snippet. Hopefully it also sounds good on your speakers, since I work on a laptop.
The particular bass in the video sounded better after adding a filter envelope. So, apply any changes you deem necessary to your project. Make it shorter or longer with time stretching, change the pitch, or use any of the other effects and settings.
Become a better producer faster
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SUMMARY: How to make a distorted bass
To recap, create a lower bass, and remove the higher frequencies. Then, create a higher bass, tweak the hell out of it, and remove the lower frequencies. Finally, mix both layers together, add a limiter, and export the sample to a WAV file. That should be your ticket to paradise.