Making an Agressive Hard Edge Bass Synth with NI Massive

This NI Massive tutorial will show you how you can create an aggressive hard edge style bass synth for your projects, perfect for darker and driving genres of music.

This style of bass is becoming much more popular these days as we see more and more music genres blend together all over the world. Not only does this give today’s producers and musicians more options to work with, in regards to instrumentation, it also allows for more flexibility in designing the sounds themselves. This particular sound is simple to make, and easy to understand from a programming perspective.

Let’s begin with the OSC panels. For OSC1 we will load the default square-saw wavetable and leave in in the square saw mode and drop it two octaves to provide a heavy low end for our bass synth. Now on OSC2 load up the default square-saw wavetable but this time we will want to keep it in the sawtooth mode and drop it one octave. And finally, on OSC3 load up the SinFormant wavetable from the drop down menu and raise it one octave.

We will now run this sound through some filters. For Filter1 we will want to load up the Scream filter. And for Filter2 you want to select the Lowpass4 filter. The cutoff parameters for each of these will be modulated by an LFO, so let’s get that set up now.

On the 5LFO tab, we will set the LFO to Sync at a rate of 1 over 16, and adjust the waveforms to match the image below. Make note that the crossfade slider is set to use both of the waves equally. Also worth noting is the face that the Internal Envelope has been adjusted. Before we assign this LFO to the cutoff knobs of both Filter1 and Filter2, we need to modulate the Amp parameter with a second LFO.

This one is very simple. Set 6LFO to Sync at a rate of 1 over 4 and crossfade between a sine wave and a sawtooth wave and adjust the Internal Envelope to match the image below.

Now that we have the filters in place, we can add a little noise and feedback. Turn on the Noise panel and load White Noise and set it to match the example picture below. And we will add small amount of feedback as well by turning on the Feedback panel and turning up the Amp a bit.

Next is adding some inserts. On the Insert1 panel, load the HardClipper. And for the Insert2 panel, load the Bitcrusher. These will rough up the sound quite a bit and give it the edge we need.

Now let’s make the sound bigger by adding some Reverb to the FX1 tab and a Dimension Expander to the FX2 tab.

A quick stop at the Voicing tab before going any further. We need to switch the synth to run in Monorotate mode, rather than polyphon mode, with a Legato Triller trigger. This will let us glide between notes. Before we leave this area, activate the Pan Position and set the slider just off of the Mono center. This will further widen the sound.

The last step to finishing the sound is to adjust the amount of glide. Head to the OSC tab and turn down the Glide parameter just a bit. That’s it!

Now you should have a hard edge bass synth that sounds like the first audio example below. The second example features the bass playing along side some other instruments to give you a better idea of the way it can work in a mix. As always, no processing of the sound has taken place outside of NI Massive.

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I hope you have enjoyed this Massive synth tutorial, and encourage you to send us a request if you have one. Also, you should know that if you make your own NI Massive  tutorials and would like to get them in front of a larger audience, we can help! Send us a message either way, and we will be happy to follow up with you. Thanks for stopping by.