Making a Wicked Hard Edge Distortion Bass Synth Build-Up with NI Massive

This NI Massive tutorial will show you one way to make a seriously wicked distortion bass synth riser that is going to add some incredible power and excitement to your projects!

It is often a struggle for electronic music producers to incorporate distorted electric guitar elements into their music when they primarily use synths to design all of their sounds and depend upon sample for the rest. Well, luckily Massive makes it unbelievably easy to create some awesome sounds in this and they always do well with further processing once they are taken into your DAW. So be sure to play around with this one a bit after the lesson is over and add some extra distortion, saturation, reverb, compression, bitcrusher, EQ tweaks, etc. Another amazing tool to pair with Massive is another great Native Instruments product called Guitar Rig. It can change who you approach this type of sound design all together!

To get this sound going, we will need to set up all three main oscillators. I tend to enjoy using the less popular wavetables in my sounds, as it produces more original and unique instruments in the end. So for OSC1 load up a Kangaroo wavetable and drop the pitch a couple of octaves. On OSC2, load up a Reducer wavetable and drop the pitch an octave. And for OCS3, load a Woody wavetable and drop its pitch a couple of octaves. Now each pitch needs to be offset by a couple of ticks to introduce some natural gentle phasing, which we will take advantage of and amplify as we proceed through the tutorial. I have also routed all three sounds directly to Filter 1.

The next step is to add our filters. On Filter1 load up a Lowpass4 filter. And on Filter2 set up a Bandpass filter. Switch the filter panel from Parallel mode to Serial mode and bias the filter output slightly towards Filter1.

Now let’s set up the main LFO that will basically automate the riser action for us. Make sure your 5LFO tab looks like the image below before moving on. The smallest difference on this window will make a big difference in how the final sound acts.

Now you need to assign the LFO to modulate the Wt-position knob of all three main oscillators, as well as the cutoff knob of the Lowpass filter and the Bandwidth of ther Bandpass filter.

Before we get too many more things influencing our sound, the main Amp Envelope needs to be tweaked a bit to get the delivery right.

Some phasing of OSC1 and some Frequency Modulation of the lowpass filter are added through the Modulation OSC panel.

Metallic Noise and Feedback are introduced to give our sound to take a bit of the digital edge off.

A Sine Shaper and a Parabolic Shaper are inserted to help define the distortion element of the sound.

A Brauner Tube Amp is added to give it more drive and more distortion.

A Small Reverb effect is added to provide more space for the sound to develop in.

The EQ is turned on and tweaked to further shape the sound.

And lastly, I have increased the number of voices on the Voicing tab. Then the Pitch Cutoff feature is activated to generate more phasing and the Pan Position tool is used to spread the sound across the stereo field.

In the end, you should have a sound similar to the one heard in the audio sample below. A great starting point for you to take this sound and make it your own!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this NI Massive tutorial and that you’ve learned more about designing a sound like this one. If you have a request for future posts, just shoot us a message and let us know. We are always happy to take on a new challenge. Thanks for stopping by!