Creating Skrillex Style Dubstep Bass Growls in FM8
It’s been a while since we’ve posted about a nasty, filthy dubstep growl bass like the ones used by artists like Skrillex. This FM8 tutorial was too good to pass up!
As we see more and more people begin to use FM8 as one of their main sound design synths for popular music, these types of tutorials will be expected to explode on the scene. But FM8 is so incredibly flexible and capable of producing a seemingly infinite number of sounds, so we hope that the sounds people try to recreate with it are much more diverse than a lot of the other popular and/or mainstream synths out there. One of the hottest sounds in all of music right now are those designed by Skrillex. He has a knack for producing hard hitting, original, truly unique and powerful sounds, and this FM8 tutorial does a good job of showing how to get started with learning how he goes about it.
To begin with, Operator F retains it’s default Sine wave and routing. This is then modulated by Operator E, which is loaded with a Triangle wave. The a longer attack is drawn in the envelope curve of Operator E. Operator E is also routed to the main output. Then the Polyphony and Unison Voices are both increased to a value of 40 via the Master window. This will make the sound much bigger and louder, so your main volume will need to be reduced accordingly. The Detune value is decreased slightly and the Panning value is increased to maximum. The Digital slider goes all the way up to produce the familiar formant character present in so many dubstep bass synths. And raising the Analog slider about a quarter gives it that human-robotic feel that artists like Skrillex love to play with.
Now that we have the basic sound set up, you can change the way the operators are routed. The sound needs to go through the saturation tool that FM8 houses in Operator X. So re-route Operator E and F through Operator X, which is then sent directly to the output. This will give the sound a harsher, rougher edge. And on the Effects window, an Overdrive and Peak EQ are added to help accentuate certain characteristics. Experimenting with feedback and pitch bending are just a couple of more ideas to work through after you are done following along with this FM8 lesson.
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