Designing a Nasty Dubstep or Electro FM8 Growl Bass
The idea of swapping out different waveforms on the various operators of this sound to achieve new and unique versions is one that I highly recommend experimenting with. This is probably the quickest way to make this sound your own without having to introduce any 3rd party plugins or processing of any kind in your DAW. The waveforms that are available to you are incredible diverse and when used in the right combinations can create an absolutely devastating FM8 growl bass, which tends to be the whole point of these sounds for these particular music genres. The video itself is of pretty poor quality, by today’s standards, so make sure you pause it when you need to if you are following along. Remember that when working with FM synthesis, the smallest of differences in a setting can result in an entirely different sound in the end.
The routing of the FM matrix is actually quite basic for this FM8 growl bass. It has one operator routed directly to the main output strip, while another is routed through the filter (Operator Z) after being affected heavily by to modulators. The core sound is a result of a combination of sine waves, a square wave and a formant wave, which gives us an edgy and punchy sound that is heavily influenced by the filter.
A quick visit to the Expert Mod window provides the opportunity to set up some modulation parameters for our FM8 growl bass and map them to the modulation wheel of a keyboard (MIDI controller) for easy manipulation on-the-fly. If you choose to do the same with this sound, then you will want to remove the pitch bend mod wheel assignment to avoid some awkward results.
A boost to the low end is needed to give this FM8 growl bass the punch we desire, and this is done through the use of a Shelving EQ on the Effects window. You can also take the time to find the right frequencies to accent or attenuate to make this sound a perfect match for your projects by using a Peak EQ unit as well. And if you are looking for a slightly grittier or distorted FM8 growl bass, then you can experiment with the Overdrive and Tube Amp effects.
The last stop in this session is the Master window. The first change made here is to set the synth to run in a Mono Polyphony mode, so only one note can be played at a time. The total number of Unison Voices is increased to three. The Detune and Pan features are used to spread this FM8 growl bass out and add more perceived width. The Portamento featured is activated, which allows for gliding between notes. And lastly, some Digital Quality is introduced for the raspy character that growl basses have become famous for.
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