Dubstep with FM8 Part 1: The Wobble Bass
In this insightful video tutorial from Jonny Strinati, he shares some ideas about how you can use FM8 to design full-bodied and interesting dubstep wobble bass synths that work well in a mix. It starts out with a Sawtooth wave (Operator F) routed through the Filter (Operator Z), which will be used to introduce some modulation later on. A 1+2+3 Sawtooth waveform is loaded into Operator E, which is routed into the filter with a pitch Ratio of 0.5000. A Parabol waveform is loaded into Operator D, which is used to modulate Operator E. An 8th Formant waveform is loaded into Operator C, with a pitch Ratio of 0.2500, is routed to the filter as well as Operator F to provide some modulation. A PWM Ramp Mod waveform is loaded into Operator B, with a pitch Ratio of 0.2500, and set to modulate Operator C. A Sawtooth waveform is loaded into Operator A, with a pitch Ratio of 1.5000, is routed to the filter. All six of of our main oscillators are Key Synced to ensure an even and consistent delivery of sound. Some feedback is added to a few of the operators before moving on, which gives our sound more grit and character.
Now that all of the routing is set up, we can set up the Master window. Here the synth is set to run in Monophonic mode, the total number of voices is increased to four, any Detuning present is removed and a fair amount of Digital Quality is added for character. Now the operator envelopes can be tweaked slightly to remove any clicking due to a short Release value. Using the Link feature on all of the active envelopes helps to ensure an even delivery.
Some effects can be added to help beef up the sound a bit. An Overdrive unit adds some distortion and drive to this dubstep bass. A Shelving EQ is used to accent the top end of the sound and provide some brightness keep the sound crisp. A Peak EQ is used to boost some of the low-mids and high-mids that really drive this sound.
Lastly, the Mod window is set up to assign an LFO to modulate our filter (Operator Z). This will control the cutoff parameter of the filter. Simply Key Sync and BEat Sync the LFO, and set the modulation amount and LFO rate to levels that work well with your project. For added interest and character you can also set up a small pitch bend via the Pitch Envelope. This is a popular effect in dubstep music right now and may work well with your music, too!