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This helpful tutorial shares some really great sound design tips for making a progressive Trance...

FM8 Tutorials

Making a Better Progressive Trance Bass Synth in FM8

This helpful tutorial shares some really great sound design tips for making a progressive Trance bass in FM8.

Progressive Trance is a genre that showcases a broad range of sounds and has a focus on flexibility that allows for long form changes and evolution over time. This lesson in designing a progressive Trance bass synth in FM8 highlights some key elements and shares some helpful tips on how to make your sounds work within a mix. From offsetting pitch values to create more thickness and depth to using a small amount of reverb to provide presence and warmth, even though most people do not immediately turn to this kind of effect with a bass synth. It all comes down to making the right choices for the individual sounds you design, rather than following hard and fast rules. Because, sometimes it takes a little something special to make a special sound.

This particular progressive Trance bass synth is built primarily upon sine waves, with a low end triangle wave for added thickness and edge. A fair amount of feedback is involved in achieving the right amount of crispness and agression in the delivery, which also helps this bass cut through a mix. The is a nice airy raspy quality to this bass that comes mostly from Operator X, the Noise/Saturator unit in FM8, and helps to brighten the sound as well. All of the Operators in use are routed through the filter unit, Operator, which helps to shape the sound by controlling which frequencies are allowed through.

This progressive Trance bass synth is a plucky and percussive type of sound, due in large part to the envelope curve of Operator Z. Operator X has a similar envelope curve, while Operators C-F all have a more sustained curve. In the end you get a nice pluck style bass without any choppiness and a well-rounded delivery. A small change to the main Pitch Envelope provides more interest and grabs the listener’s attention. Increasing the total number of Unison Voices to two and spreading them out via the Detune and Pan slider on the Master window, and adding a touch of Analog Quality, gives us more drive and character.

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