Making a Stuttering Robotic Dirty Wobble Bass in NI Massive
There are a ton of tutorials out there that show you how to make many different types of nice wobbles, but this one will show you a couple tricks to add a little flavor to your sounds.
[aside title=”Hiding in Plain Sight!“] Massive is full of awesome little features, some of which are often overlooked![/aside]
It’s all about the Internal Envelope feature, really. You see it around in Massive and may wonder how to use it or what exactly it even does. Well, it’s simple. It can be applied to modulate any parameter that any other controller can, like an LFO, a Stepper, a Performer or a Macro. But you can real tricky with it and set it up inside an LFO and then modulate a parameter within the LFO itself, like the rate or amp values. Of course, there are plenty of other things to tweak along the way to get the base sound and the general feel of the bass before we begin manipulating the LFO, so let’s get started.
To begin with, you need a few oscillators set up. For this example I have chosen the following. For OSC1, the Dirty PWM wavetable, set up in Formant mode with a Pitch value of -24.00. For OSC2, the Polysaw1 wavetable, set up in Formant mode with a pitch value of -12.00. And for OSC3, the Deep Throat wavetable, set up in Bend -/+ mode with a pitch value of -36.00. You can set up the individual knobs according to the image below. Also make sure you pay attention to the filter routing on each of the panels before moving on.
[audio:https://www.massivesynth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Robotic-Stutter-Wobble-1.0.mp3|titles=Robotic Stutter Wobble 1.0]
Now let’s set up the filters. First on the Filter 1 panel I selected a Lowpass 4 filter. And for the Filter 2 panel I chose Scream. Notice that I Chose to run the sounds form the oscillators into the filter in Serial mode rather than Parallel. This way the sounds first get processed by Filter 1, then Filter 2. Also, there was a slight adjustment made to the liter mix fader, slightly biasing towards Filter 1. You will notice a very big difference in sound once the filters are in place.
[audio:https://www.massivesynth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Robotic-Stutter-Wobble-1.1.mp3|titles=Robotic Stutter Wobble 1.1]
Now let’s get an LFO added to the mix here, so we get an idea of how our wobble will sound as we go through the rest of the steps. When going for a specific kind of sound, I find it best to go with this approach. This was all changes made from here on out are intentional, not just something we stumble into. Go ahead and assign the LFO5 controller to the Cutoff of Filter 1. Now add it to both the Cutoff and Scream knobs of Filter 2. You can make adjustments to the knobs so they match the images below.
Now we can begin setting up the rest of our sound. With the basic LFO in place modulating our synth for us, we can get a clear idea of how it will develop as we move along. We can go back and set up out LFO later. For now, let’s visit the Modulation OSC panel. Go ahead and assign OSC1 to the Phase mode and OSC3 to the Ring Mod mode. Set the Pitch value to -12.00 and set the dials to match the images below.
Now to add in some noise and subtle feedback. From the Noise panel pick the Amp Noise option. Send it to Filter 2 by way of the fader on the right and then dial up the Feedback to a bit. Make sure both panels match up to the image below before moving on. You will notice in the audio examples that both our last adjustments made very small changes to our sound. They will become more important as we move on.
Onto the Insert panels. On Insert 1 add a Bitcrusher, and on Insert 2 add a Parabolic Shaper. Then set them up according to the image below. You will notice once you have them dial in that a familiar robotic sound begins to emerge, similar to some popular movie sound effects that have been going around lately.
The next step is to set up our FX and EQ tabs. So for FX 1 choose a Brauner Tube. For FX 2 choose a Dimension Expander. And turn on the EQ and set all three tabs up so they match the images below. These settings matter if you are trying to achieve the same sound I’m making in this tutorial. And from here on out, the settings are all quite touchy, so it’s easy to end up with a different sound.
Moving on now to the Voicing tab, we need to make a couple quick changes here. First set the Voicing to Monorotate and crank up the Unisono to 6 voices. Then turn on the Pitch Cutoff and move the slider one notch to the right, which will slightly detune our sound and introduce the smallest amount of extra phasing and widen it a bit. Then turn on you Pan Position and move the slider over to match the image below, which will widen the sound even further enhancing the robot feel even more.
And now to set up our LFO to create our stutter effect. First take a look at the Internal Envelope window inside the LFO tab. Now match it up with the image below by adjusting the sliders. Then click on the handle to the right of the title bar and drag the icon over to the Rate box of the LFO. This will allow you to control the LFO’s rate through the envelope you just set up. Very cool stuff! You can also move the sine wave over a bit in the waveform window so the sound begins and ends at its peak with each revolution.
As you can see from the last image and audio examples below, I made a few more changes that are not detailed here. It is simply to show you the power of making small changes in a few places to create drastic changes in your overall sound. I encourage you to play around with the sound you have now until it becomes something very different. It’s one of the best ways to learn more about how the various parts of Massive work.
Hope you enjoyed making this funky little sound. Take the same ideas presented here and apply them to other sounds and you will find some really cool ways to change up some of your sound design sessions in the future. And remember that sounds like this can easily change a song completely by simply dropping it in one key spot in the arrangement. By no means do you need to make it a cornerstone of the music, but rather a fun little embellishment that keeps your audience on their toes.
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