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“Loud” Sub Bass Hard Synth Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 13th June 2018
Here for the gear

“Loud” Sub Bass Hard Synth

Hi Gearsluts, long time reader first time poster and immediately i must apologise for a question this bloated...

Anyway I produce Techno and I find myself using the Ableton Operator init sine 95% of the time I am looking for a sub bass. This bores me a little and I would love a piece of hardware for exactly that purpose.

I have tried various soft synths, especially the Trillian Vintage Sine Samples and great as they sound, they don’t come close to the pressure of Operator at same level. Neither do my hard synths. (Converter is UA)

Do you guys have a tip for a piece of gear with a very clean sine wave that compares to Operator? Open to all suggestions FM, Digital you name it.

Or do you believe that due to distortion hardware subs can never be as clean as a plugin and that my quest is impossible?


Old 13th June 2018
Gear Addict
Sapro's Avatar
A clean sine is where FM starts off before getting modulated by the operators.
Old 13th June 2018
Gear Maniac
unease's Avatar
The question is if you're really looking for the most clean sine wave when you say most don't have the same "pressure". What you perceive as "pressure" might be some saturation which creates some overtones on the sine, which makes it sound more present. Clean sines should be very easy to get out of most software implementations, it's just some very basic maths. Personally I like sub basses to have some overtones so that the pitch is a bit more pronounced. It also makes the bass come through on speaker systems with a limited bass response. But I'm not sure if that is what you want of course...
Old 13th June 2018
Lives for gear
Sebastian N's Avatar

try a triangle
Old 13th June 2018
Lives for gear

S900, s950
Old 13th June 2018
Lives for gear

Alan Aztec's Donk Machine
Old 13th June 2018
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Simonator's Avatar

Look at a waveform. Anything above the horizontal is positive amplitude, below is negative amplitude.
When that reaches a speaker, it converts positive amplitude into pushing the speaker membrane forwards and negative to pulling the speaker back.

In terms of the pressure you speak of, a pure sine wave is absolutely optimal; nothing will move as much air as a pure sine.

However, a pure sine doesn't have a lot of character and it has zero harmonics. The lack of harmonics mean that if you play it on a soundsystem that cannot reproduce the frequency (ie, a laptop trying to play sub bass) then you hear practically nothing.

If you add higher harmonics, by definition, these are new frequencies transposed on top of the existing waveform. These will sometimes be pulling the waveform downwards while the fundamental is going upwards, and vice versa. That will take away from the 'pressure' that you speak of.

Thus, we've always got to choose a place on the following spectrum:

Maximum power <-> More character & audibility on weaker systems

..... If you are making main room techno that's only going to get played in massive clubs, you can potentially go pure sine. If you want the track to work on laptops, you'll potentially want some higher harmonics.

I don't think hardware, in this case, will add any magic that you can't easily get in software.

I suggest you try the following:

1) Get the free SMExoscope Bram.Smartelectronix.Com

2) Create your fundamental sine (eg, 1 osc of operator, set with C as the root)

3) Enable a second oscillator, triangle wave, 1.5 octaves above the fundamental (G). Low pass filter this to taste.
This is the 2nd overtone, 3rd harmonic.
Harmonic - Wikipedia

4) Adjust the relative volume of the second oscillator WHILE WATCHING THE WAVEFORM IN THE OSCILLOSCOPE.... Find a balance where you can start to hear the sub, but without (a) letting the G note become more audible than the C, and (b) without the harmonic ripping apart the fundamental in the waveform in the oscilloscope.

... This should give you a good balance of power and audibility.

FYI, this addition of higher harmonics is what plugs like Waves MaxBass do.

Once you've got this basic principle down, you can then get more creative... Try different waveforms, different harmonics, saturation, etc etc.

Just always bear in mind that anything you add will intrinsically steal sound pressure from your fundamental. This not only includes sounds from the sub synth per se, but also *anything* else that plays at the same time (eg leads, drums, etc etc.
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