Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Audio-FX Grid Bass Synthesis Sound-Design

Exploring Bass Synthesis: From FM8 to the Grid

Tutorial | Aug 28, 2023

In this video, I talk about my journey of using FM8 for bass lines and how I incorporated that knowledge into using the Scroll in the Grid. I explain how I used one oscillator for a pure sine bass sound and another oscillator with different wave shapes to create overtones. I show how you can recreate these sounds in the Grid by using formant wave shapes and modulating them with a sine oscillator. I demonstrate the use of filters and phasers to further modify the sound. Overall, I discuss how this journey of experimenting with different techniques allowed me to create interesting and unique bass patches.

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Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

Questions and Answers

Question 1: How did the speaker use FM8 to create bass lines for dubstep?

The speaker used FM8 by utilizing one operator or oscillator to generate a pure sine bass sound. They then introduced a second oscillator with a different waveform, such as a sine with multiple zero crossings fading out within one cycle of the waveform. This created an interesting format or vocal-like sound. By mixing this second oscillator into the sine as a phase frequency modulation source, the speaker was able to produce a pure fundamental for the bass with created overtones. Using FM8 in this way allowed for the creation of dubstep bass sounds easily.

Question 2: How did the speaker recreate the FM8 bass sounds in the grid using the Scroll module?

To recreate the FM8 bass sounds in the grid using the Scroll module, the speaker used the format oscillator shapes from FM8 and inputted them into the Scroll module. They then used a sine oscillator like the first operator in FM8 and frequency-modulated it with the Scroll module. By adjusting various parameters, such as tuning and format, the speaker was able to create a variety of dubstep-like bass sounds. This approach in the grid allows for the same effects as in FM8, giving flexibility in sound design.

Question 3: Can you explain how the speaker modified the phase signal of the sine oscillator in the grid?

In the grid, the speaker modified the phase signal of the sine oscillator by using an external phaser instead of the internal phaser of the sine oscillator. By switching off the internal phaser and using the external phaser, the speaker was able to influence the phase signal of the sine oscillator. They then used the mirror module to double the zero crossings of the waveform, creating a pattern that appeared as if there was a mirror. By multiplying the volume of the sine oscillator with the phase output and fading out the waveform over time within one cycle, the speaker simulated the fundamental pitch of the sound. This modification allowed for the integration of different pitches with the sine oscillator, resulting in unique bass sounds.

Question 4: What additional techniques did the speaker explore to enhance the bass sounds in the grid?

In addition to the techniques mentioned, the speaker explored using the format oscillator shape with the skew module and incorporating a filter and distortion effects into the bass sounds in the grid. By using the skew module after the mirror for format manipulation, the speaker was able to further shape the sound. The filter module, such as a peak or notch filter, and distortion effects were added to introduce more tonal variation and density to the bass sounds. By modulating values over time and experimenting with different parameters, the speaker discovered numerous possibilities for sound design and modulation in the grid.


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00:00] So in the last video I talked about how you can learn the grid because people
[00:00:05] sometimes don't understand how you get to a certain place in the grid, how you
[00:00:10] come up with some ideas to do something and I want to show you basically a
[00:00:14] journey that took place in my life because at some point I used FM8 for
[00:00:23] bass lines, for dubstep bass lines or drum bass bass lines and what I did back
[00:00:30] then was to use just one operator or one oscillator here, this is one sine
[00:00:36] oscillator, just pure bass sound, pure sine bass, pretty pure and what I used to do
[00:00:46] was to use a second oscillator or second operator here and I switched this to a
[00:00:53] different wave shape. I switched it to, we have a lot of wave shapes here in FM8,
[00:00:57] switched this maybe to the second or third format here and it looks like this
[00:01:01] right, it's like a sine with multiple zero crossings here but slowly fading out
[00:01:07] within one cycle of the waveform and this sounds like this so it's not really
[00:01:14] a sine, a sine signal, just a three octave sire, four octave sire, it just sounds like a
[00:01:26] format or like a vocal sound even, even though it's just a sine kind of
[00:01:36] but you know ten times higher in frequency and then slowly fading out and
[00:01:43] this kind of interesting because I used to mix this into the sine as a phase
[00:01:50] frequency modulation source here, into the sine then you get this nice pure
[00:01:59] fundamental for the bass and then the overtones are basically created with this
[00:02:04] second operator here and then you can use here the multi-stage envelope
[00:02:15] generators to bring this in over time
[00:02:19] and then operator D frequency modulate here
[00:02:44] maybe a little bit of tuning here
[00:03:01] maybe also a format, let's go back to one
[00:03:11] so you can create dubstep kind of bass sounds with this easily just by using
[00:03:20] the format here and I kind of like the sound so you can already imagine that
[00:03:26] you can just copy this waveform into the scroll oscillator and have to kind of the
[00:03:32] same effect so I remember this that I used to do this in FM8 so I tried to use
[00:03:39] this with a scroll in the grid let's go for grid there it is so in here also
[00:03:53] it's also monophonic by the way using an ADSR what we need output here and let's
[00:04:04] go for scroll so it sounds like this maybe disable this
[00:04:16] to also just a pure bass you have a sign here yeah
[00:04:25] so I created here some waveforms called formants as you can see here this the
[00:04:34] inspiration was literally FM8
[00:04:45] so you get this nice formants vocally sound and we can now use here a sign as
[00:04:53] I used the first operator back then and then I have frequency modulate here the
[00:04:58] sign with this formant scroll then go back out here
[00:05:14] so you can kind of do the same let's use a different one here
[00:05:19] you can even duplicate this and say I have here maybe 10 yeah I have what's
[00:05:30] that third yeah it's also cool maybe use here fourth and then bring this together
[00:05:41] with a merge with three inputs nice use a value so you can morph between all
[00:05:53] these three options here
[00:05:57] so you have already two values you can modulate over time with segments for
[00:06:10] instance right and have some fun with this let's use the segments here put
[00:06:16] this in the one shot mode maybe half note gets we triggered so let's bring
[00:06:24] this in and then another one and put this in loop mode quarter note bring this
[00:06:44] down here we modulate basically the value of this right you can play around
[00:07:06] with this kind of ideas we have two values you can use to modify the sound
[00:07:11] in a certain direction maybe that's too fast
[00:07:26] let's go here too and then on top of that you can also use a filter of course
[00:07:39] sound key filter or even a notch is there a notch in here no use need to use the
[00:07:52] XP notch
[00:07:56] okay so that's just basically the idea you get the format oscillator shapes in
[00:08:18] here into the scroll from the FM 8 and then you do basically the same what I
[00:08:21] did in FM 8 modulate the sign oscillator with that or frequency modulate sign
[00:08:27] oscillator with that and then you get a lot of different overtones that are
[00:08:31] pretty dubstep II or jump bass taggy another idea I had with this with this
[00:08:39] knowledge was instead of using scroll I just used the sign by itself and modify
[00:08:45] the face signal of this and for that to give you the idea how this works I use
[00:08:51] your oscilloscope maybe put this into the pitch mode here this bit extend this
[00:09:01] a bit here so we have a sign here and now we try to modify basically at the face
[00:09:10] instead of using the internal phaser of the sign oscillator we switch this off
[00:09:15] can also remove this for now and use now as an input a phaser so switching here
[00:09:25] the internal phaser off we can now use the external phaser we have to use your
[00:09:29] 100% we have the same outcome as before the only difference now is that we can
[00:09:34] influence the face signal still still just a pure sign so what we do now here
[00:09:42] is we use the mirror of the face or face category here on top we have a lot of
[00:09:49] modules we can choose from in the mirror kind of doubles the zero crossings when
[00:09:57] you're at zero nothing happens and that's better
[00:10:13] so it looks like there's a mirror here right and then we mirror basically the
[00:10:21] wave shape multiple times and when we use here the right number and you know
[00:10:30] twelve is just to doubled zero then we can go to 24 this is also doubled so
[00:10:37] it's it looks like now we are just for octo sire just off so it's basically
[00:10:46] just a pitch increase right so what we can do now is we can do the same trick
[00:10:54] as before we slowly fade out the waveform over time in one cycle and we do
[00:11:00] this by using a multiply and basically volume modulate here the sign output and
[00:11:07] the phaser output here is basically just a ramp signal for for the cycle for one
[00:11:13] cycle so one ramp here is one cycle so we can use this to drive here to multiply
[00:11:20] input because one is volume maybe I use your constant to show you this phase one
[00:11:28] we have the same output as before and then we can use this here as a volume
[00:11:33] slider more or less and zero is yeah zero volume so we need the signal
[00:11:40] between zero and one and the output of the phaser is exactly that it's a ramp
[00:11:45] signal from zero to one so we can use this as an input for the multiplier
[00:11:52] pretty easily and gives us basically a ramp for the cycle so this is one cycle
[00:12:00] of the pitch we are pressing on the keyboard
[00:12:07] so it's like before in the phase four with the formant wave shape where we
[00:12:11] slowly here we fading in but in the FM8 we fading out so we have to reverse this
[00:12:18] and we can reverse this pretty easily here because there is a reverse there's a
[00:12:25] reverse here it is yeah put this in here so now we are slowly fading out here with
[00:12:34] the volume within the cycle
[00:12:38] so what this does is basically it kind of simulates the cycle for the ear
[00:12:56] basically this is just here the pitch but within the pitch we have multiple
[00:13:02] different other pitches kind of so because we are slowly fading out here
[00:13:08] over time we simulate kind of this fundamental pitch and we can amplify
[00:13:14] that we are on a different fundamental pitch by using a different or another
[00:13:19] sign here and mix this in right so this is basically our cycle here from here
[00:13:26] to here that's the fundamental so we either use a mixer here and mix the
[00:13:34] fundamental and this kind of fake over tone together maybe bring this down here
[00:13:40] a bit
[00:13:53] or even better instead of a mixer we just say this is here maybe some kind of
[00:14:01] experiment maybe put this here but so yeah instead we use the output of that
[00:14:06] we use just a sign as an output and then we use this as a phase modulation input
[00:14:12] here
[00:14:15] so on top of that which in my opinion sounds already nice and gives you a lot
[00:14:33] of options to create sounds we can put this even or we can do even more by
[00:14:40] using at the face category and maybe try to use a format instead here after the
[00:14:45] mirror
[00:14:48] maybe use a shift
[00:14:59] shift is not that cool let's try as skew
[00:15:06] or maybe use this cue in front of the mirror
[00:15:35] so you have this this this value and this value you can modulate over time to
[00:15:41] create yeah interesting bass sounds so let's use here this format for that and
[00:16:01] this one maybe for this cue
[00:16:26] there's not even distortion on there yet it's just pure synthesized so distortion
[00:16:37] could be interesting too but maybe it's too much because you already have so
[00:16:41] many overtones distortion only introduces more overtones and makes it
[00:16:46] more dense but maybe that's exactly what you want maybe a peek or notch maybe
[00:17:02] after the distortion or you can even use the phaser phaser here as a filter and
[00:17:19] we put this into oh yeah you have to use here the value input and usually it has
[00:17:26] some internal LFO to change here some parameters so you can disable this by
[00:17:32] using the input here you can see the speed knob now is disabled and now we
[00:17:35] can use the value to yeah kind of move through the filter
[00:18:00] maybe it's too much much later yeah
[00:18:05] so a lot of options and values you can modulate over time to make the sound
[00:18:29] really stand out over time and usually when you use soft synthesizers you don't
[00:18:35] have that many options right you can maybe you know change some effects here
[00:18:40] and there but here it's basically just changing the oscillator itself in so
[00:18:46] many directions that it's actually just using a wavetable or wavetable oscillator
[00:18:53] in itself becomes quite boring because it just you know drive through the wave
[00:19:00] table from here to here and that's it and then you have maybe some some values
[00:19:05] you can change afterwards in the effects right with the with the cues or maybe
[00:19:10] filters or distortion settings and so on but here you can really influence the
[00:19:15] wave shape before you even get into the FX part of your synthesizer which is
[00:19:20] kind of interesting in my opinion and yeah and this kind of a journey I had or
[00:19:27] this is kind of an experience journey over time where I started back in the
[00:19:31] early 2000s with with FM8 right made a lot of bass sounds with that then I got
[00:19:38] at some point a grid and I tried out some different techniques here and then I got
[00:19:43] the scroll and then I you know remembered how I did bass sounds back
[00:19:47] with FM8 and tried some experiments here in the grid with the scroll and then
[00:19:52] here with the face signal and so on so kind of remember certain things you did
[00:19:57] in the past and it sounded great and then you try and clone it to do your
[00:20:01] current setup and then you come up with these kind of bass patches okay so
[00:20:07] that's it for this video thanks for watching leave a like if you like the
[00:20:14] video hit me up with the comments if you have some questions and if you have
[00:20:19] maybe some additional ideas what you can do to create these kind of nice sounds
[00:20:23] or bass sounds and yeah let me know thank you for watching and see you in
[00:20:28] the next video bye