VS 15: MorphSynth Bass

Hi. I’m back with another tutorial after a week’s break. As I haven’t been in a CDP mood recently I figured I’d try something different this time and decided to focus on another favourite sound design area of mine: Basses. Renoise has a lot to offer in terms of bass production and I will probably visit this subject pretty often in the future. But today I am exploring MorphSynth which is a synthetic sound generation tool for Renoise. I am new to using it but I really like it.

Anyhow, let’s get down to it. My settings first. Here‘s how my carrier oscillators look. While looking a bit confusing at first glance, it’s actually a pretty straightforward setup. What I have here is 3 waveforms (sine, pulse, triangle) morphing into one another at certain speeds (0.43 and 0.58 seconds). The “shape” parameter changes the asymmetry of the waveforms and you can also morph the fading envelope into exponential or logarithmic curves. I’m generating just a single note (F-1).


No big deals. To spice it up let’s go for some FM modulation. My modulators look like this. Two different shaped triangles morphing in 0.5 seconds. The modulation amount also increases while first waveform transforms into the second one. And lastly, the fade curve is logarithmic.

It’s a bit grittier, right? But it could still use more dirt so I’m introducing another FM modulator in parallel. Again a triangle, low modulation and note that it’s also detuned 7 cents. It looks like this and sounds like this:

This will do as a basis for our sound. It’s now time for FX which plays a huge role in these kind of bass/mid sounds. My processing chain consists of Native Instruments Driver (which was free for some time), Acon Digital Multiply (free), Devastor (not free, but cheap & recommended) and Sine Shaper (free). And here are my settings. As you can see at the top, I’m using an envelope in Renoise to modulate multiple parameters. The bulk of the movement comes from Driver’s lowpass filter. There’s also another cutoff filter being modulated in Devastor (love modulating those) and finally input and drive parameters in Sine Shaper. Lastly, Multiply adds some wideness and detuned thickness. I also did minor EQ’ing and added reverb at this stage.

It’s actually done now but I love adding a clean sub layer to my basses and here’s an extra step doing that. It’s basically a sine wave tuned to the appropriate note. A cool trick I like to use is adding another sine which is an octave higher than the sub and turning it down quite a bit. It helps getting your low end heard on smaller speakers. Just make sure it doesn’t clash with your kick’s fundamental. I also decided to go crazy here and add another sine which is tuned to the 5th of the sub (7 semitones higher). It’s a bit risky as it screws up your tonality but it’s really low in volume and I feel like it manages to add a tiny bit of weight. Finally I did some more EQ correction at this step. Here’s the final sound:

And there you go. I hope it’s been helpful as this is my first attempt at a bass tutorial kind of post. Feel free to leave feedback & comments so that I can refine it and make it better.

That’s all for this week, see you around!

(Image by Horia Varlan.)