Hello. As you may have heard, Renoise team recently released the Redux sampler. I’m really fond of this great instrument (that I even made a small post about it) so I’ve decided to change my blog post format a little to keep things Redux compatible as much as possible. With Redux being a VST instrument, that will ensure that I reach a greater amount of people and hopefully have more helpful content. This little change resulted in a much longer post than my usual but I hope it translates well to anyone who takes time to read it. To keep up with this tutorial, you need Redux of course (or Renoise, once it’s updated). Camel Crusher, a great freebie distortion/saturation unit, is optional.
For your convenience, here are the links for this week’s content to download. First one is everything included (all audio+ patch snapshots) and the other 2 are just the final patches for Redux:
This week, we’ll be covering a new school neuro-style bassline. Since Redux is sampler, we obviously need some sort of audio to get started. In this case, I’ll be using single cycle waveforms from adventurekid.se to get some oscillator action going. The basis of our sound consists of two waveforms: A sine wave, and AKWF_dbass_0054. These waveforms are tuned down 14 semitones so that they are in bass range and the notes are correct. The result isn’t overly exciting:
What we first need is some movement. The most straightforward way to get that is by detuning oscillators. But in this case I’ll go for something else: Amplitude Modulation. I used to do the same thing in Renoise by using a Ring Modulator but Redux has pretty cool new modulation options and AM is one of them. It’s a bit embarassing that I’m not very sure about the differences between RM and AM but this will have to do for now. In any case, we apply the new “AM sine” modulation in Redux to our second oscillator and detune it slightly. (As illustrated with red in the picture below) Then it gets controlled by a keytracker so that the frequency of this modulator always follows the note pitch. Also note that there’s some drive and dry/wet setting is pretty low. It looks like this and sounds like this:
A bit better. The speed of this modulation is dependant on how much you detune the AM modulator. You can even automate or modulate it to get more wobble control. The waveforms themselves also contribute to the movement a little but that usually isn’t very apparent until you add distortion and quite unpredictable even then.
Now time for FX. The main thing we need is distortion. As our oscillators are out of phase at the moment, distortion will have an interesting fattening effect by pushing some frequencies out in accordance to phase relationships. Chorus usually helps too since it introduces this effect further by more detuning. The processing chain looks like this. There are two waveshaping FX here. First one is the Analog filter. It isn’t doing any filtering but saturation.
A few words on saturation: It is a very important effect for me to control dynamic range without any clipping or compression artifacts. My go-to plug-in is Fabfilter Saturn as I find that one to be easiest to use with little to no negative impact. A great freebie alternative is Camel Crusher. It’s a bit less transparent but it’s fat and free! Redux has a new “drive” mode in filters which appears to be a saturation algorithm and I’m very much glad we have something like that now! I haven’t tested it throughly yet but at a glance, it sounds really really cool.
So back to our patch. Analog Filter’s saturation combined with the Distortion squashes the dynamic range nicely. Distortion also adds some grit and mid/high frequencies which we’ll need later for filtering. A great new thing for the Chorus in Redux is that you can manually reset the phase. This way you can precisely control how your sample gets processed and I’m a big fan of this feature. Here I’m doing that by linking a velocity tracker to chorus reset. You can control the phase by the velocity trackers dest-max parameter.
It is kind of too squashed here and sounds less bassy but that’s ok. We will add more bass later.
What’s next? At this point there’s nothing stopping us from repeating the same process over and over. Because right now instead of a static oscillator we have something that continually moves. So by adding more sound sources (either by doubling or adding new oscillators) and introducing some phase cancelation and then distorting the output again we can exaggerate this effect further and get that new school processed sound. In theory at least.
Therefore it’s time to add another oscillator. A basic sine wave and again I’ve used keytracked AM (similar settings as before) to detune it. This new oscillator and the previously effected audio then gets processed together in a similar chain as before (saturation, chorus, distortion) but with an addition this time: A filter sweep. It’s another new Redux filter (chebyshev) with a notch setting controlled by a free running LFO. This provides some filtering movement in addition to the wobble. There’s also some low and high EQ boost. See the “FX Chain 2” in the Redux patch.
Now for the final part. A final AM modulated sine wave. (A less “pure” sinewave this time but I doubt it truly matters.) Together with the previous chain running through a chorus, distortion and another sweeping filter. Gets distorted more and EQ’ed for minor adjustments. The final output is saturated again. I normally use Camel Crusher here in these settings. (The input is turned down a tad using a gainer.) But as a replacement I’ve added another Analog Filter as a saturator and it sounds pretty similar. You can turn it off and try experimenting between a few saturation units to understand how they work. As a bonus try observing the changes in dynamic range using something like s(M)exoscope.
Anyhow here’s the final reese sample. It’s a semitone lower than the others for some reason I’m not sure.
That’s it for the first part. Coming up next is how we sculpt this sound further in Redux to get something musical out of it.
Update: Here’s Part 2
(Original image by Donghee Bae.)