Tips & Tricks for Making Bigger NI Massive Bass Synths
Getting to know how each feature really works, and how they all work together, is what it takes to consistently make the best NI Massive bass synths possible!
The trick to really big bass sounds in a mix is actually a combination of a few things. First, approaching this type of sound design with a less is more mentality is usually a great place to start. Don’t over do it with phasing, filters, effects, etc and avoid signal degradation. Keeping things simple in the sound design process makes a sound easier to work with later on in the mix and master phases of your workflow. Keeping your NI Massive bass synths centered is also another way to help ensure a clean and clear result in the end. Another point of emphasis is routing. Clever routing techniques can often times save you a lot of trouble later on and also produce bigger and clearer bass sounds with more impact.
Starting off with the oscillators, a Default Square-Saw I wavetable is loaded into both OSC1 and OSC2. The pitch of OSC1 is dropped one octave, while the pitch of OSC2 is dropped two octaves. Then a Square-Saw II wavetable is loaded into OSC3 and the pitch is dropped one octave. Notice the routing slide of each oscillator is slightly different. This will affect the next step in the process and small details like this one are all part of making bigger NI Massive bass synths!
Pro Tip: The more you learn about routing and signal flow in NI Massive, the more creative you can be in your programming.
Now a Lowpass4 filter is loaded into the Filter1 panel. A modulation envelope is also set up at this point and assigned to control the cutoff parameter of the filter. This is simply to add a small amount of movement at the initial triggering of a note to draw more attention to the sound, making it stand out a little more in the mix for the listener. The filter panels are set up to run in Parallel mode and the output is set to allow equal parts from both Filter1 and Filter2 in the mix. With no filter loaded in the Filter2 panel, this basically acts as a big bypass. Bringing more clarity and impact to your NI Massive bass synths in this way is an intelligent and savvy way to use the tools at hand.
The total number of unison voices is increased to five on the Voicing tab. These voices are then spread out via the Pitch Cutoff (imparts controlled phasing) and Pan Position (creates stereo spread) features. The synth is also set to run in Monorotate mode with a Legato Triller trigger. The amount of glide heard while moving between sustained notes can be adjusted on the OSC tab.
Pro Tip: Keep your NI Massive bass synths set to run as monophonic sounds because you won’t need to play chords with them.
A small amount of Ring Modulation is added to OSC2 via the Modulation OSC panel, which takes a slight edge off of the low end muddiness and helps to accent some subtle harmonics.
A touch of Feedback is added to thicken the sound and add more warmth. In this case the default routing position has been used.
Pro Tip: Routing matters. Make sure you have selected the right point of insertion for feedback for the types of NI Massive bass synths you happen to be making.
Finally, we visit the FX tabs area. A Brauner Tube Amp is used to add drive and distortion to this sound, while a Dimension Expander provides more space for the sound to develop in. Lastly the EQ unit is turned on and used to finish shaping the sound.
Pro Tip: Use effects minimally when designing your NI Massive bass synths to leave room for further manipulation later on in your DAW.
Below is a short audio sample of this bass synth in action alongside some drums. No processing of any kind has been applied outside of NI Massive.
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