Getting a powerful low end bass on your beats can be a difficult task. Many think it is as easy as throwing on a couple 808’s or synth bass. Unfortunately, its not that easy. Getting good bass is easy, but it takes a little bit more than just loading a few samples or a plugin. For this tutorial we are going to use an 808, a kick drum, a synth bass, and a distortion plugin.
For this tutorial I am going to assume that you already have a beat in progress. If not, create part of a beat and put it on loop. Perhaps a 16 beat loop.
Getting Your Kick Drum Right
First lets start with the kick drum you are using for your drums. Are you using a kick that is already loaded with bass? Do you have an effects on it boosting the bass (EQ or bass booster). If so, it is time to remove them and replace them. With your main kick drum you want something that is not loaded with low end. You want a mid heavy kick with a lot of punch and pop to it. If you don’t have a nice mid kick you can take a standard kick drum and do some slight EQ adjustments to it to get that mid kick sound we are looking for.
Don’t worry, the big sounding bass is coming soon enough. Once you have your kick sound picked out replace the original kick parts you had in your drum pattern.
Stacking Your Kick With 808
Now we want to grab our favorite 808 drum sample. I like something that has a little sustain but not to long. The next part comes down to preference but I will tell you what I like to do. Look at the pattern you are looping and see where you anticipate your bassline changing. You may already have a bassline in it if this is a beat you have already constructed. Now you want to place your 808’s at each change in the bassline. You also want to change the pitch of your 808 to match your bassline as you go.
Note: Before you do this you want to make sure your 808 sample is tuned. This way you can match the notes of your bassline in the piano roll exactly. Tune it once to C and then you can drag it around in the piano roll to any note you want. You may even consider saving it as a new sample for future use. Here is how to tune your kicks and samples.
Now that you have a nice tuned 808 sample, match your bassline with you 808. You also want to make sure that you have your mid kick from step one hit at each 808 sample. This will give you the punch of the mid kick and the deep bass hit of the 808 sample.
Creating A Synth Bass Part For Your Beat
Were almost there now. For this part you want a very deep synth bass. I like to make one using the 3xOsc in FL Studio. Here is How to make a Sub Bass with 3xOsc in FL Studio.
Replace your existing bass line with this low sub bass sound or create one matching the notes you used with your 808 samples. I like to hold the notes out throughout the entire section. So there will be synth bass throughout the entire loop.
EQ The Bass For Your Beat
Now we want to do some EQ adjustments to finalize the bass and kick. You want to use your ears as you make EQ adjustments but here are some good starting points. We are going to be doing some filtering.
Synth Bass – Filter somewhere 40 Hz and below using a high pass filter. This will get rid of the frequencies that won’t add anything to the sound. 40 Hz might be to high so adjust as necessary but anything below 20 Hz can most definitely be filtered out. You also want to filter out anything from 100 to 200 Hz and above. Start your low pass filter around 200 Hz and slowly bring it down until you hear it impacting your sub bass part. Once, it does slowly bring it back up until you hear no effect on the sound.
808 – I will treat the 808 similar to the synth bass with filtering. I may leave a little more on the high end if it feels like it needs it. I might also make a slight boost here and there to get the exact sound of the 808 I am looking for but not much.
Kickdrum – For the mid kick I will filter everything below 60 Hz for sure and possibly higher. I will slide my high pass filter up slowly until I hear it impact the kickdrum. Filter out the high end somewhere around 500 Hz using the same methods as before with a low pass filter.
Now we should have a pretty clean, tight, and punchy sounding low end. If you really want to add some punch to it grab your favorite compressor. We will save compression on the bass for a later tutorial.
Note: Using this method you are removing almost all of the high end on the sub bass which is good in most situations. However, you might find it useful to also double your mainbass line with a higher instrument to make sure it transitions well to all stereo systems such as headphones. A lot of headphones and earbuds can’t give that low response of the sub bass.
Another way to achieve it is by duplicating your synth bass and adding some slight distortion to it. This can be accomplished with something as simple as the standard distortion effect in FL Studio. With these doubled parts you want them low in the mix. You shouldn’t really notice them there until you are using headphones that need them. They are there for support when the deep bass cannot be heard.
Hopefully you have a good idea of how to create great low end bass on your beats now. If you have any questions or want further demonstration leave it in the comments below and we will go more in depth.