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At around 1.15 mins in a real nice beefy sound is heard, does anybody have any tips on attempting to recreate it?

Thanks.

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I believe the sound in question is in fact two separate sounds. At 1:15, there is a combination of a large low bass synth and a higher sounding synth which is doing an assortment of things to achieve the synth line.

The low bass synth is fairly standard. Likely a square or sine wave (or combination thereof) that has a low pass filter set to cut off anything above ~100-200hz. A number of other things are probably done to get that particular bass sound. The only thing I can tell for sure is that there appears to be some amount of attack time set on this synth. This causes the sound to briefly build up and creates the small swelling effect you should notice if you listen carefully. This could also be achieved using a "ducking" technique with the kick sound, but this appears to not be the case as the effect is still there regardless if the kick is present.

As for the higher synth, this is a bit trickier. The basic form of the synth sound has a hollow timbre which leads me to believe it is some combination of wavetable synthesis, but it's very difficult to say for sure. To me it sounds like the wave(s) have an irregular shape, perhaps angled straight lines or something more sporadic. A synth that allows you to draw the wave could help you experiment (Zebra by u-he is good for this). The timbre is really only one part of what you hear in this sound. A lot of the effect created is in the shaping of the sound.

In the higher synth line, the first element is akin to a one-time wobble effect. Essentially the frequency of the sound is sweeping up to create the effect of frequency growth and create the "whopping" effect (popular in dubstep). This was most likely done by linking the cutoff frequency to the attack of the synth sound so that as the attack goes on the cutoff increases, which adds higher frequency to the sound.

This is followed by two single note hits which have a distinguished attack sound. The attack could be created by layering a sound or by adding another dissimilar synth. The timbre's percussive nature lead me to believe the sound was layered on top of our higher synth.

The final note (highest) of the line appears to have the same whopping effect used before but to a lesser degree.

So really the effect you desire is in fact a combination of many different things happening at once to give the effect of a fluid sound and musical line. This is an important part of sound design and essentially where you make your money as a music producer.

  • To my ears it consists of higher end sounds run through some sort of convolution ambience and/or amp cabinet simulator effect. This layered very tightly on some pure bass (not run through the cabinet). The three "dun-dun-dun"'s sound like they have a bit of slap or pre-delay on a heavy reverb. – Hari Karam Singh Dec 23 '14 at 20:11
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Play with a synth that allows you to edit harmonics - in this case the sound feels like a high-pass filtered square wave. A square wave is made up of odd harmonics: Base frequency sine wave, plus 3x base freq, plus 5x base freq, etc. It just so happens that harmonics 3x and 5x make a major chord - c1, g2, e3, for example. These multiples of a base frequency occur often in mechanical vibrations, which is why your electric toothbrush or vacuum can sing a major chord to you.

Here's a graph with a fourier transform of a square wave: https://www.desmos.com/calculator/qc0g0spiwt, play with the sliders. Also the wiki article is enlightening. Ableton Live's Operator synth can produce this sound easily, just make a simple square wave and bandpass filter it, or quieten the lower components in the harmonic editor. The motion in the sound could come from a filter envelope, or from use of another FM oscillator that is modulating the first, with a slow attack.

As far as that hollow sound goes, neuroscientists may be able to explain why odd harmonics feel "hollow" but I haven't read that much yet. I can tell you from my experience with synths that a phaser, small room reverb, and clever use of EQ can help with a hollow feeling. Try using the envelope feature on the phaser; it will change the base freq of the phaser depending on the volume of the sound, so this will work best if your sound has an envelope that changes steadily over the course of the note. Also, while you're experimenting, be sure to use a visualization plugin like Smexoscope (free!) or iZotope Insight to get a feel for what is happening to the math part of a wave when you change it. Best of luck!

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