I'm trying to re-create the New york transity autority bass sound. IT can be heard here.

It sounds very simple but I'm new to creating sounds in FL Studio. Any help would be great. Sound comes in at 17 seconds


It sounds simple and fundamentally it is, but what gives the sound it's character is vibrato and some stereo effects. Rather than just explaining, I thought I'd take a quick shot at recreating this sound myself. Bear in mind that a lot of artists use factory or purchased presets, so there is a good chance the artist didn't create this sound themselves. Also, some effects, especially stereo effects are added by mastering engineers to 'beef up' the track. But that doesn't mean it can't be recreated by us.

Another point to remember is that with sound recreation, you can use a few different techniques to get the same result. For this guide, I'll be using generic instructions, as I'm not familiar with FL Studio. I used a synth I created in NI's Reaktor for this. You might want to get your hands on some third-party synthesizer plugins if you want to do more stuff like this.

So firstly, I did some additive synthesis and modulation:
I started by modulating the frequency of a simple narrow pulse waveform using a sinewave with an effective 36 semitone deviation from the base frequency. Then, an octave lower, I amplitude modulated a parabolic sinewave using a sinewave with a o.46 (full scale) amplitude. I then added a "bass tone"; a triangular wave at around -20 dB.

At this stage, I also applied some slow vibrato to give the sound that characteristic wavy deviation.

So that is the crunk of the sound, it has to have some particular harmonics at this stage. If I did this professionally, I would have been a lot more precise, but it's a close enough representation for our quick example.

Next it's time for some subtractive synthesis:
I added a stereo 4-pole Low Pass Filter to the output with keyboard follow, set the cutoff to around 66% with a resonance value of around 60%. I changed the resonance and cutoff values by around 1% to add some stereo separation between left and right(if only a little)(This won't have much of an effect so you don't have to do it really). Next, I modulated the filter cutoffs very slightly with an envelope with attack and decay times of <250 ms. I then modulated the cutoffs along with the filter drive and resonance with a second envelope. This time, with a slow decay and zero attack. Again, the modulation amplitude remains extremely low. We just want a touch of temporal movement to the filters. Use your discression to find the right values.

Finally, we widen the bassline with some stereo effects:
At this stage, you can be a bit more creative, I just looked through my VST database for stereo modulation effects like chorus and modulated delay. I settled on some Waves modules, including a frequency-based widening effect, a doubler effect and a touch of short reverb. I also utilized MaxxBass Stereo, to extend the low end. For time's sake I just used presets at hand for the effects modules, if I had more time I would have put a lot more thought into the effects, but I'm sure you get the idea. It actually took me longer to write this than it did to create most of the sound.

These are the two final mixes, I adjusted some effects and modulation values for the second version.

Increasing the filter modulation, revealing the decay time.

Remving the filter modulation, revealing the underlying sound.

When recreating a sound, it helps me to create a rough version with effects and modulation, then go back to the start and adjust the basic properties so you can get a feel for how it changes.

I hope this isn't too much for you, if it is, just take what you can from it.

  • Marc, thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my post and re create the sound. It sounds great. I will have a play around and see if I can follow your instructions, although most of it has gone over my head. It just shows how little I know about sound production at this stage. – Chris Mitchell Mar 13 '17 at 15:26
  • No problem, I really enjoy doing random stuff like this in my spare time anyway. The the main things to remember (after you have a good square/pulse-type waveform) are the slow vibrato, the low pass filter and the widening effects. Then just mess with the original square wave with FM, maybe add a triangular wave and try some other things with it. Good luck with it anyway. – Marc W Mar 13 '17 at 21:05
  • 1
    @MarkW, great answer!! – frcake Apr 13 '17 at 16:52

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