How to: Create warped techno bass in Ableton's Wavetable

Warped Techno Bass In Ableton's Wavetable

In today’s blog post we are going to be exploring how to use Ableton’s epic new Wavetable synth to make a warped techno bass which will help explode some life into your productions.

First off loud in Wavetable from the instruments section in the browser. Right of the bat lets switch on the sub oscillator, this will allow us to maintain a solid sub end to our bass sound while allowing the 2 main oscillators to give us that warped vibe.

In terms of midi, let’s just program a rather simply pattern which longer notes hitting on the one. With this sound we want it to engulf the audio spectrum creating a real dense atmosphere.

To get this warped sound lets explore some of the more outlandish wavetable that are in the synth. To be honest there is a vast multitude of these sounds in there each providing new sound design possibilities so really as long as you don’t use the standard, Saw, Square Sine etc waves you should be good to go.

For this example in OSC 1 let’s use Complex, Verbed. Also let’s put the wave position to around 50%. Also since we are doing bass it’s best to stick the since in mono. You can find this under volume, the button will be called poly and soon as you press it, it will change to mono.

Since we are doing a warped bass lets take advantage of the warped OSC FX’s. To find this go to the bottom of the OSC window and click None, here you will have a menu of 4 choices (including None) select modern.

Put the warp parameter to roughly 60% and fold to 50%.

This is already sounding nice a warped but lets take it one step further and add some modulation to these parameters. To do this click on the parameter you wish to add modulation to and from there navigate to the matrix tab. Now you will see the parameter you wish to modulation show up.

Now we will have the warp modulated by the LFO 1 and ENV 3. From there we can move to the LFO 1 tab and adapt the parameters. To get there click on the Mod Sources tab, then LFO 1. Let’s use a sine wave to have smooth modulation with a low rate ( around 0.03Hz) and take of re trig so the waveform continues to change and is note reset every time a note is entered or played.

In ENV 3 lets set the initial value to around 70%, attack to 2secs and decay to 4secs

We can now look to bring in OSC 2, in OSC 2 choose Distortion, Clipped Sweep with a wavetable position of around 30%

Again lets modulation the waveform, click on the wavetable position, in the matrix tab select the LFO 2 amt to be -4.7.

Now move to the mod sources tab and select LFO 2, set the rate to sync and 1/2. Again take re trig off.

It’s now feels let we are ready to add the filter to curtail the higher frequencies. On filter 1 use a LP24 filter, set the frequency cutoff to around 180Hz and resonance to 60%. As always lets use the dope filter circuits. Let’s use the Oscar circuit and drive it with a setting of around 4dB.

We can open up the filter a little with and envelope. Again to do this click on the frequency cutoff to view it in the matrix. Add it 100% to ENV2. Now navigate to ENV 2. Take the peak value down to around 80% and the Attack to 1.6secs, Decay to 1.9secs and Release to 11secs. Let’s also pull out the Amp release to 3secs.

Using Filter 2 in parallel may also be rather useful. To switch the filter routing into parallel mode click where it says serial and there will be a drop down menu, select parallel. Now select a 12dB Band Pass Filter, set the Frequency Cutoff to 500Hz, Resonance to 60%, Circuit to OSR and drive it by 4dB.

Now we can modulate the BP Filter Cutoff. Let’s send it to the LFO 1 & 2 with the setting, LFO 1 34%, LFO 2 -11%.

It’s well worth using the unison, this will double up the sound creating huge spread. In this example let’s use the classic setting on 3 voices with the amount at 30%.

As you can properly tell we have lost come of our centre image, to solve this add the utility audio effect into the chain. Set the bass mono to 300Hz.

We are almost done but let’s add in a couple more audio effects, let’s start with the pedal and set it to overdrive, with a 14% gain and a dry/wet value of 30%. Also remember to engage the sub which will let through the low end, keeping it nice and clean.

Last in the chain add the Echo audio effect, set up the delay’s to be unlinked. For the left have a dotted 1/16 and the right a dotted 1/8. Drive the input signal by first clicking the D button and a gain value of around 4dB. Switch the delay mode to ping pong and a feedback value of 40%. Now add in the reverb with a value of 73%, a decay of 62% and send it to the into the feedback circuit.

To keep the low end clean go to the filter section in the Echo audio effect and set the HP filter to 148Hz. Let’s move to the character tab and switch on the ducking, this will allow our sound to maintain a lot of impact while having a sense of space. Set the threshold to -41dB and release to 120ms which will roughly be a a 1/16th note at 120BPM and if you wish to have the delay come in later double this value for a 1/8th note and again for a 1/4 note.

Lastly let’s group our sounds into a instrument rack and set up some macros so we can adapt this on a song by song basis. Start by adding the LP and BP filter cutoff to macro 1 and 2 respectively. The pedal and Echo Dry/Wet to 3 and 4 respectively (Also it will be useful to map the range of the Echo Dry/Wet to max 50% so the synth sound will always be more present). Now set the ENV 2 peak to macro 5, Attack to 6 and Decay to 7. And lastly map the chain volume to macro 8.

So that’s that for our warped bass sound. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and stay tuned for more Ableton Live 10 gems!

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