In part 3 of our ‘Creating The Sound of Jon Hopkins Series’.. Stu dig deeps into the world of bass, showcasing how to create the now infamous ‘Open Eye Signal’ bass sound plus some incredible tips on creating amazing bass sounds in Ableton Live
If you’re new to the series, you can check out the other two sections where we break down Jon’s iconic drum sounds plus his use of pads and texture HERE.
Creating Bass Using Ableton’s Analog Synth
An often forgotten powerhouse of Ableton is the plugin Analog. This dual oscillator beast is perfect for creating bass sounds In Ableton live. By combining both oscillators with some filter modulation, we’re able to create similar tones to those used by Jon Hopkins and his Korg MS20.
In the example below we’re using the following:
- Two oscillators, both in-sync but one detuned 2 octaves for extra sub weight, crucial for those weighty ‘Hopkins’ style bass sounds in Ableton live.
- A short Envelope attack & Decay for tight, punchy sounds – as the release is increased it will lengthen the sound.
- A small amount of envelope control over the filter. This can be found in the ‘Frequency Mod’ section > Env.
- We’re running our filters with a resonance of 30-40%.. for point of the resonance adds extra bite and aggression.
Automating Synths For Extra Interest
In the video, Stu mentioned automating the synth for extra interest and style. On our example above, we’re using both oscillators for maximum weight, but this could easily be achieved with one.
Note: Why not try automating the level of a second oscillator tuned higher when sections need to develop and build. This combined with a filter opening can create dramatic effects, toying with tension and release in your track.
If you’re ready to get your bass into your track, be sure to check out our bass mixing tips.
Processing Bass With Granular FX In Ableton
One way to add interest to your tracks is to re-sample your bass line using Granular FX. Ableton’s Grain Delay is incredible for adding little flourishes of texture that we can pepper over the top of our bass line as when we see fit. It’s these little moments that can make an average sounding bass-line begin to breath and come alive. This is how we do it:
- Add the Grain Delay to our bass channel
- Set the effect to 100% wet
- Create a new audio channel and set the input of that to record the bass channels output.
- Record a few passes where you twist dials, manipulate the plug in and go wild.
- We can now chop the recording as and when we please, adding like FX moments of interest.