Bass House Sound Design Basics (xfer Serum) 🎵

Sound design is one of the key aspect when making Bass House music. We found out that a lot of producers struggle to create fat and groovy sounds in their digital synthesizer. In this blogpost I am going to explain some sound design tricks based on Xfer Serum (our go-to Bass House plugin)

1. Modulation
Xfer Serum is offering you three types of modulation:
• Frequency Modulation (FM)
• Ring Modulation (RM)
• Amplitude Modulation (AM)

The theories behind these types of modulation are quite complex and I will not dive too much into the technical side. Serum made modulation so easy and clear that you do not actually need that much of knowledge about modulation in its true form.

In Serum you can find the warp section in OSC A and OSC B.

*Click on 'OFF' and you can select: FM, RM or AM

You always modulate a sound with the output of on of the other oscillators. For example:

I have a sine wave on OSC A and a saw wave on OSC B. I select warp -> FM from B, this means the sine wave on OSC A is going to be modulated by the output signal of OSC B.

You can play around with different wavetable combinations. One very common combination of wavetables is using a sine wavetable to modulate another sine wavetable. You can turn off the level of the oscillator you are modulating with and it will still affect the signal.

2. Make it move
To create movement in your sounds it is very useful to use LFO's. In Serum you have the ability to precisely draw the shape of your LFO, which can result into great sounds. You can try to link the LFO to as many knobs you can imagine. In this case there is nothing like good and wrong, just try out what sounds good. Some things you can modulate are FM, Pitch, Filters, Level and much more. 

Some background information on LFO's:

ENV: The shape will only be played once if you play a note
TRIG: Once you push a note the LFO will start to follow its shape
OFF: The LFO follows the tempo of the track
RATE: Determine how fast the LFO is moving

3. Use effects in the synthesizer
Serum comes with a very advanced effects section. There are so many possibilities to give the sound your own twist. Some frequently used effects in Serum for bass house sounds are: hyper and dimension, distortion, multi-band compression and the filter.

The multi-band compression in Serum is definitely one of the most powerful ways to make your sounds harder and more full. Serum also comes with endless filter possibilites such as flanges or miscellaneous filters. The fitlers can be used to make the sound unique or just to make the sounds more clean.

4. Create your own wavetables

You can create crazy unique wavetables quite easily. The sound design legend Virtual Riot already explained this quite some times, so I am just going to link you guys to a YouTube tutorial where he creates his own wavetables quite simply.

This can definitely help you to create unique sounds and it is just very nice to play around with this. This is also one of the reasons Serum is super good and efficient for creating Bass House music. 

5. Use mod knobs
Mod knobs are tweaks in Serum that you can link to as many buttons you want. This can lead to creazy movement in your sounds and will also make it more interesting to listen to. My tip for this is as well to just play around with it.

I hope you guys learnt something from this blog post. If you want to check out some Bass House presets and samples to learn from or to use in your productions, make sure to check out our latest pack 'Redemption'. We also have some FREE Bass House presets for you guys.

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