What's your trick for getting PHAT bass sounds?

I’ve not had the op z for long, started making simpler lofi hip hop beats, then some complete hiphop songs. Dabbled in some other types but now that i’m getting into stuff that’s more sonically heavy, if that’s a thing, i can’t seem to get any Bass synth to stand out in the mix or even to sound as full as the samples i use.

For ex, i recently messed round with layering vocals of a beautiful singers voice (using 3 drum tracks), the voice layers sound epic and the drums (on track 1) come thru heavy and tight but no matter what i do, i can’t get any bass synth to sound as fat or heavy or full. It just gets lost in the back or sounds like it doesn’t belong :thinking:

so i’m wondering what you all do to get phat bass synths, things that would stand out in edm, glitch, dubstep, house, trance etc etc…

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There are entire books devoted to the mixing of bass frequencies, and its a complicated thing (at times). First question is, what are you listening through? If you have no subs, you may not be hearing some of the more powerful frequency ranges of the sounds. In addition, bass frequencies take up more room in a mix and can conflict with each other more easily than higher frequencies, which may be causing some phasing or other interference. Another thing is that the finished mixes you hear from other people, especially professional stuff has been compressed, often sidechained (a method of making certain frequencies jump out of the way of each other) AND Often has some saturation, which will lend harmonic distortion to bass sounds, giving your ears higher frequency clues as to what the bass is doing.

That being said, compression and distortion can go a long way in fattening a bass sound, but there is a simpler technique which could help as well. As you are mixing in different elements adding to the mix, you are taking up Headroom, which is basically “total available volume for the entire mix” (this is a simplified definition). To solve that issue, tTurn The Other Elements Down (especially sounds that probably have conflicting frequencies) and then mix the bass in. In addition, EQ is your friend, and sidechain compression, while difficult to wrap the head around at first, can be super helpful as well.

Hope that helps.


thanks for that thought out response. I’m reading and practicing with many of those things you mentioned in the DAW. sidechaining, panning, eq’ing.

What i really wasn’t clear about was the op z specific bass synth engines. Not really mixing and mastering in post. The opz bass synths are just plain flat blahs, there doesn’t seem to much in the way to tweak in the 4 parameter settings to get good bass that thumps. Are there settings in the op z i’m missing? I could always use samples but the opz already has limited sample space and most of it is being used for these vocals and drums.

side note: when i “finish” a song with my opz i usually export as 1 track into ableton, throw on the simplest compression and super minor tweak to the overall track. Then done, i just upload and i’m fine with that. But i also import each track separately into a new ableton project, all 6-8 tracks or whatever. Then i play around with that for awhile just exploring those mastering concepts you mentioned. Not really to replace the first song just to learn how those things affect the mix. Sometimes the heavily tweaked version comes out sounding better and sometimes i just spend a week tweaking and it sounds no better, just different.

A good monitoring situation goes like most of the way. Then the decisions you make in that environment will translate well (hopefully lol). I use 808’s and hit the master comp moderately and no issues here.

isn’t the 808 drum sounds? I have good kicks and stuff, i’m talking bout the op z built in bass synth engines. They all end up having a lack luster sound compared to the sampled drums and vocals i have. They work well to make funky and string like synth sounds but lack the heavy punch to compete with “boom bap” style drum kits and heavily processed vocals.

I use the synth/stock bass a decent amount too tbh. I use the filter to make it darker usually. I also mess with the adsr if it not doing what I want

I mostly use the built in synths for sketching, then MIDI the Z up to my synths when its time for tracking… so Im not sure how much actual depth could be squeezed out of the built in engines.

via the oplab module i’m assuming?

Yea, But before I use that a used USB midi to achieve the same thing