How to Create an Epic Bass with Sub Harmonics

 

Sometimes a mix, 808, kick, synth or bass guitar needs some help.  More times than not, the issue lies in the lack of harmonics in the instrument or mix.  

If the fundamental frequency isn’t prevalent, or the sound is run through some speakers with a weak low end response, the bass will be lost. 

The best way to create an epic or full bass sound is to add harmonic and subharmonic frequencies.  These frequencies augment the fundamental notes of the instrument or mix, creating a bold and perceivable low end.  Use harmonic generating plugins next time you need to bring your low end forward.  

Use the plugins listed below, or ones like them to achieve an epic bass sound.

The Test Signal:

To demonstrate the affect of the R Bass and LoAir plugins, a test tone was used.  

This test tone is a 110Hz sine wave.  Being a sine wave, the signal is only one note.  Adding harmonics to this signal should create a fuller, more complex frequency response. 

Here is how the sine wave appears when analyzed.

A sine wave includes only one note, the fundamental
A sine wave includes only one note, the fundamental

Take a listen to the sine wave to get a good reference.  Compare this sample to the affected sample in later examples:

110 Hz. sine wave. Use Headphones or professional monitors to listen properly.

R Bass:

R Bass works by recognizing the fundamental note in your instrument or mix, and then adding overtones, or harmonics above the fundamental.  

Notice that each harmonic is a multiple of the fundamental frequency.
Notice that each harmonic is a multiple of the fundamental frequency.

This is particularly helpful when the fundamental is being buried or was weak initially.  Essentially when the harmonics of a fundamental are present, the brain will recreate the fundamental note, even if that note isn’t present.

This perceptual trick is incredibly helpful when a low end fundamental is being masked, or cut out by speakers that don’t production low spectrum frequencies.

Listen to the 110Hz test tone with R Bass applied:

110 Hz. sine wave with 220Hz, 330Hz, 440Hz and subsequent harmonics.

LoAir:

The LoAir plugin works not by adding overtones, but by pitch shifting the fundamental down.  This creates a new, subharmonic frequency.  

The subharmonic frequency is 1/2 the fundamental frequency.
The subharmonic frequency is 1/2 the fundamental frequency.

Perfect for a sub woofer, this subharmonic frequency will add power to any full spectrum speaker system.  

Use this effect sparingly, as a little can go a long way.  Too much, and you may overload your or your listener’s speaker system.  

Listen to the test tone with the generated harmonics from both the R Bass and Lo Air plugins:

110 Hz. sine wave with a subharmonic of 55Hz. This sample also includes the harmonics generated by the R Bass plugin.

Conclusion:

An epic bass is one that uses complex harmonics.  When these frequencies are too quiet or non existent, the bass will sound weak, and be easily lost in a complex mix.  

Use the plugins above or others like it to generate harmonics when they are lacking.  Remember that too much of a good thing is possible, and you made create a boomy and unlistenable mix if you don’t use these effects tastefully.

How do you achieve an epic bass sound?


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