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Bitwig workshop

Crunchy Psytrance basslines

Published 8:02 am on Tuesday 16th August 2022 by Beat Magazine

Project info

Material: Bitwig Studio 4

Time required: 30-60 minutes

Content: Create sounds for Psytrance basslines with FM-4 and make them crunchier with filter and  bitcrusher.

Difficulty: Advanced

1 Basic sound

For the start, we need a suitable sound, of course, and we get it from the FM-4 with the preset Three Nought Four, which we still adjust a little. On the one hand, we remove all effects from the FX slot; on the other hand, we set the Feedback of Operator 1 to zero (the value at the top left of the Operator matrix), which makes the sound less beefy.

2 Filter

In addition, we drive the modulation of Operator 2 up there, to 89 and 86 (instead of 60 and 57) and turn Release up a bit. After the synth, we load a FILTER, set Cutoff to 9 o‘clock, Resonance to zero and put an ADSR module into the Inserts. For the latter, we set Decay to 12 o‘clock, Release to 10 o‘clock and Attack and Sustain to zero.

3 Velocity

Connect the envelope to Cutoff at 40% so that the filter briefly snaps open and closed again when a note is played. To make the bass dynamically playable using Velocity, we add an Expression modulator and connect its VEL at 90% to the Out parameter. This is also connected to the Volume macro.

4 Bitcrusher

With Volume, you can then control the amount of dynamics. We move the slider to 10 o‘clock. This will already give us a basis for the bass line. We keep the sequence simple with a 16th note pattern, but leave the beginning of the bar free. The real highlight is created with the Bitcrusher. Load BIT-8 behind the synth.

5 Crusher peak

Set Clock to around 4 kHz, Jitter to zero and Mix to 16%. The resulting „noise floor“ makes the bass crisper, but there‘s more: We just want to make the start of each note even crisper by briefly turning up the Mix knob, similar to the filter. This can be done with an ADSR Envelope or automation.

6 Bounce & fades

We use the latter and record a short peak at 80% for each note. The advantage of this method is that it is accurate and creates a very unique groove if the mix values differ. For even more punch, we bounce the bassline onto an audio track, cutting out the notes like this and removing all fade-ins to make the sound even crisper.

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