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Creating Sub Bass In Your Synthesizers

Hi, I am gonna teach you simple sound design techniques on how to create the guy giving life to the Mix in EDM(Electronic Dance Music), which is Mr Sub Bass. Let's get to know what Mr Sub Bass does, and we would roll on designing it in our Daw's afterwards

What Is Sub Bass

In a non-technical aspect, Sub Bass is the kind of bass sound that is not too obvious, so low that when played you often feel them more than you hear them.

In a technical aspect, Sub Bass is the low-pitched sound that is formed by a pure Sine wave and is heard below 60hz to the lowest frequency the human can perceive which is 20hz.

The human hearing is not sensitive around 20hz, sounds in this range tend to be felt more than heard.

Thing You Need To Know Before Creating A Sub Bass

You need either a pair of headphone (the quality studio headphone) and or a Studio Monitor that can perceive sound at the range specified above. Some guys use High-end subwoofers to translate better or to reproduce sound to about 17hz accurately.

You don't need all this, a pair of good headphone will do the job.

I guess you now understand that sub bass composes of sin wave, so the only thing you should have in mind is using one oscillator and selecting the waveshape to sine, this might sound weird at first, trust me, it is easy.

Designing Sub Bass

I am gonna design the sub-bass in three different Synthesizer(Sylenth1, Nexus2, and Serum), to show you the techniques works precisely the same in all the Synthesizers and it's gonna reproduce the same sound in all of the three Synthesizer, put your headphone on and let's get cracking.

Note: If you don't have the aforementioned synthesizers, feel free to try them out with the one you have or the stock ones, that came with your daw

Tip: You won't hear sub bass on a computer speaker, rather use a good headphone


Step1: Load up an instance of Sylenth1

Sylenth1 image Sylenth1 image

Step2: Create an init preset, right-click Menu and select init preset, this will initialize the preset.

Init preset in sylenth1 Creating an init preset in Sylenth1

This is how init preset sounds in Sylenth1

Step3: Go to Oscillator A1 section, change the waveshape to sine and reduce the octave to -2octave to make the sub deeper and lastly go to the Filter A section and change the filter type to lowpass filter since we don't need any high frequency anyway.

Sylenth1 Sub bass:


Step1: Load up an instance of Nexus2, Nexus won't give you the option to select waveshape, probably because it's a synth rompler, but there is a workaround and you can create the desired sound patch with this technique I am about to show you.

Step2: Nexus starts up with a saw init, so we need a preset in Nexus that has the waveshape of sine, then we tweak it to our taste. Now, Load up the preset "BA Basic Sine" from within the "Bass" category

Step3: Go to the mix tab at the right corner, you see we have only one oscillation loaded that tells you its only a sine wave, 12 semitones make an octave, reduce the transpose(labelled trs in Nexus) to -12 and you should get a deeper sub bass.

Nexus image Navigating to the mix tab in Nexus2

Nexus sub-bass:


Step1: Load up an instance of Serum

Step2: At initial startup, Serum will automatically create an init.

Serum is pretty straightforward, go to the subsection which is at the leftmost part, turn on the sub(the square icon turn blue when turned on and grey when off), when turned on, the sine wave is selected by default, just like Sylenth1, turned down the octave to -2octave or -1 depending on how you want the sub-bass deep.

Serum sub bass image Serum sub bass