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How to Make a Future Bass Synth in Serum [Beginners]

This article is an extract from our new guide, in which I’m showing how to apply the knowledge from this article to making a future bass drop. Here's a video tutorial with me making it:

 

Hi! Today we’re going to make an awesome Future Bass synth from this drop:


Excited? Let’s jump right into it.

You will need:
- our free folder with samples and MIDI clips - get it here 
(Scroll to the bottom of the vault. The folder is in the "More free YT stuff" section)
- Serum VST synthesizer
- a DAW of your choice (I'm using Ableton Live)
- a pair of headphones or studio monitors 

Lets start by making a new MIDI track first and dragging a Serum device onto it. 

 

Now go into the free download folder and find a MIDI file called CHORDS.mid

Now place it on the new MIDI track. 

Here's what we've got so far. Bear in mind that it's the initial patch of Serum, it's pretty aggressive sounding.

 

Lets now make this synth awesome. First of all, open up Serum.

Now look at the first oscillator - its the only one playing. The zig-zag looking Defaultwaveform which is playing there is called a saw wave.  

Were going to add more of these saw waves. To do that, we COULD turn on the second oscillator (OSC2). However, doing that were limited to having two waveforms. Luckily theres an option to clonea waveform without having to use another oscillator. Thats called UNISON. 

New terminology you need to wrap your head around: (very simply put)

Oscillator - the part of a synth which generates sound.

Waveform - the type of sound coming from an oscillator.

UNISON - allows you to duplicate the waveform inside a single oscillator = increase the oscillators voices

Okay, so lets crank the Unison of the first oscillator to 5 and hear what happens. 

 .               

Youll see 4 more linesappear - these are the 4 additional voices. The synth will sound bigger and wider. What you need to do now is to turn down the Detuneknob of the voices to around 10  oclock. We want the voices to be closer together, more in tune.

Okay, now lets finally make the synth less aggressive. In order to do that youll need to turn on the Filtersection of the synth. 

The synth will immediately sound much quieter and more subtle. Thats because were cutting off the high frequencies of the sound. To understand what a filter does to a sound, its best to let the synth play and to play around with the cutoffknob - which controls how much of the high frequencies the filter is cutting off. 

***

Tip: Such filter has a name - its called lowpass- because the low frequencies are passing through and were cutting off the high frequencies of the sound. Its probably the most commonly used type of filter (accordingly, theres also a highpasstype of filter which is the exact opposite)

***

Now take a listen to these two clips:

 

 

The whole difference between them is is that in the second clip the cutoff knob is moving in time. That adds movement to the sound.

One way of making this could be to record the clip while moving the knob with your mouse - that would save the movement. However a much easier way to do this is to use Envelopes and LFOs to move the knob for you every time you play a note - thats what were going to do.

Lets then turn the filters cutoffknob all the way down for now. Thats going to be our starting position, from which an envelope is going to move our knob up.

Now select ENV 2 and set its Attackknob to around 685 milliseconds. Thats the time its going to take the envelope to bring the cutoffknob all the way up.

Now drag the four arrowssign next to ENV 2onto the Cutoffknob - just drag and drop it there.

                 

Now when youll play the clip, youll notice that the cutoffknob will move in time.

This is what it should sound like:

Lets take a closer look at the cutoff knob now.

The moving tiny blue dot (1) matches the current positionof the knob. The blue line around the knob (2) indicates how far do we want the knob to move. For example now our knob moves from 0% to 100%.

The tiny round blue line icon(3) is what we can use to change how far we want the knob to move. Click on it and drag it down to 30%. Now the synth should sound like this:

Thats all were going to do with this envelope. Now were going to add an LFO.

An LFO also manipulates a knob for you, but instead of a single movement per note it performs a movement in a loop - as long as youre holding the note. The movement type by default is set to go up and down like this: /\/\/\/\

Click the LFO 1panel and drag it onto the cutoffknob.

If you play the clip you should hear the cutoff knob go up and down like this:

Now change the Rateof the LFO to 1/16 - the knob is under the curve, at the level of the Attackknob for envelopes.

 

 

Now that we have the right speed of the LFO, change its amount to around half.

 

 

 

A cool thing we can do now is to add a slight reverb effect to the synth. First switch to the FXtab on top (shortcut for effects).

 

Now on the effects list find Reverb and click the box on the left so that it lights up.

A Reverb effect will show up and when you play the synth, youll hear it. 

Now just turn down the MIXknob on the right to about 1/10 (so that the reverb is barely audible)

 

Thats all for the synth! Thanks for reading and good luck with your music making.

 

This article was an extract from our new guide „Beginner’s Guide to Ableton & Serum - Making a Beat from Start to Finish”, in which I’m showing how to apply the knowledge from this article to making a future bass drop. 

Video Tutorial of me making that track: 

 

 

 

 

k pizza author soundcloud

k-pizza

I’m k-pizza, a chill trap music maker who likes to share his experiences with other producers. I’m regularly going to show up with music and content at PML.

Listen: https://souncloud.com/k-pizza

 

 

 

 



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