Bass Theory and Sound Design in Ableton Live 9

This this talk covering the EDM bass theory and sound design using Ableton live. This talk was originally given as part of the Microsoft Stay Late and Groove garage chapter on Feb 17, 2016.

Music TheoryAbleton Live
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Bass Theory and Sound Design in Ableton Live 9

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This this talk covering the EDM bass theory and sound design using Ableton live. This talk was originally given as part of the Microsoft Stay Late and Groove garage chapter on Feb 17, 2016.
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Slide Content
  1. Stay Late and Groove

    Slide 1 - Stay Late and Groove

    • EDM Bass: Theory and Sound Design in Ableton Live 9
    • Original Talk Feb 17, 2015 by Tim Scudder
  2. Agenda

    Slide 2 - Agenda

    • Bass Waveform Theory and Fundamentals
    • Harmonics and Filtering
    • Fundamental Bassline Waveforms
    • Distortion and Saturation
    • Theory and Affect on Waveforms
    • Live Effects, 3rd Party Plugins
    • Sound Design
    • Ableton Analog
    • LinnarDigital Sylenth
    • Native Instruments Massive
    • Xferrecords Serum
    • Bass Line Music Theory
    • Bassline intervals
    • Matching to melody
    • Matching chord progressions
    • Stay Late and Grove – “Wonder Why” Bassline
  3. Waveform fundamentals

    Slide 3 - Waveform fundamentals

    • Bass Theory and Design in Ableton Live 9
  4. Spectrum Analyzer

    Slide 4 - Spectrum Analyzer

    • Frequency
    • Low
    • High
    • Low
    • High
    • dB
  5. Signal Analyzer

    Slide 5 - Signal Analyzer

    • Time
    • T-0
    • T-n
    • Low
    • High
    • dB
    • www.rs-met.com
  6. Waveforms, Harmonics and Bass

    Slide 6 - Waveforms, Harmonics and Bass

    • Basslines are central to EDM Genres
    • EDM basslines span the entire audio spectrum
    • Waveform harmonics play a critical role in EDM basslines
  7. Fundamentals and Harmonics

    Slide 7 - Fundamentals and Harmonics

    • Frequency
    • Order
    • Tones
    • Harmonics
    • Partials
    • Wavelength
    • 440 Hz (A3)
    • n = 1
    • Fundamental
    • 1st
    • 1st
    • 1
    • 880 Hz (A4)
    • n = 2
    • 1st overtone
    • 2nd
    • 2nd
    • 1/2
    • 1320 Hz (E5)
    • n = 3
    • 2nd overtone
    • 3rd
    • 3rd
    • 1/3
    • 1760 Hz (A5)
    • n = 4
    • 3rd overtone
    • 4th
    • 4th
    • 1/4
    • Harmonic: A whole number multiple of its fundamental frequency
    • Sub Harmonics
    • Harmonics
    • Fund
    • 2 A3 Harmonics
  8. Harmonic’s Role in Waveforms

    Slide 8 - Harmonic’s Role in Waveforms

    • All waveforms are collections of sine waves (the fundamental plus harmonics) added together
    • Adding additional harmonics to a single fundamental sign wave, will create other waveforms…a square wave for example
  9. Fundamental Waveforms

    Slide 10 - Fundamental Waveforms

    • Sine
    • Square
    • Saw
    • Triangle
  10. Sine Waveforms

    Slide 11 - Sine Waveforms

    • Timbre: Pure Tone (Artificial), Smooth, Muffled
    • Predominantly or Only One Frequency, Few or No Harmonics
    • Basis for “subby” basses
    • 5 Additive Sine Waveforms
  11. Sawtooth Waveforms

    Slide 12 - Sawtooth Waveforms

    • Timbre: Harsh and clear (high tone), Warm and deep (low tone)
    • Contains both odd and even integer harmonics
    • Basis for most “gritty”, “fat” basses (SuperSaw)
  12. Square Waveforms

    Slide 13 - Square Waveforms

    • Timbre: Hollow, Raspy, (think Nintendo game soundtracks, GameBoy)
    • Pure Square only contains odd integer harmonics
    • Over/Under dampening affects harmonics Content – Adds even integer harmonics
    • Great for adding sub-harmonics when filtered
  13. Triangle Waveforms

    Slide 14 - Triangle Waveforms

    • Timbre: Halfway between a sign and square waveform
    • Contains only odd integer harmonics, like Square waveform, but amplitude drops off quickly
    • Primarily used for adding harmonics to other waveforms, but makes a good sub-bass
  14. Filters/EQ: Affect on Waveforms

    Slide 15 - Filters/EQ: Affect on Waveforms

    • Filters remove, attenuate or amplifying harmonics
    • Filtering changes the waveform shape and sound
    • Extreme filtering will reduce any waveform to a sine wave
  15. Distortion, Saturation

    Slide 17 - Distortion, Saturation

    • Bass Theory and Design in Ableton Live 9
  16. Distorted Waveforms

    Slide 18 - Distorted Waveforms

  17. Distortion

    Slide 19 - Distortion

    • Distortion is the alteration of a waveform, alteration of its harmonics
    • Measured in terms of harmonics added/removed, RMS (Root Mean Squared) or THD (Total Harmonic Distortion)
    • Noise is NOT distortion, whether added or inherent
  18. Saturation

    Slide 20 - Saturation

    • Saturation IS a form of distortion
    • Analog effect based on overloading the signal fed to an amplifier, tape or speaker
    • AKA: Tape Saturation, Tube Saturation, Drive, Soft Clipping, Clipping, “11”
    • Timbre: Fuzzy, over-driven, compressed, warm, Hum’my
  19. Sound Design

    Slide 22 - Sound Design

    • Bass Theory and Design in Ableton Live 9
  20. Bass Music Theory

    Slide 27 - Bass Music Theory

    • Bass Theory and Design in Ableton Live 9
  21. Stay Late and groove - Bassline

    Slide 31 - Stay Late and groove - Bassline

    • Bass Theory and Design in Ableton Live 9