How to make a Dub Step Wobble bass in Ableton

We’ve all by now heard the classic Dub Step bass, it’s everywhere you go these days. It’s also a bass sound that is pretty easy and satisfying to set up and play with… if you’re into that kind of thing.

Setting up the basic bass sound

Square waves

The Dub Step bass tends to be based on a Square or Saw wave, nothing too fancy. Grab a square wave sample (like this one). Drop it into a simpler device and loop it.

 Bandpass filter

You want to be using a band pass filter for this. Don’t use low pass, as you won’t get the same wobble in the bottom end. The filter section should look something like this:

If you play around with the frequency, you can start to hear where we’re going with this. Now we need to get that filter frequency moving in time with the track.

LFO

The simpler LFO (Low Frequency Oscillation) can be set to triggerto the filter. What we want here is a sine wave LFO that is synced to the BPM of the song. To do that, you want the rate option set to synced, the type set to sine and the beats to anything between 1/16 and 1/6. On the filter section, bring up the LFO setting to around 6 and 12:

You’ll now hear that distinctive wobble from the bass. By increasing the vel (velocity cutoff) setting on the filter, it will become velocity sensitive when you play notes.

Changing the rate of the wobble

We’re nearly there now, but one of the key characteristics in this kind of sound is the change in wobble rate against the beat. To gain control over that, you want to turn on midi map mode (MIDI top right of screen) and assign the dials of your control surface to the LFO beats slider. TIP: It’s best to set minimum and maximums for all dials so you don’t lose control.

By playing with the LFO beats dial, you can now control the speed of the wobble as you play different notes. Now assign other dials to filter etc and mess around with some of the options in simpler; add a glide, increase the spread, play with the filter ADSR, it’s up to you.

 

Leave a Reply