This sound design tutorial will show you how to recreate Wiz Khalifa Bake Sale Synth Bass. We will be using Image-Line Harmor which is driven by a powerful additive synthesis engine. Let’s get started shall we!
Bake Sale Synth Bass Tutorial Getting Started.
After loading up Harmor, by default the Timbre 1&2 mix knob is set all the way left which is a sawtooth waveform. If not then you should just load a default preset of Harmor.
STEP 2 (Harmor Side A >> Global Legato) : Enable the global legato switch and set the legato pitch limit to 900 cents. This will turn Harmor into a monophonic mode (legato). By doing so Harmor will slide the pitch of overlapping notes in the piano roll.
The pitch limit set to 900 cents means the legato effect will only occur up to the range of 900 cents which is less than an octave.
An octave has 1200 cents. Therefore 1/100 of a semi-tone is equivalent to “1 cent” because there is 12 semi-tones in an octave or 12 half-steps. So 100 cents * 12 half-steps gives you an answer of 1200 cents in an octave.
Harmor Side ‘A’ – Legato and Unison Settings.
STEP 3 (Harmor Side A >> Legato Controls) :
On legato controls set legato slide time to 4:0 towards the right-hand side. Make sure the legato time curve is set to linear and not logarithmic pitch slide.
This will make the Bake Sale Synth Bass have that nice sliding bass sound. The coveted “fl studio slide between notes” effect.
The same can be achieved but in a different manner when using another synth like Massive. And as far as how to slide notes in Massive is concerned this can be done with automating the channel pitch.
STEP 4 (Harmor Side A >> Unison) :
Change Harmor’s unison distribution from Blurred to Classic. Also select the unison order to 8 voices (that’s 8 unison voices). Next move the unison panning slider all the way up to 100%. Move the unison pitch thickness to 56% which is the slider between unison phase and unison panning. Set the unison phase slider all the way up to 100%.
The unison phase controls the variation of the starting phase of the different unison voices depending on the waveform selected. In Harmor the waveform is referred to as the timbre rather than the usual convention used in other virtual synthesizers.
STEP 4 (Harmor Side A >> Volume Envelope) :
Enable the volume envelope. Set the attack time modifier all the way down to 0. Set the decay time modifier at 2 o’clock and the sustain time modifier at 2 o’clock. Bring down the release time modifier a little close to zero but not the way down for a smooth sound. Now that’s the amp envelope of Bake Sale Synth Bass on Harmor Side A.
N.B the ADSR knobs in the additive synth Harmor are modifiers for the set envelope. They aren’t the typical ADSR knobs found in other synthesizers. Hence the envelope will snap back to its original appearance after they are moved to a set position. These ASDR modifiers multiply the amount of the envelope shape though.
Harmor Side ‘A’ – Filter Section Settings.
STEP 5 (Harmor Side A >> Filter Section) :
Harmor Side ‘A’ Filter 1 Settings.
Turn off the adaptive filter 1 mode. Select the filter type from crude low pass to leaky low pass filter. Then move filter 1 width all the way to the right.
After that you wanna turn the filter 1 cutoff point to 25% which is towards the left-hand side of the knob.
The following task will be to move filter 1 & 2 mix to 10% slightly to the left towards the parallel side.
And finally change filter 1 envelope amount to 20% just a little bit to the right. This should do it for the first filter of the Bake Sale Synth Bass. But there is still filter 2 of Harmor Side A which needs to be tweaked.
Harmor Side ‘A’ Filter 2 Settings.
STEP 6 (Harmor Side A >> Filter Section) :
Now for the second filter which is filter 2 of Harmor Side A, first thing is to turn off the adaptive filter 2 mode. Having done that, change filter 2 from custom shape to band phaser.
Bring down the filter 2 cutoff point to 25% to the left-hand side. Move the filter 2 width to 55% towards the right-hand side. Next turn filter 2 envelope amount to -30% that’s towards the left-hand side.
Harmor Side ‘A’ – How to use Filter 1 Frequency Mask.
STEP 7 (Harmor Side A >> Filter Section) :
Draw the filter 1 mask articulation to conceal the regions which won’t be affected by the filter cutoff. As a result the regions that mask out will not respond that much to the filter cut off. But this depends on the level were the articulation curves are brought down. Therefore the lower the level of the curves the more the region is masked.
Harmor Side ‘A’ – Filter 2 Envelope Modulation.
STEP 8 (Harmor Side A >> Filter Section) :
Enable Harmor’s frequency envelope for filter 2 and draw the shape of the filter envelope accordingly. This will make filter 2 cutoff point to respond based on the modulation amount of the frequency envelope knob. So with that said it is most noteworthy to emphasize that the knob of the envelope modulation amount is bi-directional. Hence is ranges from -100 to +100% in Harmor synth.
Harmor Side ‘A’ – Harmonic Blur.
STEP 9 (Harmor Side A >> Filter Section) :
In Harmor’s harmonic blur section take the amount to 15 or somewhere around 8 o’clock. The harmonic blur will smear the partials horizontally.
So this will more likely create a little bit of those reverb type sounds. In addition rather a completely dry sound this will also give the Bake Sale Synth Bass an extra small dimension.
Bake Sale Synth Bass – Harmor Side B.
Now let’s turn our attention to the Side B of Harmor. Most noteworthy Harmor has two parts – that’s part A and part B. Hence each of these different parts of Harmor synth is an identical and independent synthesis section.
However these synthesis sections can be modified with the global controls of Harmor. For example the octave of the timbres (oscillators) can be brought down with the global pitch slider.
Harmor Side ‘B’ – Editing the Volume Envelope.
STEP 10 (Harmor Side B >> Volume Envelope) :
Tweak the volume envelope (vol amp) of Harmor synth Side B to have a fast attack time modifier. In addition take the decay time modifier and set it at 1 o’clock.
Next in line is moving the sustain time modifier all the way up. On the other hand while the release time modifier is set almost pointing close to zero.
This will reduce the chances of an abrupt cutoff. Now that’s it for the volume amp of Harmor synth Side B in regards to Bake Sale Synth Bass.
Harmor Side ‘B’ – Selecting Square Wave.
STEP 11 (Harmor Side B >> Timbre 1&2 Mix) :
Move timbre 1& 2 mix knob of Side B 75% to the right. As a result this will make Harmor synth to sound more squarish because of the hollow square wave.
Furthermore by default timbre 1 and 2 generate a sawtooth and square wave respectively. Hence mixing the timbres will morph between them and this is done using the timbre 1&2 mix knob while modulating it.
To modulate timbre 1 and 2 in Harmor synth you could use an LFO (low frequency oscillator) or you could use an envelope. Either those are some options and it’s up to a user to choose the desired modulator in the context of Harmor synth.
Harmor Side ‘B’ – Bringing the Timbre down an Octave.
STEP 12 (Harmor Side B >> Pitch Freq Divider) :
Now we wanna bring down Side B timbre down by an octave. To do that we can use the Pitch Freq Divider to 2 which will bring Harmor synth down an octave for Side B. So with that said this Bake Sale Synth Bass will carry more weight in the low end of the frequency spectrum.
Harmor Side ‘B’ – Legato Settings.
STEP 13 (Harmor Side B >> Legato) :
Tweak the Legato Time time to 2:0 to get a nice smooth slide for this Bake Sale Synth Bass.
The global legato must be enable for this to work though. Otherwise this knob will not any effect if the global legato mode is disabled in Harmor synth.
Harmor Side ‘B’ – Filter Settings.
STEP 14 (Harmor Side B >> Filter Section) :
Turn off adaptive filter 1 mode – that’s switch with the name “adapt” on the left-hand side of the filter. Bring down filter 1 cutoff to 30% or somewhere around 10 o’clock.
Tweak filter 1 envelope amount to 10% towards the right-hand side. It’s located below the “adapt” switch in Harmor synth.In addition moving the envelope amount slightly to the left will modulate the filter cutoff point.
The modulation will work when the filter envelope is enable in Harmor synth articulation panel though. If this is not done in Harmor synth then the effort will be of no avail. Furthermore this gives Bake Sale Synth Bass a little bit of animation.
Harmor Side ‘B’ – Filter Envelope Articulator.
STEP 15 (Harmor Side B >> Filter Frequency Envelope) :
Tweak the shape of filter 1 frequency articulator to have gentle attack and slightly less release time.
For the attack time modifier knob set it all the way down. The decay time modifier should be around 1 o’clock and sustain time modifier all the way up. Then click and drag the release time modifier close to zero but not all the way down though.
Okay that’s it for Harmor Synth Side B – filter 1 frequency modulation. In conclusion this is all the sound design process of Bake Sale Synth Bass. The next step would be to add Harmor Synth effects and external effects for a desired sound.
Bake Sale Synth Bass – Harmor Effects.
STEP 16 (Harmor Effects Panel >> Harmor FX Section) :
Now time for some effects. Harmor Synth comes with some effects such as distortion, reverb, chorus, delay and compression. These effects which come with IL Harmor will help shape the Bake Sale Synth Bass in the right direction.
However the idea isn’t to use all of them. Only a few will do without messing around the frequency spectrum and the sonic canvas
Harmor Synth Chorus Effect for the Synth Bass.
To turn on the chorus effect in Harmor Synth this can be done by selecting the number of chorus voices. The chorus order also the number of chorus voices in Harmor Synth.
Moving forward change the chorus order to 5 and that would select 5 chorus voices or rather 5 delayed copies of the input sound.
Next task is to click and drag the chorus depth all the up. The chorus depth is the chorus delay modulation and by setting it all the way up will create heavier modulation.
And it’s a good thing this Bake Sale Synth Bass to have a little bit of chorus modulation. So turn chorus speed to 85% which controls the frequency sweep-speed of Harmor Synth chorus.
Finally bring down the chorus cross-over filter all the way down and bring up the chorus mix to 25% which is an ideal level for this Bake Sale Synth Bass.
Harmor Synth Distortion Effect for the Synth Bass.
Turn on Harmor Synth distortion by selecting the distortion type to Log which is short for logarithmic. Set the amount of distortion amount to 30% by moving the amt slider upwards.
Now for the low-pass filter move the filter slider cutoff to 12khz. As a result that that should filter out the distortion and, get rid off the any unwanted frequencies.
What the distortion effect does in Harmor Synth is to simulate over-driven analog sounds which can be a sound shaping tool.
Harmor Synth Compression Effect for the Synth Bass.
Most noteworthy it is important to point out that Harmor Synth compression uses Maximus compression engine.
So to select the different types Harmor Synth compression ‘flavors’ just click on the compression menu and, that’s about it.
However for this Bake Sale Synth Bass the compression type should be set to heating which has a nice warm sound. As a result change the compression amount to about 55% which is light compression.
Additional Effects for the Synth Bass
From now the Bake Sale Synth Bass just needs a slight touch of extra processing but the overall sound is done already. Extra plugin effects will just depend on how the sound should sit in the mix.
Perhaps equalization maybe what only needed and, for this Bake Sale Synth Bass it might need little more distortion.
Soundtoys Decapitator will definitely take this Bake Sale Synth Bass to a whole another level though. Decapitator is perfect for adding an analog character to this Harmor Synth Bass for a unique sound.
Bake Sale Synth Bass EQ
Fruity Parametric Equalizer 2 can be used to shape the sound and remove rumbling low end frequencies. Some of the frequencies can be boosted and fruity parametric equalizer on bass is versatile to get the job done. After all it’s a great equalizer which comes bundled with FL Studio.
Fruity Parametric 2 is also available as a vst which can be used in other DAWS just like IL Harmor. On that note this will make Fruity Parametric 2 vst useful if designing sounds in other digital audio workstations.
Another useful technique is to automate Fruity Parametric EQ 2 cutoff frequency. Automation is great way of creating movement in a track and automating Fruity Parametric EQ is fairly easy in FL Studio.
So for example this Bake Sale Synth Bass can be automated with Fruity Parametric EQ to create contrast. As a result a section of a project may have the Fruity Parametric EQ rolling off the high end. While on other parts of the project Fruity Parametric EQ will be doing nothing.