This sound design tutorial will illustrate how to make a classic funk synth bass using Native Instruments Massive synth. Any other audio synthesizer will definitely be capable of producing the same sound. So this is not exclusive to Massive synth only.

The wavetables of this classic synth bass will be Square-Saw 1, Sine-Triangle and again Sine-Triangle respectively. Meaning this funk synth bass only requires a use of 3 oscillators with basic waveforms.

Massive Wavetables for Funk Synth Bass

For Osc 1 move the Wt-position all the way to the right which will result in a sawtooth waveform. But for Osc 2 you have to set the Wt-position around 12 O’clock. And for Osc 3 move the Wt-position all the way to the right and that’s should be a sawtooth waveform.

Next bring down Osc 1 pitch by -12 semitones whilst for Osc 2 down by -24 semitones and the same applies for Osc 3. Keep in mind -12 semitones that’s the same as saying down by an octave.

To get all the oscillators routed to Filter 1 move the filter routing sliders all the way up. This will let the sound come through Filter 1 only. If set at the middle then sound will pass through both filters.

Emulating Analog Oscillators

To emulate the pitch drift common with analog oscillator you can use an LFO to achieve that effect. The LFO will have to modulate the pitch of the oscillators ever so slightly. In the end that will result in a subtle pitch drift.

So to do that drag and drop an LFO on all the pitch mod destinations of the oscillators. After that open up the LFO settings tab to adjust the parameters of the LFO.

Classic Funk Synth Bass - LFO pitch drift modulation

Adjust the LFO rate to be around 10 O’clock and turn the Amp level of the LFO all the way to the right. The XFade Curve you have to turn it up and that will only let the LFO respond to one waveform.

The waveform for the LFO should be a simple sine wave. However move the phase of the LFO slightly to the right by dragging on LFO the waveform display.

Getting Funky with the Filters

The filter section is very important to get the classic funk synth bass sound. Basically the starting point is to select a low-pass filter and have a little bit of resonance.

The filter cut-off frequency will then have to modulated by an envelope. In doing the filter will open up depending on how the filter envelope is set up. You could also modulate the filter cut off with note velocity for extra animation.

Classic Funk Synth Bass - Envelope 1

The envelope settings of Envelope-1 you have to set the attack time at 10 O’clock. Bring down the release level a little bit close to zero. Next set the decay level around 10 O’clock that’s it for the envelope ADSR.

However you have to turn on Trigger Zero Reset to have the envelope starting at the attack time when a note is pressed. This will make the funk synth bass to be more pronounced when modulating the filter.

Amp Envelope of Funk Synth Bass

The amp envelope for this classic funk synth bass will have a slightly fast attack with the sustain level all the way up. Finally the decay time set that to 50% and the release time around 30%.

 Classic Funk Synth Bass - Envelope 4

Voicing Tab of Funk Synth Bass

The voicing of the funk synth bass has to be monophonic. This obviously means you can only play one note at a time. Another thing to take into consideration is making sure you turn on legato mode.

Legato means there is no new attack when changing from note to note – smooth, connected phrases with no silence between notes.

Classic Funk Synth Bass - Voicing Tab


Oscillator Settings of Funk Synth Bass

On the oscillator settings of Massive synth make sure the glide mode is set to rate. However please note glide with constant rate is the time it takes to glide between two notes depending on how far the notes are apart.


Effects Section of Funk Synth Bass

When it comes to effects you can use the Brauner Tube which comes with Massive synth. This add extra harmonics to the sound and it’s always best to use discretion.

Other sound design tutorials you might find interesting:

Download This Classic Funk Synth Bass Massive Preset!

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