This Serum sound design tutorial will cover how to make a sub bass. You can apply the same techniques using your favorite soft synth. The concepts of making a sub bass are fairly the same.

We won’t be using fancy wavetables but just a basic single cycle sine wave. After all a sub bass doesn’t need a waveform with many harmonics.

1) Initialize Serum synth to a blank patch.

How to Make a Sub Bass in Serum_01 - INIT


2) For Osc 1 select Basic Shapes under Analog wavetable menu which comes with Serum. Leave the WT Position at 1 which will be a sine wave.

Now bring down Osc 1 by -2 Octaves, we want the tuning of Osc 1 to be in the sub bass frequency range. If you don’t want your sub bass to be that deep you change that to -1 Octave.

You also don’t need to add more voices so leave unison at 1 voice. Essentially for a sub bass you probably want the sound to be focused at the center.

Finally bring down the Rand knob to zero. In Serum this is equivalent to restart via gate or oscillator re-trigger in other synthesizers.

How to Make a Sub Bass in Serum_02 - Osc 1

Filter and Amp Env Section for Sub Bass


3) Turn on the Filter and select a MG Low 24 which a modeled after a 4-pole Moog style filter. Adjust the parameters of the Filter as follows:

  • Cutoff = 300Hz
  • Drive = 30%
  • Resonance = 0%
  • Fat = 10%

How to Make a Sub Bass in Serum_03 - Filter

4) There is not much to done for Amp Envelope. We just need to tweak the attack and release time. Set the attack and release for the Amp Envelope as follows:

  • Attack = 2ms
  • Release = 30ms

How to Make a Sub Bass in Serum_04 - Amp Envelope


Play mode and Effects

5) On the Voicing Tab turn on both Monophonic and Legato modes. Next increase the Portamento time to 10ms which controls the glide time.

We are doing this because we want Serum synth to only play one note at a time (monophonic). We also want to have smooth attacks when two notes are held down together, that’s one after another (legato).

How to Make a Sub Bass in Serum_05 - Legato

6) For the effects we don’t necessarily need much since this is a sub bass. However we will make use of the Diode 1 distortion. Change the settings of the distortion as follows:

  • Type = Diode 1
  • Distortion Filter = Post
  • Distortion Freq = 140Hz
  • Distortion Q = 0.1
  • Drive = 20%
  • Mix = 20%


How to Make a Sub Bass in Serum_06 - Distortion

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