Kick and Bass at Liquid Souls Sweet Things Remix

Thanks to the producers for sharing the full length track ! I love this one and especially the very warm, round and tight kick and bass. First it is to say that the idea of my analysis here is based on a Youtube tutorial from Sonic Elysium. For me it shows that one of the strongest tools for the analysis is the synthesis!

At around minute two it is possible to extract the kick and the bass quite purely without any other sounds.

Picture 1

What you see here is a soundeditor view (Audacity) of one quarter of a bar or four semiquaver of it. It is easy to calculate the exact timings in milliseconds (ms), if you devide 60000 ms (one minute) by 138 bpm (speed of this track) what is 434,78 ms. Part A is the kick. B and B‘ are the two bass notes.

Two things to mention are that there is no gap between the (visual) single parts at all. The kick is a bit longer than the duration of two semiquaver (ca. 217 ms). The maximum volume of all parts is exactly the same (see the yellow line). Listing carefully just to part A, will bring you to the conclusion that there is an additional, more gentle third bass tone. The sequenzer grid notation would look like this:

Picture 2

The track is in G min. This means that the kick could be tuned to G1 or D2 (It is a common technique to tune the kick to the root tone or use the fifth) which corresponds to 49 respectively 73.42 Hz (Here you can find a chart with all tunings). Because of the gentle bass note on the second semiquaver we just can listen to the pure kick for one semiquaver (Picture 3, only Kick).  All four semiquaver look like the green wave in average mode in the Voxengo Span. There is some additional dirt in the highs of the kick sound.

Picture 3

With this information and a lately found YouTube tutorial I go into the synthese part and try to recreate the kick drum with Kick 2 from Sonic Academy. As most psytrance kicks this is also a sinewave sweep.

Picture 4

Now I try to verify with the spectrogram analyser, the wave form and my ears to hit the right kick sound. In Picture 5 you can see above the original kick sound and below the recreated one.

Picture 5

Wherever you read and hear about the psytrance bass sound it is claimed that it is always generated with a sawtooth oscillator, and if you look to an oscilloscope it would look like this (One semiquaver note played with sawtoothwave). I altered the phase of the oscillator to get a nice klicky sound (as suggested).

Picture 6

As you can see this looks very different to the bass tones in Picture 1. An understanding of the overtone structure of a sawtooth wave will help us to reconstruct what happened. Let`s have a look at the additive synthese waveform generator from Choosing „Saw tooth“ presents a waveform like this:

Picture 7

By studying this nice online generator you can learn that the sawtooth wave is a mixture from several sinewaves and its overtones. Emphasizing e.g. the second overtone will generate a waveform like this (This could be done e.g. with an equalizer, a saturator, a waveshaper etc.):

Picture 8

Now with all this theoretical knowledge you think you have a fundamental understanding how this sound is done and you can make a perfect copy? Maybe you can, but I can`t :) I sat s e v e r a l evenings trying to recreate this!  For the bass I used NI Massive, equalizer and waveshaper. I grouped this with the mentioned Kick 2 and treated with a ms equalizer, a buss compressor and a limiter.  Compare the visual result with Picture 1:

Picture 9
Here is my audio result:
Listen to the original:
There is still some „secret sauce“ left! :)