A reese bass is a sound that is most commonly used in Drum and Bass genre, but also Dubstep and nowadays Bass House. The reason why reese is so interesting, is because of the phase cancelation two detuned waveforms cause, creating continous sound that is modulating itself. When you take two waveform that are in sync and phase, final sound will simply be louder. But when you detune them, they will interfere with each other. In theory it is very straightforward, but concept is to create complex sounds by resampling and layering reese sounds, thus making it even more interesting. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create one in Subtractive instrument (Massive) and one in Frequency modulation synthesis (FM8) . You can also create phase cancelation, by taking two sounds and moving one for a little bit.
Reese bass in Massive
So, since I said we need two waveforms, we will take a saw and a scrap yard. Make sure you set a wavetable position all the way to the right. We will lower them both down for an octave, but we are going to tune the first waveform for about -12.12 and second will be tuned for an -11.92. Now when you play lower notes you can already hear that gritty and dark sound. Also, when you play them a bit longer, you can hear how sound is continously changing.
Add third osciliator that will be Cicada and tune it to -11.99 . Also I will be lowering a bit intensity.
Now turn on your phase and make sure you put it all the way down to -12. Activate the phase on third osciliator by pressing the number three and then put phase on about middle. Our sound now is really phasing and we got that basic reese we wanted.
To add a bit distortion and to enhance the sound, we will add Classic Tube in FX tab. Move Dry/Wet and Drive knob to one third.
Now we can mov onto the voicing tab. We will make our sound monophon, so only one note at the time can be played.
Let’s add Dimension Expander in FX tab. Increase dry/wet for about half, but leave Size knob to a little bit.
On EQ tab, enhance highs a bit while taking down low part of spectrum, but don’t do it too much. You can also separate sub from reese later on.
Now to add a bit more movement and modulation to our sound, we will add filter and we will modulate the cutoff. I have picked the allpass and i’ve set the cutoff all the way down to left. I have turned on a bit resonance to enhance higher part of frequency spectrum. Then route the LFO tab to cutoff and move it for a half. In the LFO tab set sync and ratio to 1:4. Turn the xFade curve all the way up.
So now that we have created reese in Massive, you can resample it even more. With FM8, story is a bit different. Since you’ve got frequency modulation synthesis now and not subtractive but concept stays same.
We will leave operator F exactly how it is when you open FM8. We will route operator E into F for 60, but set ratio to 1.0260. Waveform will also be sine and make sure you turn on key sync on both operators.
For the operator D, we will do exactly the same thing, but we will route it into F for about 80.
We will activate operator C. Waveform will be 2nd Formant and we will set ratio to 1.0600. Route it into operator E for 20.
Now in FM it really sounds bad without effects. For now, we will add Overdrive which can be found in Ableton, but every distortion will work
And that is it for reese in FM8. Ofcourse, there are now endless posibilites when resampling. Try to learn which effect does what and then use it. You can also add more Filter, pitch or volume automation. Thing about reese is it’s pretty basic sound to make in synth, but what makes it unique is resampling which is different for every artist. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to the effects and feel free to layer reese sounds, altough that will make it harder to mixdown them, but it makes sound more interesting. Also, when it comes to reeses, you can use real world sounds that have alot of high frequencies.