WORDS

A Rough Guide To Sub Bass

Sub bass: the frequencies you actually feel when a track punches through a proper system.

At around 100hz it becomes omnidirectional (hence the 1 in 5:1 surround), most typical sub bass basslines in the tunes we love are between 60-20hz and under 20hz it becomes invisible to the naked ear.

In many instances our brains often create it when the speakers can’t reproduce sounds that low (thank you Missing Fundamental) But now, thanks to mobile technology, we can feel it wherever we go. Joining the Sub Pac as a must-try tactile bass wearable is the Basslet, a unique accessory we reported on last year after seeing bass professor dBridge praise them on his Facebook. A watch-style low frequency unit that links to your audio output, Basslet provides good vibrations wherever you go (as long as they’re between 10 – 250hz). Real low frequencies on the move, producing on the road, gaming or anything in between.

Allowing you to feel and understand exactly how an artist is manipulating the lowest frequencies of their track, wearable tactile bass units such as these add a whole new level of appreciation of the dynamics of production. For what’s ostensibly the least obvious element in a track, sub bass is certainly the most critical.

Without it music, and indeed life, would be… Well, take your pick from the 13 artists we’ve asked about it below.

 

Broken Note

Without sub bass, life would be…

Way more mid-range and more live.

The secret to sub bass is…

Clean sine, lots of movement, don’t over compress or over process.

My all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

Hard to answer. There is no favourite use as every track should have the right sub to support track. But if I had to pick one off the top of my head to test a sub it would be Audio – Destroyed – because the sub and the way in which it connects with the kick is the main feature of the track.

 

Current Value

Without sub bass, life would be… 

Lacking something. It would be boring but at the same time be more peaceful.

The secret to sub bass is…

To have it as pure as you can.

My all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

I couldn’t say. There are MANY combinations that work!

 

Doctor P

Without sub bass, life would be…

Unsatisfying

The secret to sub bass is…

Combining it with some high frequencies. sub bass is so unsatisfying on its own

My all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

The most satisfying way I’ve ever managed to use sub bass myself was on the drop of Sweet Shop. To this day, the sub bass on the drop of that track is one of the most extreme things to hear on a big soundsystem.

 

Gentlemens Club

Without sub bass, life would be….

Empty…

The secret to sub bass is…

Make it BIG! without a powerful sub bass, dubstep wouldn’t be dubstep.

Our all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

16Bit – FRZ9000… 16Bit (RIP) were probably our favourite producers, they have such a unique sound which they especially displayed in this song. The intro in itself is a masterpiece and the 16 bars before drop has that chest rattling sub bass which is the perfect feature to a dubstep song.

Jack Beats

Without sub bass, life would be…

Horrible

The secret to sub bass is…

Patience

Our all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

Dillinja – Told You How to Rock. It’s distorted sub, but still sub… And funky as fuck.  

 

 

MUST DIE!

Without sub bass, life would be…

Shrill and airy

The secret to sub bass is…

Knowing when to leave silence

My all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

LAXX – Hardcore. It has the best sub I have ever heard. He’s a master of dynamics.

 

Outrun

Without sub bass, life would be…

Devoid of the ability to perceive the resonation of very large objects/spaces. Earthquakes, angry giants and thunderstorms would be pretty confusing.

The secret to sub bass is…

Being really, really old. In which case, you might only be able to hear sub bass. Bliss.

Our all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

Polyushka Polye, by the Red Army Choir. The timpani and low brass sound bloody huge. The softest hippie would go to war with one listen – that’s the true power of bass.

Rene LaVice

Without sub bass life would be…

A lot easier because I’d probably pick a more stress-free career!
The secret to sub bass is…

Not giving a fuck.

My all-time favourite example of sub bass in a tune is…

Origin Unknown – Truly One. If you play the record on regular speakers, you can only hear half the melody. If you’ve never heard the track before, you are in for an amazing surprise when you hear the same track on a massive club sound system, when the second half of the melody comes to life and reveals its self in the lower sub sonic register, shaking your body at the same time you hear it. It was one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had hearing a piece of music when that happened to me.

Taiki Nulight

Without sub bass, life would be…

Treble

The secret to sub bass is…

The right amount.

My all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

No all-time favourite. But this months tune on repeat has been Icicle – Arrows. I love a lot of movement in my subs and lows.

Truth

Without sub bass life would be…

Hollow and flavourless.

The secret to sub bass is…

Manipulating those low frequencies and creating those good vibrations.

Our all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

Is in our Devil’s Hands. When it drops it feels like the you have fallen down a deep hole into a never ending abyss where you forget who you are and become one with the spirit world.

 

Virtual Riot

Without sub bass, life would be…

Incredibly dull. Now that I think about it, this would also mean no sub bass in movie theatres. What a hopeless place the world would be.

The secret to sub bass is…

Finding a well balanced stack of the right overtones that is still audible on horrible speakers. Oh, and playing it back on PK Sound (no, they’re not paying me to say this).

My all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

I somehow have to think of Ostra – Zu-Zumba. Sub bass is most impactful if you leave gaps and play with its absence to create a lot of contrast and make the listener yearn for its return. Zu-Zumba is a weird song that plays with the absence of sub bass in a really cool manner. Also, an honourable mention is the intro of Swagga.

War

Without sub bass, life would be… 

I don’t want to think about it.

The secret to sub bass is… 

Understanding that it uses more energy out of your mix than anything above it in frequency, that you have to give it space to make it effective and that too much (or not enough) will make your tune sound weak.

My all-time favourite use of it in a tune is…

There are too many great uses of sub bass to mention, but Shimon & Andy C – Quest was the first to spring to mind. The way it sweeps across frequencies and modulates rhythmically in various tunes from that era of Ram Records (Lunar Bass, Orange Sunshine, Truly One, Recharge…) will always be an inspiration to me.

After the successful Kickstarter launch we reported on last year, Basslet is now available worldwide. Use UKF-exclusive code BASSADDICT20 to get 20% off –  More info / Shop now