How To Create A Synthwave Bass In Less Than A Minute


 minute read

When you think of a classic Synthwave bass sound, what you’re probably thinking of is the fat and plucky sound of the Korg Polysix. 

This is a sound that can be heard across just about any Synthwave song you come across. 

A Synthwave bass sound is created by using a plucky, chorused, sawtooth-wave sound for your bass. 

You can see the Korg Polysix in action here...

But an example of the specific bass sound we’re talking about can be found in The Midnight’s song, Comeback Kid. 

I’ll dive into how to recreate this sound from scratch in a future article, but you’re here because you want to make a Synthwave bass sound, fast. 

And the best way to do that is just to download a free VST plugin that emulates this sound. 

Let’s get started...

1. Create A Synthwave Bassline

Of course, you can have just about any bassline for your Synthwave song, but most Synthwave basslines tend to be rather simple.

So for the sake of this tutorial, we’ll keep our Synthwave bassline simple as well, and follow a 16th note pattern using just two notes.

It looks like this:

2. Use A Free Synthwave Bass VST

Now we’re going to download that free VST I was talking about. 

There are a lot of great free Synthwave plugins out there that you could use, but one of the best is the OB-XD by discosp. 

Just click the button below, and then click the icon of your computer's operating system (Windows, Mac) to download the plugin.

This is a great plugin that is an emulation of the classic Oberheim OB-X and is therefore great for all kinds of Synthwave sounds.

3. Choose A Synthwave Bass Sound Preset

This plugin comes with a great bass preset that sounds very similar to the classic Korg Polysix sound, and you’ll find that once you load it it up, there isn’t much else you need to do to the sound. 

The Preset is called: Preset 85 - Round Bass 1

Take a listen. 

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Add Some Saturation

Of course, there are a couple extra things we can do to really get that retro vibe going for this bass sound. 

First, add some saturation. Saturation is subtle distortion analog gear, like analog synths, would naturally add to color a sound as a result of the fact that you had a sound signal running through physical circuitry. 

So if you’re using a digital sound, you don’t have that, but you’ll want to add it back in to get that Synthwave feel. 

I really like the Rough Rider 2 plugin by Audio Damage (There's now a new version of this plugin as well) This is another free plugin that you can download, and it sounds great! You can see the settings I used in the image below. 

Now here’s what it sounds like when we add it to our bass sound. 

Add Some Chorus

Next, you’ll want to add a chorus effect to make your bass sound wider, and more retro. This was a very common effect in the 80s, and you’ll see that once you add a chorus effect to your bass, it will instantly sound more Synthwavey. 

A plugin I really like for this is the free TAL Chorus LX.

This is a plugin that mimics the characteristics of the chorus effect built into the Juno-60 analog synth. 

That makes this a great chorus plugin to add to get that synthwave synth sound. 

Here’s what our bass sounds like with it added. 

EQ To Taste

Finally, EQ your bass to taste. You might find you want to boost the bass frequencies a little bit to make it feel fuller, and the high mids to help it to cut through the mix. 

Of course, EQ always comes down to taste and the other sounds you have going on around it, so this is really up to you.

The Mix Down: Conclusion

In summary, all you have to do to recreate that classic Synthwave bass sound is load up a preset from a free VST synth, and then throw some saturation and chorus on it and you can pretty much call it a day. 

That’s THAT easy to create a Synthwave bass, and you can easily recreate this sound in less than a minute once you get these plugins installed. 

Create Radio-Ready Tracks, Fast!

Obviously, getting the bass sound you one is just one very small piece of the mixing puzzle. If you're wanting to create professional-quality, radio-ready tracks, and finish them faster...

Then click the button below to download my free song-finishing checklist. 

You'll get a proven step-by-step system for completing more songs, so you can improve faster, get more great music out there, and grow your fanbase more rapidly.

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Create Better Songs, Faster

Click below to download my free song-finishing checklist to help you create radio-ready songs without taking months to complete them.

This will be especially beneficial if you ever feel lost when mixing, and aren't sure what to do next, or in what order. 

I hope you got value from this post on, How To Create A Synthwave Bass In Less Than A Minute. If you did, I'd love for you to give it a share!

Also, let me know in the comments below...

What's Your Biggest Struggle When It Comes To Making Synthwave Music?

Reagan Ramm

Hi! I'm Reagan, and I've been writing, recording, and mixing music since 2011, and got a degree in audio engineering in 2019 from Unity Gain Recording Institute. I also work full-time in Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and am striving to help fellow musicians and producers improve their art and make a living doing the work they love.

- Reagan Ramm

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  1. Wow, this was so easy and fast, thank you. I make Synthwave/Darksynth/Retrowave (genres, amirite folks?) in my spare time, and this was really helpful. 🙂

      1. Haha, I haven’t released anything publicly yet. I could send you something I’m working on sometime, if you want. Always looking for good feedback! 😀

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