How to make a synth bass in Circle2

Illustration: Jay Schaul

In this tutorial series, we walk through building some handy synth presets so you can hit the ground running with circle2 within minutes.

Start with an oscillator

Step 1

02-bass-01-Start with an oscillator

  • Choose “VPS” for the first oscillator.
  • Dial the vertical setting to about 70%.

Note: The vertical parameter controls the frequency component of the sine waves.  Increasing this parameter fills in more harmonics to create a brighter timbre.

Step 2   

  • Choose “Wavetable” for the second oscillator and turn the oscillator on.
  • Pick wavetable “classic triangle” as the second wavetable
  • Bring the crossfade down to 0.3

Tip: At the end of designing the sound, go back and play with different wavetables to try out other sounds.

Step 3

  • Choose “Analog” for the third oscillator and turn the oscillator on.
  • Make sure that the sine wave shape is selected.

Sculpt the Source

Step 4    

  • Head over to the mixer and increase the level of osc 2 to 0.8.

Step 5

02-bass-02-Step 5

  • Click on the “Settings” tab at the bottom of the synth.
  • Under “voicing”, drag the unison number from 1 to 4
  • On the upper left, increase the global detune to 0.05

Note: By increasing the global detune the sound will start “fluttering” as the pitch wavers, giving a thicker sounding patch.

Step 6

02-bass-03-Step 6

  • Head over to the green envelope to the top right of the synth.
  • Adjust the Decay down to 0.195 seconds
  • Adjust the Sustain to 0.9 seconds
  • Adjust the Release to 0.3 seconds

Dial in some effects

Step 7

02-bass-04-Step 7

  • Activate “Mouth Filter” in the middle MIXER/FX column.
  • Bring the Formant filter to 0.35
  • Increase the Out fader to about 90%
  • Take the Mix slider to about 45%

Tip: Try selecting different vowel sounds to create different timbres when moving the formant filter.

Step 8

02-bass-05-Step 8

  • Activate “Echo” from the bottom “Effects” tab.
  • Take the Mix slider down to about 20%
  • Take Out slider up to about 95%

Note: Adding a small amount of Echo will make the bass sound wider and bigger.

Step 9

02-bass-06-Step 9

  • Activate a “Shelving EQ” in the middle MIXER/FX column.
  • Give a slight boost to band 1 at around 63hz
  • Decrease band 2 slight at around 900hz

Modulate the synth

Step 10

02-bass-07-Step 10

  • Activate the second modulator (Purple) and switch it to “Envelope.”
  • Bring the Attack time to 0.006s
  • Bring to Decay to 0.24s
  • Lower the Sustain time to 0.25s
  • Bring the Release to 0.1s

Step 11

02-bass-08-Step 11

  • Bring the cutoff frequency of the middle filter (make sure it is at lowpass mode) to 140hz.
  • Increase the resonance to 1.3.

Step 12

02-bass-09-Step 12

  •  Drag the Purple Modulator (from the envelope) circle onto:
  • The Frequency parameter of the filter
  • The Mouth Filter
  • Osc 3 on the mixer
  • The vertical parameter on Osc 1
  • The x-fade parameter on Osc

Note: By modulating the frequency of the filter/mouth filter the “ow” sound is created. The timing of the modulator envelope (Purple Envelope) will need to be adjusted depending on the BPM you are using.

You’re now one step closer to mastering circle2. Keep building your skill set with our other Circle2 tutorials.

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November 30, 2017

Nick Chen Content Marketing @ Splice. Nick Chen is a producer, performer, and educator under the aliases "nickthechen" and "Enix."