[Production Bible 2] The Reese Bass

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Postby moodswing » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:49 pm

The Reese Bass

History Lesson

The Reese bass was a form of huge sounding synth-bass first used by the Detroit Techno producer Kevin Saunderson a.k.a Master Reese a.k.a. Reese Project a.k.a. .... on the track "Just Want Another Chance" and immortalised in the classic DnB track "Terrorist" by Renegade. Since then it has been (over)used in many a DnB track and continues to evolve even nowadays through Dubstep
and Jungle. It is said to be as influential to DnB as the Amen break and probably as used and abused as the Amen.

Capturing the Beast

1.The Oscillator Stage

To nail the Reese you need a synth with at least 2 oscillators but for better-bigger results use as many oscillators as you can (not really but 4 oscillators give a nice deep rumble - ahhhhhh). All the
oscillators are playing sawtooth waves and all except one are detuned by 25-50 cents so that all oscillators are out of phase with each other.

2. The Filter Stage

The signal is then sent to a low-pass filter with the cutoff freq set around 150-200Hz (experiment with that , you want the growl of the mid-frequencies but you also want it as deep as possible without sacrificing the midrange).
The resonance of the filter should be cranked up almost all the way (but again tweak accordingly to your filter/synth).

3. Fuzz it Up

The second most important aspect of the Reese (after the detuned sawtooths) is distortion.
Tube distortion and tape saturation work extremely well but don't hesitate to use other more extreme distortion units (don't forget that the Reese has been done a million times , you have to
add something original to it) . Again adjust to taste.

4. Spices and Herbs

Now that is the main recipe for the sound but like all haute-cuisine there are more things you can
do to spice up the Reese. Namely effects. Effects that have been associated with the Reese are:

Phasers - to accentuate the phase-shifting effect of the detuned sawtooths.
Unison - a great way to make it even bigger
Chorus - again a good way to phatten it up

5. And Some More Synth Magic

Another thing to do so you can bring out the old-school jungle character of the Reese is to use
Legato and Portamento/Glide if your syth of choice has them available. These are both great ways
to move from one note to the next without listening to the transition.
To put it simply when legato is on and you play a sustained E followed by a sustained G the transition between the two notes gives the listener the impression that they heard a single note being sustained that has just changed its pitch from E to G without pausing at a certain point.

Always remember though that if you use Legato you have to turn the polyphony of your synth down to 1 (something you should almost always do with basslines because two bass-notes playing together almost never sound good in electronic music, bass chords are more the realm of prog-rock shit than dubstep)

For the more technical minded legato in synthesizers is "a variation of monophonic operation. In contrast to monophonic mode where every new note restarts the ADSR envelopes, in legato mode they are not if the previous note remains depressed when the new note is played. This causes the initial transient from the attack and decay phases to sound only once and the ADSR's to remain at sustain stage for the whole sequence of notes until the final note is released." (Wikipedia)


EDIT I just found out that in one of the free vst links on the bible there is a thing called the "Hotelsinus Reese Bassline" Synth. So I didn't miss the opportunity for a mini review. The software itself is small (like most free vst-i's) and quite easy to install (you just drop the dll in the vst folder). As for the sound, weeeeeeell.... the sounds it produces are definitely Reese. But... weak somehow. Its like listening to Terrorist from a battered, cheap old cassette from 93 or something. It has a tinny and tiny sound when compared to what you can achieve with powerhouses like Albino or Massive or (one of my personal favorites for Reese) Cakewalk Rupture. You can try it if you want but i don't think it will impress 'steppers that much we are bass-headed folk.
Last edited by moodswing on Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The only way to make a musical moment last forever is to pass it through a delay with the feedback control set to maximum and let it play on and on to infinity. This is also the best way to burn your speakers and the moment won't stay musical for long ...

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Postby contakt321 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:09 pm

Cheers! This is really well written and will definitely help lots of folks. I needed this a few months ago but I sorted myself out :)
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Postby darkmatteruk » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:11 pm

mmmmmmm.......... reeeeeeeesssse
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Postby FSTZ1 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:22 pm

rawrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeessssee
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Postby moodswing » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:22 pm

Thanks for the early feedback guys . I 'd also like to add that in fact (credit where its due) the whole legato/portamento idea didn't occur to me before i saw this happy dutchman's tutorial on the tube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1BI-KVnJuE

A great tutorial (even though it relies too much in some Reason gimmicks like the combinator) and the guy was probably as stoned as a heretic (obviously a plus for someone that makes reese's isn't it)
The only way to make a musical moment last forever is to pass it through a delay with the feedback control set to maximum and let it play on and on to infinity. This is also the best way to burn your speakers and the moment won't stay musical for long ...

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Postby darkmatteruk » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:46 pm

STICKY!!! dubstep needs more reese driven madness :twisted:
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Postby ruckspin » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:14 pm

it is easier to keep the reece in tune by detuning 2 oscillators by equal and opposite amounts.
(i.e. if one is detuned to -25c then the other should be an equal volume and tuned to +25c)
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Postby scooterjack » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:26 pm

moodswing wrote:even though it relies too much in some Reason gimmicks like the combinator


and what exactly is "gimmicky" about the combinator in Reason?

It's a highly useful tool for routing, automation, and control.
Last edited by scooterjack on Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby daft cunt » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:30 pm

Legend!
Added to the bible!

mmmmmmm.......... reeeeeeeesssse

This

STICKY!!! dubstep needs more reese driven madness

And this!
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Postby contakt321 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:34 pm

ruckspin wrote:it is easier to keep the reece in tune by detuning 2 oscillators by equal and opposite amounts.
(i.e. if one is detuned to -25c then the other should be an equal volume and tuned to +25c)


Really? I have always done it the other way (as mentioned by the OP). Will have to try this tonight.
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Postby contakt321 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:36 pm

Here is a question:

What kinds of synthesis do you prefer for your Reese basses?

Analog? FM? etc?

I usually use Operator, but interested in hearing what other peeps use.
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Postby moodswing » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:01 pm

ruckspin wrote:it is easier to keep the reece in tune by detuning 2 oscillators by equal and opposite amounts.
(i.e. if one is detuned to -25c then the other should be an equal volume and tuned to +25c)



True but then you miss a lot of the steady bass character of the sound. If you do that i suggest you layer with something like a low passed square or a sine so you keep the sustained bass character of the reese. Also if you keep your un-detuned (is that a word?) osc louder in the mix you wont get that noticeably out of tune .

ScooterJack wrote:
moodswing wrote:even though it relies too much in some Reason gimmicks like the combinator


and what exactly is "gimmicky" about the combinator in Reason?

It's a highly useful tool for routing, automation, and control.


Absolutely nothing . It was just a word that came out of my head at the moment without realising it has a negative meaning (English is not my native language, I may have a decent grasp of it but i don't use it that often). The Combi is a great tool and one of the main reasons to buy Reason. Substitute gimmick with another stupid sounding word that begins with a g ... i don't know... gadget maybe?

contakt321 wrote:Here is a question:

What kinds of synthesis do you prefer for your Reese basses?

Analog? FM? etc?

I usually use Operator, but interested in hearing what other peeps use.


Analog all the way man. It was a sound with its roots in Detroit Techno after all.
For the computer only setups i would recommend something like the Arturia ARP-2600V or the Moog Modular V or Cakewalk Rupture which for some reason is extremely good at doing the Reese quite easily.
For anyone after using more than 2 or 3 oscillators things like Reason's combinator or ableton's instrument racks are perfect for not having to worry about too many tracks and faders fucking up your workflow.
The only way to make a musical moment last forever is to pass it through a delay with the feedback control set to maximum and let it play on and on to infinity. This is also the best way to burn your speakers and the moment won't stay musical for long ...

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Postby future one » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:18 pm

Got an example of one of your reeses moodswing?
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Postby scooterjack » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:38 pm

moodswing wrote:Absolutely nothing . It was just a word that came out of my head at the moment without realising it has a negative meaning (English is not my native language,


ah, no worries then :W:
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Postby daft cunt » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:01 pm

Future One wrote:Got an example of one of your reeses moodswing?

Sounds like beef's coming up :D
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Postby boomstix » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:33 pm

very tidy post, i learned stuff

thanks
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Postby Brisance » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:43 pm

don't lowpass, use a few notches in the area the reese shifts between instead :r:
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Postby moodswing » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:57 am

Future One wrote:Got an example of one of your reeses moodswing?


Unfortunately none online and none at home right now. Friday is back-at-the-studio day tho and I'll upload some examples then.

By the way do you happen to own or have you tested that delicious Culture Vulture you have in your sig? That's something I've been saving for a long time to buy (and will probably keep saving for a loooong time to come).


Brisance wrote:don't lowpass, use a few notches in the area the reese shifts between instead :r:


Even though i can't imagine what the notches would do to the sound and I can't try it now (but i will def try) my question is wouldn't the clear unfiltered sawtooths be a little too harsh? I think automating or playing with opening the cut-off would be ok but wouldn't it be too much with no filter at all?
Last edited by moodswing on Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
The only way to make a musical moment last forever is to pass it through a delay with the feedback control set to maximum and let it play on and on to infinity. This is also the best way to burn your speakers and the moment won't stay musical for long ...

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Postby future one » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:02 am

moodswing wrote:
Future One wrote:Got an example of one of your reeses moodswing?


Unfortunately none online and none at home right now. Friday is back-at-the-studio day tho and I'll upload some examples then.

By the way do you happen to own or have you tested that delicious Culture Vulture you have in your sig? That's something I've been saving for a long time to buy (and will probably keep saving for a loooong time to come).


Nice one,

Yeah I own one. It's sick and I'd definitly recomend one to anyone doing digital music.

It's great for giving some life to boring sounding samples - drum, horns, synth sounds etc.
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