At this point in electronic music history, Reese Bass is inescapable, and there is no denying its cultural impact and importance of it over the past decades; it goes through phases (pun intended) but always comes back around, I see out to make the simplest (fewest Max objects) but impactful Reese Bass in MaxMSP.
A Little History
Reese Bass refers to a particular style of synthesized bass sound that is highly characteristic of various electronic music genres, especially drum and bass, jungle, and dubstep. The term “Reese” derives from the artist Kevin “Reese” Saunderson, who used a similar sound in the track “Just Want Another Chance,” released in 1988.
Structure and Synthesis of Reese Bass
The Reese Bass sound is typically generated using subtractive synthesis, where one or more sawtooth or square waveforms are detuned and often slightly phase-shifted. This interaction results in the characteristic “beating” or “phasing” sound of the Reese Bass. It produces a complex and rich timbre that can vary dramatically depending on the precise settings used.
- Oscillators: At least two detuned oscillators are required. The detuning creates a fluctuation in the amplitude, leading to the characteristic movement or “wobble” of the sound.
- Filtering: A low-pass filter can be applied to shape the harmonic content of the sound. This can be modulated over time using an envelope or a low-frequency oscillator (LFO) to create movement within the sound.
- Saturation and Distortion: Adding saturation and distortion can further harmonically enrich the sound, giving it more presence and character.
- Chorus and Spatial Effects: Chorus or unison effects can be added to widen the stereo image of the sound and add additional complexity.
- Modulation: Modulating parameters like the filter cutoff, resonance, or detuning amount using envelopes, LFOs, or velocity can add expressiveness and make the sound more dynamic.
MaxMSP Reese Bass
The magic here is deviate into [mc.saw~] That’s pretty much it; MC makes it really easy to make a Reese Bass. The mc.gen~ if literally just folding the signal (inside), the [mc.cycle~] and [mc.sig~] is providing modulation, [mc.lores~] for filtering (low-pass), [mc.mixdown~] to get the 16-voices down to two voices, and the classic [mc.degrade~] for distortion, clipping & saturation – have fun! 🙂