Dua Lipa- "Break My Heart" EFFECTS

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Thunderthumbs73, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    A band I'm in plays this song. I am trying to get (within reason) the same/similar effects to make the bass part sound right. I have gigged it a number of times without the effect and I'm always annoyed that I haven't yet been able to add this very important (and IMO critical) flavor to the live sound.

    To me, it sounds like an "AM Radio Bass Sound" as if the bass was coming out of an AM radio, into a 2-inch speaker that you might find in the middle of the dashboard on a classic car. But... ...there also sounds like a slow-swept EQ filter effect that's going on too, like maybe a wah-pedal slowly moving through a certain range of travel.

    To hear the effect, zero in on these two sections:

    I think, but do not know, I could get this "AM Radio Bass Sound" with a Boss GEB-7 and pulling ALL the bass out via this pedal and boosting the upper mids to make it sound "nasally".

    Will this pedal give this sound? If not this pedal, what pedal or effect?

    What is this slow-swept EQ filter sound, and what pedal do you use to achieve it?

    The "AM Radio Bass Sound" is the most important aspect, and if I can get that right, I'd probably let the slow-swept EQ filter aspect go, as I don't want to be dancing on too many pedals during a song.

    I'm trying to buy the right product(s) out of the gate the first time, instead of chasing my tail and going around and around with this with endless purchases, tryouts and product returns. Thanks for your help.

  2. Bread Knife

    Bread Knife

    Oct 8, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    I was playing along to this tune the other day (great bass lines all over this album), and rolling the bass knob all the way down on my Stingray for that part does a pretty decent job of approximating the effect to my ears. I'm pretty confident that basically any EQ pedal would do the trick well enough to convince the audience. I'll note that I've got flatwounds on my bass - you'll probably want to attenuate the treble slightly for the AM radio effect if you're using roundwound strings.

    The filter sweep/ramp portion of the sound is more complicated, but I imagine using a digital EQ effect that allows you to sweep between two settings with an expression pedal would work. I don't know what specific item would be best for that, and I'm skeptical it would be worth the extra hassle. Best of luck!
    droo46 likes this.
  3. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Thanks for your input. I too play a Stingray, and it's my main gigging bass (the five-string version). I never seem to get enough bass pulled out of the signal via the three-band EQ to make it sound quite right, but the tonal flexibility in this bass is one of the reasons why it's my overwhelming choice as my main gigging bass.

    I tend to agree with you that hunting for the filter sweep aspect is perhaps not worth the hassle, and a gig or full band practice session with the right pedal that gives the "AM Radio Bass Sound" will likely confirm this.

    Now on the hunt to find a local store that has a Boss GEB-7 for a two minute max demo session to see if this is the solution to the first aspect of the effects I'm seeking. Thanks again.
  4. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Denver, CO
    As I'm sure you know the bass on most of her recordings is a synthesizer, and it sounds like a high-pass filter swept globally over the entire mix (including the drums) on those sections. I think the best bet for really nailing the whole package (including that sweep) would be through the use of cascading filters- a fixed low-pass filter for the core bass tone of the song run into a high-pass filter with some resonance at the cutoff frequency being swept down. The way that initial line sweeps from a honky midrange peak into that dark "in the alley of the dance-club" tone before everything comes back in really suggests two cascading filters would work best IMO. I don't think its a bandpass filter, as the bass synth tone it sweeps into doesn't have much going on up top to begin with. If you are happy with the rest of your bass tone without a LPF, then just a swept high-pass filter with some resonance to emphasize that sweep should pass just fine. I have a Robot Factory Brain Freeze that is a pedal copy of the MS-20 synth filter section that could do this pretty well with an expression pedal sweeping down, but I think any number of state-variable filter options could do it. The Source Audio C4 or Spectrum could definitely get there too. Of course those are all expensive options for one tone (but all are quite useful in general for endless other tones/utilities!), just ones I currently have on hand that could do it without much fuss. The trick is being able to have a static filter swept by an expression pedal rather than an envelope.

    You could definitely approximate a fixed high-pass tone using a standard graphic EQ pedal, though I wouldn't expect it to sound nearly as organic (particularly that resonance at the cutoff that gives you that "nasal" quality).
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
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  5. sifrancis


    Oct 29, 2012
    Mesa, Darkglass, EQD, Mantic, Source Audio, Yamaha, Delano, Hamstead Soundworks, Jad Freer Audio
    TL;DR you want a resonant High Pass Filter, and a Resonant Low Pass Filter. Ideally with the ability to sweep their cutoff frequencies, but independent on/off will be good enough.

    At the start you can hear the HPF is set pretty high with some light resonance - this then sweeps down to give more bass, and is then immediately followed by a section where the LPF is cutting off some highs again with some resonance.

    I have previously used a Frostwave Resonator clone (MS 20 filters in a pedal - similar to the Robot Factory Brain Freeze mentioned above), various Source Audio filters (C4/Spectrum is my current favourite for this), and a mix of Line 6 and Moog MF101.

    Ideally separate pedals to sweep the cutoff of each filter independently is ideal, through it can involve some speedy footwork. Source Audio Reflex pedals and Moog MP201 were previous options that really helped facilitate this for live stuff. But sadly neither is still in production.
    sunbeast likes this.
  6. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Always wanted to try a Resonator! I should have picked one up when they were still being made, but didn't have as much use for one back then of course. The Brain Freeze is only a psuedo-MS20 in the sense that it only has a single filter, the BP mode is just an all-pass SVF with a resonance peak so it lacks the same versatility of the dual independent filters of the Resonator. Still cool enough that this is my second one!
    sifrancis likes this.
  7. Phe


    May 30, 2005
    Oulu, Finland
    I guess you could approximate the sweeping with slowly opening a wah wah. IIRC Brian Cook of Russian Circles uses wah wah that way sometimes.
  8. TheLowDown33

    TheLowDown33 Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    SW Connecticut
    I recorded a cover of that song, and I used an envelope filter and for the beginning, band passed it with a pretty high hpf cutoff frequency. In my DAW I automated the hp and lp filters to gradually open up too, which sounded more authentic.
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