The best way to recreate 80's synth bass sound for live?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by wladymeer, Jun 20, 2021.

  1. Hello everybody.

    I'm a keyboard player, so, please, take it easy on me :)

    I'm looking to make a live setup for my band called The Tilt and besides original songs we would also like to do some synthwave/80's synth pop songs.

    At the moment, I'm sequencing all the bass lines from my Kurzweil, but, honestly, the only reason I'm doing this is because there is no bass player in my area that has even a clue how to get a typical 80's synth bass sound. Unfortunately, for those songs, synth bass sound is pretty much a signature part of those songs, so electric bass sound wouldn't work.

    Anyway, I thought maybe you could help me out with it - the sound I would like to get from the bass sounds pretty much something like this:

    What gear / route would you recommend? If it's possible to do it MIDI way in a reliable way, I could share one channel from my Kurzweil for it and dedicate aux output just for the bass sound. That could be probably the easiest way if there is a reliable MIDI pickup.

    Also, I've heard that Roland GK-3B pickup have issues in real life situations when you're playing lowest notes, so if someone had an experience with it, please share it with me.

    Hope there is a way to do it on a real bass in a reliable way.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
  2. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Ha, great tune :D

    weirdly that sounds like a real bass to me?! - but i’m not listening on good speakers…

    in general, i think envelope filter + careful pick attack are a fairly reliable way to get 80s synth bass-ish sounds.
    Chickenwheels and wladymeer like this.
  3. Here's something I've done with my hardware synths so maybe it will explain closer what I would like to achieve - guess I'm mostly looking for that percussive upper sound of the bass, but then again, I'm pretty sure I would eventually prefer some plain saw bass or square bass on other tracks.

    Dropbox - WW synth bass.mp3 - Simplify your life
    Kubicki Fan and Alik like this.
  4. Smurf-o-Deth

    Smurf-o-Deth Nothing to fret over. Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2007
    The state of denial.
    Check out the Source Audio C4.
    Liko, DJ Bebop, Goatrope and 9 others like this.
  5. Very nice!

    The only thing that I've noticed is that they avoided lower frets throughout whole review. But it's definitely something that I will research further.
  6. Smurf-o-Deth

    Smurf-o-Deth Nothing to fret over. Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2007
    The state of denial.
    Depends on if you're using sub-octave generation or not. It can also generate synthetic voices at same-pitch.
  7. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    For me: Source Audio C4 using an octave down, light distortion and a light envelope. Play everything an octave up with a light and even stacatto attack.
  8. turcmic

    turcmic Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Montreal, QC
    Yep. C4 does a great job. Or a combination of multiple pedals can get you there. Take a look at Ian Martin Allison’s IG account or the stuff he posts on Scott’s bass lessons on YT. He’s a big fan of the 80s bass sounds.
    SteveC and wladymeer like this.
  9. Matt O

    Matt O

    Feb 19, 2013
    The Mitten

    Fun starts at about 1:30
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
  10. GrahamNN3


    Apr 11, 2018
    Just letting you know about the Vintage Synth group on FB Facebook Groups
  11. Eli_Kyiv


    Apr 7, 2020
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Boss SY series pedals could make quite a good synth bass impression. Also there are multieffect bass pedals, most of these could do it as well, even the old ones. My Korg AX3000B could do it good enough, my Zoom B3n even better.
  12. Londo Molari

    Londo Molari

    Jan 1, 2014
    2 blocks east of Mars
    Decendant from the Clovis culture. "Emitting that wonderful bass effect since 1970".

    Maybe one of these?

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
  13. moon-bass

    moon-bass They call me El Jefe Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    USA, New Orleans
    Source Audio C4 and any of the new Boss Pedals will get you there easily.
    design and wladymeer like this.
  14. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    For that bassline I think even one of the boss synth pedals will do and be accurate enough, there will be a lot of other synth sounds over it anyway
    wladymeer likes this.
  15. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    An octave pedal with some equalizing can give you the texture if you want something relatively simple. I think a lot of the sound of synth bass is the attack and playing style anyways.
    Chickenwheels and wladymeer like this.
  16. Erik herman

    Erik herman Gold Supporting Member

    A Future Impact, a distortion pedal, EHX Iron Lung and a Looper, could nail the whole song even the drums!
    4Mal, mmon77 and dutchwife like this.
  17. Odd enough, but I've found the bass patch inside of Guitar Mono Synth more useful than whole bunch of presets from Bass Mono Synth.

    And, meanwhile, did a bit research on my own - it seems like "new" BOSS Synth Bass pedals have improved:

    Unfortunately, SY-1 pedal is not so impressive in terms of synth bass sounds to me - the only "useful sound" I've found on videos was under Sequencing presets.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
    DJ Bebop, tomshepp, pjbassist and 2 others like this.
  18. Yep, but from what I can tell it's not a bass stompbox - it's a synth in form of a stompbox - very nice sounding btw.
  19. Watching Adam Neely's youtube channel last few years, he seems to get a good synth sound just using an octave pedal and maybe a touch of fuzz.

    Lord knows I love bass synth pedals and have a bunch, but I'd probably start with an octave effect. I've never had to do 80s pop on a live gig though, so take me with a grain of salt. I just figure starting simple is a best.
    agent19 likes this.
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I used a Boss OC-2 and now an MXR Vintage Bass Octave and a smattering of other pedals to get synth bass sounds. Dirt pedals work well with it. Envelope filters can give them some character as well. And chorus is good to simulate that two-oscillator thing some synths have. I also have an old Digitech Bass Synth Wah, which has its moments, but I find all those bass synth pedals benefit from other pedals as well.
    DJ Bebop, Jaycephas, Spectrum and 2 others like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 27, 2021

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