The sound of 80s pop never gets old, and it’s actually seeing a revival today in the shape of the Synthwave genre. Today we’re going to show you how to achieve that lush bass sound which many of the songs from back then and now are famous for. We’ll start with a really basic bass line and then use the DDD – Dimension Chorus plugin and the Bus compressor plugin to give it that famous 80s sound.
The first thing we do is placing an instance of DDD – Dimension Chorus on the bass track, which is a stereo track. Setting the plugin up is a breeze as there’s only a couple of controls. By flipping the left-sided switch from ‘MONO’ to ‘STEREO’ as well as choosing ‘DIMENSION MODE 4’ (which is straight stereo), we get a super wide bass tone in no time. The only thing else we need to do is to raise the ‘GAIN’ a bit. This will intensify the overall chorus effect in a subtle yet noticeable way.
The interface of DDD – Dimension Chorus should now look something like this:
We’ve already got a great bass sound now that definitely reminds us of the 80s – now it’s time to give it a final treatment with some compression. Don’t let the name of the Bus plugin fool you: of course, it’s a great compressor for groups and sub groups but it can also sound great on individual tracks! The ‘Solid State – 4k’ model i.e. the default mode is fine in our case. By turning up the ‘SAT’-knob we introduce some nice saturation. As for the actual compressor settings: a ‘RATIO’ of 3:1 will suffice (we aren’t heading for an all too obvious effect), with a fairly long ‘ATTACK’ and shorter ‘RELEASE’. Finally, we lower the threshold (‘THR’) until the vu-meter displays an average gain reduction of -5dB. The Bus plugin now gives our bass more consistency and also a tiny bit of grit thanks to the saturation.
The interface of Bus should now look something like this:
Let’s do a before and after comparison. Here’s the rather boring bass line on its own:
And this is how it sounds like with DDD – Dimension Chorus and Bus engaged:
You can download the presets for DDD – Dimension Chorus and Bus here: ddd-and-bus-80s-synthwave-presets