RBass has to be one of Waves’ most talked about plugins and has been since the ‘Type Beat Tutorial’ explosion. The problem I’ve noticed is a lot of people grab RBass as a quick fix but don’t actually know how to use RBass. Hopefully, I can solve that issue with this post.
What Is RBass?
RBass is short for ‘Renaissance Bass’. It’s a bass enhancement plugin created by Waves that has gained a lot of respect and popularity amongst the music production and mixing community.Rbass Manual
Common Problems Producers Have With 808s
- Can’t hear them on smartphone speakers
- Can’t hear them on laptop or small speakers
- the 808 sounds good, but my mixes are really muddy
This can be fixed with Waves Renaissance Bass.
How To Use RBass?
Feel free to insert RBass on any sound you’d like to enhance, but for the purpose of this tutorial will be focusing on the 808 basses. If you’re producing Trap or anything currently top 40s, you gotta have great 808s!
Step 1: Insert RBass on your 808 channel
As mentioned above, this can be any sound, just make sure your sound selection is ‘good’. Starting with ‘good sounds’ from the beginning is crucial to your end results. Good sound selection also makes your job as a music producer a lot easier!
Step 2: Find the fundamental frequency of your 808 bass
This can be done in a few different ways. You can do this by ear or you can use an equalizer and find the fundamental frequency. I like to use an EQ or frequency analyzer so I can see the frequencies.
Step 3: Set RBass To Your Fundamental Frequency
Dialing in the fundamental is going to give RBass a starting point. The starting point is where the harmonics will be generated from.
Step 4: Adjust the Intensity Knob
When you push the intensity knob you’ll notice that the 808 seems to be louder, this is called perceived loudness. What’s happening is harmonics are being generated from your fundamental frequency starting point. The more you push, the more harmonics are generated.
Step 5: Use Your Ear
Now, using the fundamental will definitely give you good results, but sometimes, dialing in around or near the fundamental (being a little off) will give you better results. So use your ears and sweep around the 808s sweet spot.
Quick note: The fundamental is another word for ‘root note’.
Step 6: Adjust The Final Output
This is important because you don’t want to trick your ear with the new loudness. With that being said, level match or gain stage the volume of your bass before and after adding RBass. The meter/levels should be the same or close to the same.
RBass 808 Myth
You can achieve the same result RBass does by using an EQ. Nope, not going to happen with a normal EQ. In fact, this could make things sound worse. The technology, science, and goal behind RBass and EQs aren’t the same.
Vague RBass Mixing Advice
The problem with the online communities centered around mixing and production techniques is a lot of people give vague as well as inaccurate advice.
I imagine they do this because they themselves don’t really understand how things work and copy what they see others say and do.
Common Mixing Question & Perfect Example
Question: “how do I get my bass to translate on smaller speakers or my cell phone”
Somebody will reply
Bad Answer: “oh just use RBass”
Following advice like that can result in a horrible sounding 808 and mix. No one wants to be the producer with the shitty mix which brings us to the next tip.
Knowing When To Use RBass
RBass works by replacing the low-end content with ‘harmonics’ allowing the ‘bass’ or low-frequency sound to be heard on both, smaller and cheaper speakers.
Most producers these days, especially those who make EDM, Trap, or some in-between hybrid, are purchasing and pirating sample packs.
Most of the time, the 808s in these sample packs are processed and ready to go. The most you’d have to do to them is level and EQ if that.
There are some vendors on platforms like Splice, who are thoughtful enough to offer the dry versions of their sounds. Having the dry version of the sound would allow you to tweak and process the way you want, but again, most will come processed.
With that said, it makes no sense to use RBass on processed 808s (sounds). Don’t use RBass for the sake of using it or because everyone else does. Use RBass when working with dry sounds or sounds that lack presence.
How Focus Uses RBass
There aren’t too many producers I care to listen to when it comes to production and mixing, but Focus is definitely one of them. Not just because he’s worked on some of my favorite songs, but he has a good way of explaining his process.
I find that a lot of good producers lack the ability to express and articulate why they do what they do.
That’s how you use Waves RBass in a nutshell. As you can see, it’s simple, but powerful tool to have in your arsenal. Let me know if there are any other plugins you use or know about that do the same as RBass, more or less.