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How To Create A Hard-Hitting 808 Bass: Make Your Tracks Shake The Dancefloor

Welcome to the ultimate guide on crafting hard-hitting 808 bass sounds that will shake the dancefloor and leave your listeners in awe.


Mastering the art of creating powerful 808 basslines is essential for any music producer looking to make a lasting impact in today’s music scene.


Powerful basslines are what can set you apart, and weak, boring basslines are going to cause your listeners to change your track immediately.


However, you’ve come to the right place to learn how to absolutely blow your competition away and create impactful 808s that will make you a legend.


In today’s article, you’ll discover:


  • Tips on Selecting the Perfect 808 Bass for Your Tracks
  • The Essentials of Crafting Your 808 Bass Sound From Scratch
  • How Bass Dragon Can Completely Transform & Elevate Your Basslines
  • Expert Techniques for Integrating 808s Into Your Mix
  • Advanced Tips & Tricks to Make Your 808 Bass Insanely Hard-Hitting


By the end of this guide, you’ll have the knowledge and tools necessary to create jaw-dropping 808 basslines that will elevate your music production game to new heights.


Let’s dive in…


The Origins of the 808 Bass


Before we jump into the more complex, modern aspects of a hard-hitting 808 bass, let’s quickly take a journey down memory lane, into its origins.


The Roland TR-808 and Analog Drum Machines 


The OG 808 Bass


The iconic 808 bass sound originates from the Roland TR-808, one of the most influential analog drum machines in music history.


Released in the early ’80s, the TR-808 quickly gained popularity among producers and musicians for its distinctive, booming bass sound.


The machine’s ability to create punchy, low-frequency kicks and snares made it an instant hit, particularly for genres that required a powerful low-end presence.


In addition to the TR-808, other analog drum machines like the Roland TR-909 and LinnDrum have also contributed to the evolution of the 808 bass sound.


These machines offered different sound options and parameters, giving producers even more creative freedom to shape their basslines.


The Evolution of the 808 Bass in Hip Hop & Trap Music


Bass Evolution - Unison


As the 808 bass gained popularity, artists like Afrika Bambaataa and Kanye West started incorporating it into their music, solidifying its place in modern music production.


In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Hip Hop producers like Dr. Dre and DJ Premier were among the first to use the 808 bass in their tracks.


They created a new wave of bass-heavy beats that captivated listeners.


Trap music, which emerged in the early 2000s, took the 808 to new heights.


Producers like Lex Luger and Metro Boomin have become known for their insane 808s, which have become a defining characteristic of the Trap genre.


Today, the 808 bass is present in various genres, with producers (like you) constantly pushing the boundaries and exploring new ways to create unique music and captivating bass sounds.


Choosing the Right 808 Bass Samples


808 samples - Unison


When it comes to crafting a hard-hitting, legendary 808 bass, selecting the right samples is crucial.


High-quality 808 bass samples can make or break your track, so be sure to choose samples that pack a serious punch and complement your unique style.


Look for sample packs specifically designed for Future Bass, Hip Hop, and Trap beats, as they’ll provide the sounds you need to create that perfect 808 bass.


When choosing the right 808 bass for your track, consider the following:


  1. Context Consider the genre and vibe of your track. Different styles of music may call for different types of 808 bass sounds. For instance, Trap beats might require a more aggressive and punchy bass, while Future Bass tracks might benefit from a more melodic and warm bass sound.
  2. Harmonic Content 一 Pay attention to the harmonic content of your 808 bass. Some 808s have more prominent harmonics, which can help them cut through the mix and be heard on smaller speakers.
  3. Decay and Sustain 一 The length of the decay and sustain of your 808 bass can drastically affect the feel of your track. Shorter decays work well for fast, bouncy tracks, while longer sustains can add depth and power to slower, more atmospheric songs.
  4. Tuning Make sure your chosen 808 bass is in tune with your track. Some samples might be slightly detuned or pitched, so it’s crucial to check the tuning and adjust it accordingly to maintain a cohesive and harmonically pleasing sound.


Free Sample Packs


Everyone loves to grab a good sample pack… but it’s even better when it’s a completely free download!


Unison Audio offers an array of high-quality free sample packs, perfect for creating hard-hitting, earth-shattering 808 bass sounds.


Some of these packs include:


  1. Unison Beatmaker Blueprint (Free Teaser Pack)


Unison Beatmaker Blueprint Free Teaser Pack Art Final 750x750 1 - Unison


The Unison Beatmaker Blueprint (Free Teaser Pack) gives you a taste of Unison’s comprehensive Beatmaker Blueprint, offering a selection of drum loops, one-shots, and 808 bass samples to help you craft powerful beats and basslines.


This free teaser pack includes 449 samples, loops & MIDIs for you to take your beats to the next level – free of charge and 100% royalty-free.


  1. Unison Beatmaker Box (Free Teaser)


Unison Beatmaker Box Free Teaser Pack Art 750 - Unison


Another great teaser pack, the Unison Beatmaker Box (Free Teaser Pack) provides a variety of drums, loops, and 808 bass samples.


They will help you create professional-sounding tracks across a range of genres, from Hip Hop to Trap and beyond.


It includes 18 loops, fully-loaded with audio stems & MIDI to elevate your beats to new heights – free of charge and 100% royalty-free.


  1. Unison One-Shot Essentials


Unison One Shot Essentials 750x750 1 - Unison


The Free Unison One-Shot Essentials pack is a must-have for producers looking to expand their sample library with high-quality one-shots.


This pack includes a wide range of sounds, including punchy kicks, crisp snares, and, of course, hard-hitting 808 bass samples.


By utilizing these free 808 bass samples, you’ll have access to an incredible array of bass sounds, making it easier than ever to find the perfect bass for your track.


Combined with the tips and advice for selecting the right 808, you’ll be well-equipped to create powerful, dancefloor-shaking tracks.


Crafting Your 808 Bass Sound


Once you’ve chosen your samples, it’s time to unlock your full potential as a producer by learning how to shape and refine your 808s for maximum impact in your tracks.


  • Pitch and Key Considerations


Pitch Envelope - Unison


Once you’ve chosen your 808 samples, it’s time to fine-tune them.


Pay close attention to the pitch and key of your bass to ensure it blends seamlessly with your track.


Use a pitch envelope to add subtle pitch bends and create more movement in your basslines.


This technique is particularly effective in Future Bass and Surge sounds.


For example, when working on a track in the key of C minor, make sure your 808 bass samples are in tune with the track’s harmonic structure.


By aligning the pitch of your 808 bass with the key of your song, you’ll create a more cohesive and harmonically pleasing sound.


Discover how to use pitch correction like an absolute boss in this intricate article.


  • Applying Distortion and Processing


Decapitator Bass Settings - Unison


Distortion and processing are essential for achieving that hard-hitting 808 bass.


Experiment with different types of distortion, saturation, and compression to add character and warmth to your sound.


Remember, the key is to find the perfect balance between grit and clarity.


Additionally, applying parallel compression can help enhance the perceived loudness and impact of your bass, without overloading the mix.


  • Adjusting Frequencies and Filters


FabFilter Pro Q 3 1 - Unison


To achieve a balanced low-end, carefully adjust the frequencies and filters on your 808 bass.


Use a high-pass filter to remove unwanted low frequencies and make room for the kick drum.


This will ensure your bass sounds clean and powerful while maintaining its impact.


Additionally, using a dynamic EQ can help control frequency build-up in real time, ensuring your 808 bass remains clear and powerful throughout your mix.


Unison Audio’s Bass Dragon: A Game-Changer for 808 Basslines 

bassDragon - Unison

Bass Dragon is an innovative plugin specifically crafted to take your 808 basslines to a whole new level.


With its user-friendly interface and powerful features, Bass Dragon simplifies the process of creating distinctive and hard-hitting 808s.


Its advanced synthesis engine, combined with meticulously designed presets and fine-tuned controls, offers endless possibilities for shaping your bass sound.


This game-changing tool will help you unlock your full potential as a producer and redefine the way you approach 808 basslines in your tracks.


Some of the standout features of Bass Dragon include its intuitive interface, flexible modulation options, and comprehensive sound-shaping tools.


Bass Dragon Genres e1680620365533 - Unison


These features allow you to create highly customized 808s, in an array of genres, that will captivate your listeners and make your tracks stand out.


With this software, you’ll have access to professional manipulation options that will help you craft the perfect 808 bass.


For example, you can utilize the built-in pitch envelope and sine wave generator to create unique, modulated bass sounds that will captivate your listeners.


Additionally, try experimenting with this AI Music Generator, along with its filters and modulation options to add movement and character to your 808 basslines.


By combining these advanced techniques with your carefully chosen samples and processing, you’ll be instantly inspired.


Plus, of course, be able to create 808 bass sounds that are unique, hard-hitting, soul-shaking, and of professional quality.


Check out the Bass Dragon reviews to see what people are saying.


Integrating Your 808 Bass into Your Mixes 


If you want to ensure your 808 sits perfectly in your mixes, here are a few tips on smoothly blending and balancing your bass sounds.


  • Layer Your 808 Bass With a Kick Drum for Added Impact


FabFilter Pro C 2 1 - Unison


Layering your 808 bass with a kick drum is a tried-and-true technique for adding impact to your tracks.


Use a sidechain compressor to duck the 808 bass when the kick drum hits, ensuring the kick drum cuts through the mix and provides that extra punch.


This will create a pumping effect that allows your kick drum to shine while still maintaining the power of your 808 bass.


It’s especially effective in genres like Hip Hop and Trap, where the kick and 808 bass combination is a defining characteristic of the sound.


For example, you can use a sidechain compressor plugin like FabFilter’s Pro-C 2 to set up the sidechain compression.


This will create a pumping effect that allows your kick drum to shine while still maintaining the power of your 808s.


Don’t forget to check out the Top 10 Mind-Blowing VST Effects Plugins of 2023 for the ultimate crafting tools.


  • Balance the Levels of Your 808 Bass in the Mix


Voxengos SPAN - Unison


Achieving the perfect balance between your 808 and the rest of your mix is crucial for creating a professional-sounding track.


Use a spectrum analyzer and a reference track (in a similar genre) to find the ideal level for your 808 bass.


This will ensure it’s sitting at the right level and not overpowering the other elements in your track.


  • Carving out Space for Your 808 Bass in the Mix


Air EQ - Unison


Lastly, be mindful of the other elements in your mix and carve out space for your 808 bass by carefully EQing competing sounds.


This will ensure your bass cuts through the mix and delivers the punch you’re looking for.


For example, if you have a synth pad that occupies the same frequency range as your 808 bass, use an EQ to create a small notch in the pad’s frequency spectrum to make room for the bass.


This way, both elements can coexist without clashing or causing a muddy mix.


Otherwise you’ll be making a big mixing mistake, which you definitely don’t want to do.


To find a list of the absolute best EQ plugins for all kinds of processes, look no further.


Professional Techniques to Make Insanely Hard-Hitting 808 Bass Sounds


The following professional techniques will help you craft powerful, compelling bass sounds that will make your listeners’ jaws instantly drop.


You’ll never have a weak noise or basic, boring 808s again.


  • Harmonic Layering


Try layering your 808 bass with additional harmonics to add extra depth and weight to the sound.


You can achieve this by duplicating the 808 and processing it with saturation or harmonic exciters to emphasize the upper harmonics, then blending it back with the original version.


  • Transient Shaping


Use a transient shaper to add extra punch and impact to your 808.


Adjust the attack and sustain parameters to create a sharper, tighter sound, ensuring that your 808 bass cuts through the mix and provides maximum impact.


If you’re unsure of what transients are, we’ve got you covered.


  • Advanced Distortion Techniques


Experiment with multiband distortion to apply different types and amounts of distortion to specific frequency ranges of your 808.


This can help to emphasize the low end while maintaining clarity and definition in the mid and high frequencies.


  • Subtle Stereo Widening


Add subtle stereo width to your 808 by using a stereo imager or mid-side processing.


Be careful not to overdo it, as this can cause phase issues and reduce the impact of your bass.


A little bit of stereo width can help your 808 stand out in the mix without compromising its power.


  • Parallel Processing


Create a parallel processing chain for your 808, applying heavier distortion, compression, or other effects to the parallel signal while keeping the original signal clean.


Blend the two signals together to achieve a more aggressive, hard-hitting sound without sacrificing the integrity of the original bass.


  • Resonant Filtering


Use resonant filters, such as a bandpass or notch filter, to emphasize specific frequencies or harmonics in your 808 basses.


Automate the filter’s cutoff frequency to add movement and interest to your bassline, creating a more dynamic and captivating sound.


  • Frequency Splitting


Split your 808s into separate frequency bands using a multiband compressor or EQ, then process each band independently.


This technique allows for precise control over the different elements of your bass sound, such as adding saturation to the mid frequencies while keeping the sub-bass clean and powerful.


  • Adding Glide


Incorporate glide or portamento to your 808 basslines to create smooth transitions between notes and add a sense of movement to your tracks.


By adjusting the glide time, you can control the speed at which the pitch slides from one note to another, resulting in a more expressive and dynamic bass sound.


By incorporating these expert techniques into your workflow, you’ll be well on your way to crafting insanely hard-hitting 808 bass sounds that will make your tracks stand out from the crowd.


As you continue to develop your skills as a music producer, don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques or even collaborate with a local musician or two.


808 Bass: Final Thoughts


The 808 bass is a powerful tool in any music producer’s arsenal, capable of transforming a track into a dancefloor anthem.


By carefully selecting your samples, fine-tuning your bass sound, and integrating it into your mix, you’ll be well on your way to creating unforgettable tracks that resonate with listeners.


If you’re looking for more creative, advanced, in-depth methods of getting your 808s to hit harder than you could ever imagine, check out these 8 Ways To Make Crazy 808 Drums.


It includes expert methods that exceed expectations, allow you to play around with different techniques, and push the creative process to the next level… you do not want to miss out!


Until next time…



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