Say hello to Brian "TheHook" Williams, our Featured Neuro Artist for the month of June, 2021. Truth be told, this Master of Tone/Synth Bass Guru was shrouded in mystery prior to this article. The only thing we knew about "TheHook" is that his C4 Synth presets sounded divine. Of course the question on everyone's mind has to be, why do they call him "The Hook?" Well, as Brian puts it, "the bass is always THE HOOK!"
For the past two years, nary a Source Audio bass or guitar pedalboard, constructed for trade shows and demo videos, is without a number of C4 Synth presets created by TheHook. And we are not the only ones who love what Brian does with the our pedals - his presets consistently rack up significant downloads and Likes from C4 Synth owners around the globe. Brian is also beginning to build quite an impressive library of Ultrwave Multiband Bass Processor presets. We highly encourage everyone reading to scroll down and check out some of the sound clips of Brian's preset, or better yet, connect your C4 Synth or Ultrawave Multiband Processor (either the standard or bass versions) to the Neuro Editor and try his presets yourself.
Of course, all of our Featured Neuro Artists get a free Source Audio pedal. If you want to learn more about our Neuro Artist Program, follow this link - we are always on the lookout for the next Featured Artist. Brian chose for his free pedal, the EQ2 Programmable Equalizer - we hope it brings him many thumping lows and sparkling highs.
Below you will find a magnificent collection of Brian's most popular presets as well as some of his personal favorites. We hope everyone finds some inspiration in these sounds, either as Brain created them or as jump-off points for creating your own custom presets. Brian remarked, "I always wonder how presets sound to others with different equipment, technique, etc. Keep in mind these were created on bass guitars with active preamps, and typically with compression at the beginning of the signal chain. Although results may vary, the basic building blocks are there to be tweaked for each person's particulars. Good Luck!"
"My love of synthesizers began in the mid 70's," Brian told us in an email. "I was a new bassist (some guitar too) and I walked into a local music store and heard the most amazing sound. It was a fat analog bass coming out of a Minimoog. I knew right there that this was something I wanted to have in my arsenal. I couldn't afford a synth until later, but when I could I learned analog/digital, FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesis, LA (Linear Arithmetic) synthesis, wavetable, synthesis, sampling, etc. To this day I feel any modern musician - especially bassists - who don't understand and incorporate basic synthesis are missing an important skill set. However it's not always desirable or practical to bring a full synth rig to every stage. This why a versatile and innovative, compact device such as the Source Audio C4 is a great tool.
"80's Bass" - C4 Synth
At last count, TheHook's "80's Bass" preset had more than 165 Likes in the Neuro Editor. This relatively basic, yet infinitely useful preset has a punch that cuts through any mix and defines the 80's synth pop movement. "When I create presets I rarely go for an exact copy of a particular sound or song," said Brain. "I prefer to put my own spin on it. I often create a basic preset that is more 'in the style.' This is evident in one of my early patches, 80's Bass. It covers a lot of ground and is a great starting point to create variations." This preset has indeed been a starting point for many great C4 Synth presets - it is a nice combination of two sawtooth wave oscillators and two sine wave oscillators (with some FM synthesis) all set to one octave down. Brian recorded a very nice clip for the 80's Bass preset - notice how nicely the C4 tracks Brian's fretless bass.
"Alpha Centauri" - C4 Synth
This thick rich synth combines Sine (with a touch of FM synthesis) and Square wave oscillators for a gorgeously buzzy, sci-fi vibe. It is a great preset for both bass and guitar.
"Hey Hey Filter" - C4 Synth
Just in case you aren't aware, in addition to being a great synth pedal, the C4 is also a killer envelope filter pedal. In fact any sound that you can get out of Spectrum Intelligent Filter, you can also download to the C4 Synth. Here are a couple of Brian's "filter only" presets. "Whoow Filter" is a super-funky, tongue filter. "Hey Hey Filter" combines a Peak, Notch Low-Pass Filter with a Triple Peak filter for a super funky tone.
"DBX 11" - C4 Synth
A very 80's sound indeed. "The DXB-11 preset is an FM synthesis style bass and the incarnation of a patch I originally created with my old Yamaha DX-11 keyboard," said Brian. We love to bouncy nature and fast attack of this preset. Plus it's always nice to add a little FM synthesis to a sine wave oscillator.
"Maximilian" - C4 Synth
This is a thick double octave synth bass to fill the room. It was named for my first Great Pyrenees dog who had a deep bark that could shake the windows.
We've got one more "Maximilian" clip for you. We recently used the preset for a Star Wars Day post we made on the Source Audio Instagram page. Mmmmm, that preset sounds Epic!!!
"Goliath" - C4 Synth
"Goliath is a big and powerful synth bass preset," says Brian. "It's part of my never ending quest for earth shaking low end. Like many of my patches, it can lead to some great variations opening the filters, changing resonance etc." This fuzzy monster features a combination of sine, square, and sawtooth oscillators running into a heavy Foldover distortion and a pair of low-pass filters.
"DFunky Talker" & "Toothy Twins" - C4 Synth
An excellent pair of very vowel-ly synth presets that sound equally great with guitar and bass. "I love the vocoder/talkbox effects like you hear from Bootsy Collins, Stanley Clarke, etc - the C4 gets 'hangry if I don't feed it some fun," joked Brian. "DFunky Talker is a great example of my affinity for filters. I created the pseudo 'talkbox' effect with some saw wave oscillators and pitch shifting voices feeding into a Peak, Notch, Peak and a 6-Pole Low-pass filter ."
"Toothy Twins is a nod to those fat analog synths utilizing sawtooth waveforms," said Brian, "adding Sine waves as a "sub-oscillator" to thicken it."
"Soft Strings" - C4 Synth
A beautiful pseudo-strings patch from The Hook.
"Droid Pulsar" - C4 Synth
This is a staff pick here at Source Audio. We love the dual sequencer riffs and the Brian's combination of Saw and Square wave oscillators sound deep and rich.
"Spacedock" - C4 Synth
Something about the C4 just screams, "Sci-Fi Soundtrack." This is another great example of Brian taking advantage of the C4's dual sequencers combined with Fixed Interval pitch shifting to basically create an entire groove around a single note. Notice how dialing different settings in Envelopes 1 & 2 causes certain notes to bloom later that others, creating a rich bed of chords.
"Royals" - C4 Synth
A grand and majestic preset indeed. Royals combines a Saw wave oscillator with several clean signals directed directly to a pair of Bandpass filters.
"Saturday Cinema" - C4 Synth
Dr. X will build a creature at the Science Fiction Double Feature!!! This preset has some great cheap n' cheesy sci-fi tones for you. Combining square and saw wave oscillators at many octaves really gives this preset a wide and thick presence that works great with a melodic bass line.
As a bassist, distortion is not something I use frequently," says Brian. "I use it mostly for an occasional solo or just to add some color when it is appropriate for the material. I have the Source Audio AfterShock which I thought would be all I ever needed to cover OD/Fuzz/Distortion (yes, it's awesome too). Then enters Ultrawave, another ingenious device from Source Audio. It allows for creation of standard and multiband distortion but adds the extra level of highly variable LFO's ."
"The Heavy" - Ultrawave Bass
"Combining fuzz and tremolo is evident in this patch," says Brian. "The Heavy is very much like a setting I use with my Aftershock, but with subtle LFO motion imbedded in it."
"Distant Pulsar" - Ultrawave Bass
A wonderful example of the Ultrawave Morphing feature. Distant Pulsar uses and LFO to bounce back and forth between a Clean Drive and a Foldback Distortion.
"Ultra-Hooked": Ultrawave Bass
"This patch I was still working on and tweaking when I powered it up with and octave divider running into the Source Audio Lunar Phaser in Quad-chorus mode," says Brian. I"t sounds good on it's own, but devastating with those effects running into it!"
"Saturn's Rings": Ultrawave Bass
Another cool preset that uses the Morph Function. This one bounces back and forth between two Octave Drive effects. If you listen closely you can hear the LFO speeding up and slowing down - that is because the LFO Rate is assigned to the Envelope Generator. Nice work, Brian.
"Funktortion" - Ultrawave Bass
Funk in outer space!! We love the synth-y sound of this preset. That is a result of the Octave Foldback Distortion.
"Cello-ish": Ultrawave Bass
"Cello-ish was inspired by my daughter who plays the cello," says Brian. "She is fascinated by the effects I use and hopes to eventually get an electric cello and her own effects." We feel the need to apologize to Brian for this clip, but the massive fuzz of his Cello-ish preset just screamed "epic classic rock riff!"
We need to throw out a huge THANKS to Brian for working with us on this Artist Feature. We have loved his presets for a long time so it was great fun for us to deep-dive into the many sounds of THE HOOK! Keep in mind, this is just a small sample of what Brian has done with our gear - we highly recommend diving into his ever expanding preset library - you will be rewarded!
We're always on the look-out for the next Featured Neuro Artist, so keep on creating and publishing those presets with embedded sound clips! See you next time.
YOU TOO CAN BE A FEATURED NEURO ARTIST!!
Every month we feature an extraordinary Neuro preset creator. If we choose you as a Featured Neuro Artist, you will win a Source Audio One Series pedal of your choice. All you need to do to be eligible is publish cool presets with accompanying YouTube or SoundCloud links of the preset in action. Show us your presets!!