Happy Holidays, everybody! Say hello to Ross Hoekman, our Featured Neuro Artist for the month of December 2020! If you frequent the Neuro Editor Community tab or Talkbass you probably know this guy as "fivestringgecko," the maker of many, many killer presets for his C4 Synth and Spectrum Intelligent Filter. Ross' Source Audio enthusiasm dates back to the Soundblox 2 Manta Bass Filter. He explains, "My first Source Audio pedal was a Manta, and Will Cady’s videos totally inspired me to add a Hot Hand 3 to my setup. Not long after that, I added a Dimension Reverb and Orbital Modulator. When the One Series hit, I jumped at the chance to try out an Aftershock Bass Distortion and currently, the Source Audio C4 has really grabbed hold for me. I’d go so far as to say it’s probably my “If I Could Only Have One” pedal. Synth, envelope filter, some dirt, and a pretty convincing OC2 sounding octaver... All of my top favs in one box."
Ross is a master of the C4 Synth and Spectrum Intelligent Filter (modded with some fancy-schmancy gold & silver knobs). We love his presets inspired by bass lines from songs by Primus, Depeche Mode, Dua Lipa, and Above and Beyond. He's also created some excellent presets inspired by classic envelope filter pedals like the EHX Bassballs, Emma Discombobulator, and a groovy little pedal called the Manta Bass Filter. We highly recommend that you read-on and check out these presets. Each one sounds equally fantastic on bass or guitar (with some minor tweaks).
Like many of us, Ross' music career has been severely interrupted by the pandemic, but there is no doubt he'll get back on it as soon as things improve. Ross explains, "Normally I’d be playing around the Denver area with Groove ‘N Motion (14-piece cover band playing everything from 60’s Motown to modern pop) and Altitude 5 (5-piece 90’s cover band). I also play bass with the amazing SOAR Youth and Adult Choir made up of foster care youth/parents, sub in occasionally with 6 Million Dollar Band (80’s pop), Midnight Social (wedding/corporate events), and do other freelance/studio work as it comes my way. At the moment though, Covid has pretty much wiped out any gigs, so I’ve been trying to “get back to basics” and improve as a player."
It's time to explore Ross' presets, we've got a lot of ground to cover so grab a beverage of choice and let's get into this thing. We're going to pass the mic to Ross and let him explain the inspiration and creation process of each preset.
"Saw Envelope - 1" - C4 Synth
"I use the desktop editor pretty exclusively, and I usually spend a lot of time on a patch… like, probably an unhealthy amount. I can lose hours in the blink of an eye programming a patch and comparing with original songs, and then I’ll revisit it later when I have fresh ears to try and get them as authentic sounding as possible. I’ve even revisited a patch quite a while after uploading to the Neuro Community (like my Thriller patch below, over a year after I first uploaded!). A good amount of my patches are for cover songs since those are my main gigs, but with 2020 being a pretty tough year, I’ve also found a lot of enjoyment programming personal patches as well.
This is probably my top fav personal C4 patch on the synth side, and it never fails to turn heads. A pair of saw oscillators combined with a -1 sine oscillator for subsynth, and a dash of +1 octave for final seasoning. Bust it out for a bass solo as is, or dial down the depth (Control 1) and frequency (Control 2) and Saw Envelope -1 will also work great for some fat synth bass lines too."
"Tragedy's A Comin'" - Spectrum Intelligent Filter
"I’ve been a Primus fan and Les has been an influence on my playing for a long time, pretty much since I started playing bass. I always have a soft spot for his early work because of that, but the new stuff is pretty killer too, and Claypool’s bass sounds on the Green Naugahyde album are probably my favorite from him to date. Being an envelope filter junkie, the parallel sound of his bass and a bright Mutron-style filter on the track, Tragedy’s A Comin’ jumped out at me immediately, and I was pretty happy with the translation to the Spectrum!
"Future Nostalgia" & "Don't Start Now" - C4 Synth
"To get the most out of the Source Audio One Series, MIDI control is a must, and I use a couple of options for doing that live. I use ForScore for song charts, which lets you program in MIDI changes, so it’s pretty much all automated. Build a set list, add in a bluetooth page turner, and I don’t even really have to touch my board during a gig. Pretty slick. The other option I use is Midipad 2 , which lets me program all sorts of stuff… I can color code command buttons, program engage/bypass controls, patch presets, etc. Another very slick option that’s only a few bucks on the iOS app store.
These Dua Lipa patches are totally a guilty pleasure. I don’t currently play either song with any bands, but Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia album has some really catchy bass lines that are pretty fun to play. The Future Nostalgia patch also turned out to work almost perfectly for Bruno Mars' Locked Out Of Heaven."
"Bassballs Type 23" - C4 Synth & Spectrum Intelligent Filter
"As a total envelope filter junkie, and have always had a bit of a fascination with the Bassballs sound. I have EHX Nano and Russian versions, and later picked up Ashdowns Funk Face and Type 23. They’re all quite good, but they were just never quite there for me.
I dived in and spent a lot of time (even by my standards) trying to reverse engineer the sound on the C4, comparing directly with my Russian Bassballs and Type 23, and revisited the patch several times to make sure I had it right. The thing that makes the C4 (and Spectrum) a better Bassballs than the Bassballs is that I could make the sensitivity and drive controls much more usable. The original(s) are super sensitive and just have a drive switch, but you can tame down that sensitivity to a usable level with the C4 and still get the Bassballs sound. The amount of drive and distortion mix are also controllable, which I assigned to Control 1 and Control 2 respectively.
Easily one of my top fav personal patches on the C4, and I was able to transfer it directly over to the Spectrum as well, since it only uses two envelope filter voices."
"Canned Heat" - C4 Synth
My Canned Heat patch was kind of another happy accident. I started out with the idea of working on a synth pad patch to combine with delay and reverb for ambient sounds, but happened into a sound for the intro to Canned Heat from Jamiroquai, which we DO happen to play with G’nM. It evolved into a pretty flexible patch as well though... Use the controls for Envelope Speed (C1) and Filter Frequency (C2) for a large variety of Daft Punk/Tron type sounds, and run this patch into chorus and/or reverb to really add the icing on the cake.
"Thriller" - C4 Synth
"My Thriller patch was partly personal and partly from a request on the Talkbass forum, and turned out to be a fun one to program. I initially programmed this one pretty early in my days with the C4 (the Neuro app says 380 days ago!), but I revisited it a couple days ago and of course couldn’t help myself… I’ve learned a couple tricks with the C4 and revamped the patch. Check the Neuro Community for Thriller 2020!"
"Above & Beyond EXP" - C4 Synth
"Even before I started getting into synth bass, I’ve been a fan of electronic music, and this is one of my newest patches that’s inspired by Above & Beyond’s Tomorrowland 2018 set. The basic patch is a Saw voice for the top end and a beefy sine wave for the low frequency oomph, but using an expression pedal helps get the most out of this patch, by blending in some EDM edge with an additional Saw wave on voice two, a touch of FM on voice 3, and a little extra Q for the final seasoning."
"Piggie BEP (Revisited)" - Spectrum Intelligent Filter
"Another patch that came about as a direct result of being into envelope filters. Out of the 40+ filter pedals I’ve owned or tried, the Pigtronix EP2 (and later Bass Envelope Phaser) have remained consistently at the top of the pile. There’s something about the unique watery phasery filter sound that always kept me coming back, so getting a patch put together for this one was something I wanted to see if I could pull off. It’s not quite 100% the same (I think it’s an analogue vs. digital thing), but it’s darn close and I have it in the same box(es) with all the other sick C4/Spectrum patches. Can’t argue that."
"Just Can't Get Enough" - C4 Synth
"Depeche Mode is a pretty iconic band when you think of 80’s music, and I built this patch for the 80’s band I sit in with. The bass line is pretty simple, but it’s also featured pretty heavily in the song, so I definitely wanted to get it sounding good and I think it turned out pretty well. Good clean technique is pretty essential with thispatch, especially with the octaves in the instrumental bridge section."
"Juan's DiscumUPulator/DiscumDOWNulator" - Spectrum Intelligent Filter
"Juan’s DiscumUPulator is a small tribute to Juan Alderete, after his bicycle accident early this year. I’ve followed his Pedals & Effects channel on Youtube for quite a while, and always enjoyed the adventures that he and Nick Reinhart into in the crazier end of effects. I based this patch based on Juan’s demo of the Emma DiscumBOBulator, and also added a Juan’s DiscumDOWNulator patch to the Neuro community as well. It sounds like Juan still has a journey ahead of him, but he’s slowly on the comeback road. He’s influenced a lot of bass players around the world, and I wish him the best for a full recovery. I miss his videos with Nick, and hopefully we’ll see him in the spotlight again sooner rather than later! :)"
"Axel F" - C4 Synth
"I admit to being a little late to the synth bass guitar party, and Axel F has been around for a while, but it’s a pretty iconic 80’s synth jam. It’s another patch that’s totally for personal fun since I don’t play it live, but I couldn’t resist taking a whack at the pinata for this sound. Warning: This is a tricky patch, and good clean staccato technique is a MUST.
You’ll hear in the audio sample… Add some chorus after the C4 to add some final polish!"
"The Dirty Manta" - Spectrum Intelligent Filter
"Credit is due to Quatchmacher over on the Talkbass forums for the inspiration of this patch. He programmed up a sound from the Manta days and added fuzz and octave in the external loop, but I wanted to see if I could get it down without dedicating additional pedals (and pedalboard space) to the sound. The external loop feature of the One Series is a neat trick indeed, but the fact that the Spectrum can do sounds like this without it definitely says something about how much thought was put into these pedals!"
"Dirty Tron" - Spectrum Intelligent Filter
"The Dirty Tron patch is an evolution of the original Source Audio Tron patch. I love darker filter sounds, so it started by adjusting the original so it wasn’t so bright (my Dark Tron patch) and adding a little mild distortion to the sound. I also ended up with a couple down envelope sounds out of my explorations with the original Tron patch, too."
"Nuno Synth" - C4 Synth with Chorus
"A great trick for adding some authenticity to synth patches is to add combinations of Chorus, Delay and Reverb after the C4 (or in the FX loop) to really add some nice authenticity to sounds. The audio samples for Canned Heat and Axel F have dry audio and chorus added, and here’s a quick sample of what you can do with some delay and reverb."
Huge THANKS to our friend Ross Hoekman for giving all of us these amazing presets. We hope that everybody reading this was able to find a great new preset or two to incorporate in their own sound. We'll see all of you next month. If you want to jump in on the ever evolving Source Audio conversation, head over to our Facebook group: The Source Audio Neuro Collective. And thanks for being a part of the Neuro Community!!
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!!