Scandinavian electro-pop siblings The Knife have a bit of a thing for retro ‘80s sounds. The Heartbeats bass is nice and thick and makes use of detuned square waves and oscillator sync.
Listen: The Knife - Heartbeats
How to get the sound
The ’80s era Pro-53 from NI has all the features we need for the job. Set Osc A to Square and ramp, and activate the sync. Set Osc B to square and detune it a bit. We’re going to use the filter envelope to modulate Osc A’s pitch a little bit. This will create that wide sound with slight harmonic overtones. In the poly-mod section, set the Filter envelope dial to half way, and the Osc B dial to 30%. Press the Freq A button to engage the mod.
Now we need to set the filter envelope ADSR to get the shape bending in an upwards direction. Set the ADSR to A=60%, D=75%, S=75% and R=50% and hit the Inv button. Select a LPF and lower the filter cutoff a bit to make the tone less bright. Add some overdrive and compression to the mix channel and play with the frequency dial of Osc A for more subtle variations.