Bass and Kick EQ'ing!

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Creativemind
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Post 04 Nov 2018

Noplan wrote:
04 Nov 2018
Nothing wrong with reverb on your bass
if you want clarity in your mix, then reverb on the bass is not the best decision.
But the bass sounded good without but with reverb sounded way better (in my opinion), so without, I'd have changed the patch, with it, a keeper.



It gets louder with the reverb added too. Not sure why as all settings (apart from reverb added to the second track in the example above are the same). I'll include a pic of the reverb I'm using,
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:reason:

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Creativemind
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Post 04 Nov 2018

selig wrote:
04 Nov 2018
Creativemind wrote:
Were you talking in this thread or privately Selig?
I just mean that if you ask theoretical questions you get theoretical answers. But if you play a song for us and tell us you’re not happy with something, we can all give you very specific and useful answers.

The beauty of that approach is that we will all give different answers, and you may pick and choose from them to find the solutions that work best for you.

I learned a lot from assisting and watching many different engineers when I first started out. I found that each approach was valid and often gave different results. I was able then to pick and choose from all options I saw and come up with the techniques I use today (and still add to them by reading responses here and elsewhere).



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So what's the best way of sharing my track via video to this thread?

I was thinking Bandicam but then bandicam may or may not record in decent enough audio quality to help y'all hear things professionally enough. I thought - VLC Player screen capture but not sure. Shall I just send you the Reason song file and you could post a video of the adjustments you make to this thread?
:reason:

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selig
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Post 04 Nov 2018

Creativemind wrote:
04 Nov 2018

So what's the best way of sharing my track via video to this thread?

I was thinking Bandicam but then bandicam may or may not record in decent enough audio quality to help y'all hear things professionally enough. I thought - VLC Player screen capture but not sure. Shall I just send you the Reason song file and you could post a video of the adjustments you make to this thread?
Reason file would be best, especially if you're not using any REs (or using popular REs). That way you can get the files back and see exactly what each person did. Sometimes it's easier to show than to tell.
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Creativemind
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Post 04 Nov 2018

selig wrote:
04 Nov 2018
Creativemind wrote:
04 Nov 2018

So what's the best way of sharing my track via video to this thread?

I was thinking Bandicam but then bandicam may or may not record in decent enough audio quality to help y'all hear things professionally enough. I thought - VLC Player screen capture but not sure. Shall I just send you the Reason song file and you could post a video of the adjustments you make to this thread?
Reason file would be best, especially if you're not using any REs (or using popular REs). That way you can get the files back and see exactly what each person did. Sometimes it's easier to show than to tell.
I'm using Synapse FatSpace and TDR Nova (free EQ) but TDR Nova isn't really doing anything another EQ couldn't so if you have those?
:reason:

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jam-s
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Post 04 Nov 2018

Creativemind wrote:
04 Nov 2018
So what's the technical scientific thing that's happening when you invert phsse the bass then?

I wouldn't mind a video explaining what you described above as I only half understood it or if you could find a clip online that describes what you were saying.
Scientifically phase inversion can help to turn destructive interference into constructive interference:



It's some very basic physics that you'll usually learn in high-school.
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selig
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Post 04 Nov 2018

Creativemind wrote:
Noplan wrote:
04 Nov 2018
if you want clarity in your mix, then reverb on the bass is not the best decision.
But the bass sounded good without but with reverb sounded way better (in my opinion), so without, I'd have changed the patch, with it, a keeper.



It gets louder with the reverb added too. Not sure why as all settings (apart from reverb added to the second track in the example above are the same). I'll include a pic of the reverb I'm using,
If it sounds good, it is good.

Love that reverb for making things louder without noticeably making it sound like “reverb”.

Reverb on bass can work sometimes, other times just gets messy. The more sparse a track, the bigger each sound can be, which can mean adding reverb to bass and having it sound great. More dense tracks need simpler sounds in my experience. Houses for courses.


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selig
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Post 04 Nov 2018

Creativemind wrote:
selig wrote:
04 Nov 2018

I'm using Synapse FatSpace and TDR Nova (free EQ) but TDR Nova isn't really doing anything another EQ couldn't so if you have those?
Works for me - I don’t have Nova, but you want fresh EQ ideas, right? I like to see how great I can make a track sound without adding EQ, then it just sounds even better when you start EQ’ing things!


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Timmy Crowne
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Post 04 Nov 2018

This is why spaces like this are so useful. Everybody has a different perspective and the interchange of ideas can inform the group. There are many ways to skin a cat (or potato for you PETA folks.)

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Post 05 Nov 2018

Creativemind wrote:
Works for me - I don’t have Nova, but you want fresh EQ ideas, right? I like to see how great I can make a track sound without adding EQ, then it just sounds even better when you start EQ’ing things!


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Nova is free though or should I just remove it before sending?
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Post 05 Nov 2018

Creativemind wrote: Nova is free though or should I just remove it before sending?
Keep it in. Even those that don’t have it can still open the file and it will simply be “bypassed”.


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RobC
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Post 05 Nov 2018

Meanwhile yesterday it struck my mind, that synchronizing one bass note to one kick hit, can be easier when isolating the note itself with the narrowness of one note above and below. Say, it's E2, then between 77,78 and 87,31 Hz. Unless there's some pitch bending or portamento going on, then that will be the range - still one note above the max, and below the minimum, cause it's not always perfectly tuned, so it can drift minimum +/- 50 cents.

Not saying, that the FIR filter wouldn't make heavier pre echoes and rings, but hey, it's just for setting the optimal timing, where its most dominant frequency interferes the least with the kick's sub frequencies, so it's not like we'd keep that in the end, just a reference. Thanks to the Linear Phase, it should work the same, with timing applied to the original.

But, really now, isn't there already some Plugin that would do such synchronization, probably way faster, and more accurately than we could ever do?

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Post 05 Nov 2018

selig wrote:
05 Nov 2018
Keep it in. Even those that don’t have it can still open the file and it will simply be “bypassed”.


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Brilliant. I'm at work atm. I will post you the Reason file when I'm home at 8.15pm (GMT).
:reason:

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RobC
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Post 05 Dec 2018

Today morning, I thought, after we make the sound as good as possible, we still can split both the kick and bass when they hit together into bands, and simply adjust frequencies between 20-40, 40-80, 80-160 Hz etc., so that compared to when the kick and bass don't play at the same time, it doesn't sound less powerful.

Of course, it's easier with an electro song, especially if the bass and kick loops without changing phase, whatsoever. One just renders it, cuts out the parts where they hit together, does the processing, and done.

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Post 05 Dec 2018

RobC wrote:Today morning, I thought, after we make the sound as good as possible, we still can split both the kick and bass when they hit together into bands, and simply adjust frequencies between 20-40, 40-80, 80-160 Hz etc., so that compared to when the kick and bass don't play at the same time, it doesn't sound less powerful.

Of course, it's easier with an electro song, especially if the bass and kick loops without changing phase, whatsoever. One just renders it, cuts out the parts where they hit together, does the processing, and done.
the thing I’ve noticed, and why I suggested using a cross fader, is that NO solution I’ve tried accurately gives you headroom by keeping the bass and kick out of each other’s way. Duckers aren’t precise enough (or don’t have fast enough attacks with lookahead) to prevent the attack of the bass and kick from getting through which means your peak level still goes up when they play together (somewhat defeating the purpose of ducking).

So the question must be asked, what is the goal of all of this work? IMO, you pretty much either let the kick/bass co-exist (because you choose complimentary sounds for both, right?), or you crossfade the signals (or bands) so they don’t interfere.

Ducking may give a false sense of security because in theory, it SHOULD help. But does it? Again, it depends on what you’re actually trying to do!

With all things audio, clearly defining your goals is necessary so you can tell whether or not the approach you choose is actually doing anything or not. Often the first choice won’t give you the desired results - but you won’t know that if you aren’t first clear on exactly what the desired results ARE!

Assuming the desired result is to keep kick and bass from clipping when hitting together (while still hitting hard when not), the only viable solution is to have only one of them “present” at a time (even if we’re talking milliseconds here). Note that it’s the attack that peaks the highest, so it’s not only the low frequencies that are involved (ducking the lows won’t help here).

In most cases that means the kick punches through for a very brief time while the bass ducks out. This typically only needs to actually happen for less than 100ms, but the shorter you make this ducking the more accurate it needs to be. The reason to keep is short is so you don’t notice the bass going away, due to the “masking effect”. But if the bass ducks for too long, we hear it as disappearing from the mix.

The issues: using a compressor to duck means you’ll probably miss the attack transient, thus you won’t solve the problem. Ducking only the low frequencies also means you’ll miss the attack transients, and thus won’t solve the problem.

And that’s where the crossfader approach comes in, because it will make it IMPOSSIBLE to have BOTH signals together at full (original) strength/level, even for a few milliseconds. Even at the center position they will both be slightly lower (typically -3dB, depending on the crossfade curve), which automatically offsets the increased level of them playing together. And even if there’s a millisecond or two of latency, levels are still 100% controlled. There’s literally no way for this approach to NOT work, unlike every other.

But again, FIRST you must define your goal - why are you going through the extra trouble of fixing a perceived problem that may better be addressed at the source?

And what exactly IS the problem - describe it first, and it will be MUCH easier to solve!


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minilog
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Post 06 Dec 2018

Noplan wrote:
04 Nov 2018
If you want clarity in your mix, then reverb on the bass is not the best decision.
Clarity in the mix is a result of how elements interact with each other. There are different ways to apply reverb too depending on the genre. I imagine house bass reverb to be more filtered so it doesn't mess with the percussive nature of the bass. Tech house can utilize more of a rounded reverb because the bass is so smooth and almost subliminal in that genre. The bass in techno literally could be just a processed reverberation of the kick. It depends on what you're doing in the big scheme of things.

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Post 06 Dec 2018

minilog wrote:
06 Dec 2018
Noplan wrote:
04 Nov 2018
If you want clarity in your mix, then reverb on the bass is not the best decision.
Clarity in the mix is a result of how elements interact with each other. There are different ways to apply reverb too depending on the genre. I imagine house bass reverb to be more filtered so it doesn't mess with the percussive nature of the bass. Tech house can utilize more of a rounded reverb because the bass is so smooth and almost subliminal in that genre. The bass in techno literally could be just a processed reverberation of the kick. It depends on what you're doing in the big scheme of things.
Great points - also it can be about context too. On a break down, you can "break" all sorts of rules. Bass playing by itself with reverb: how would that affect the clarity of the mix? Also, "clarity" can be overrated, as you may not want every picture you take to have every element in perfect focus.
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Post 06 Dec 2018

minilog wrote:
06 Dec 2018
Noplan wrote:
04 Nov 2018
If you want clarity in your mix, then reverb on the bass is not the best decision.
Clarity in the mix is a result of how elements interact with each other. There are different ways to apply reverb too depending on the genre. I imagine house bass reverb to be more filtered so it doesn't mess with the percussive nature of the bass. Tech house can utilize more of a rounded reverb because the bass is so smooth and almost subliminal in that genre. The bass in techno literally could be just a processed reverberation of the kick. It depends on what you're doing in the big scheme of things.
I totally agree with you. That's why I said it's just not the best decision because I think that reverb on the deep bass range has more disadvantages than advantages. And since a good mix is also perceived by contrasts, the deep bass range offers to take over the dry part. But I would not generalize that. Of course, everything depends on the song and the goal.

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Post 06 Dec 2018

Noplan wrote:
06 Dec 2018
minilog wrote:
06 Dec 2018


Clarity in the mix is a result of how elements interact with each other. There are different ways to apply reverb too depending on the genre. I imagine house bass reverb to be more filtered so it doesn't mess with the percussive nature of the bass. Tech house can utilize more of a rounded reverb because the bass is so smooth and almost subliminal in that genre. The bass in techno literally could be just a processed reverberation of the kick. It depends on what you're doing in the big scheme of things.
I totally agree with you. That's why I said it's just not the best decision because I think that reverb on the deep bass range has more disadvantages than advantages. And since a good mix is also perceived by contrasts, the deep bass range offers to take over the dry part. But I would not generalize that. Of course, everything depends on the song and the goal.
To clarify:
There's a difference IMO between saying don't add reverb to your bass instrument and saying don't add reverb to low bass frequencies. I'm only talking about adding reverb to bass instruments with my comments above - I typically roll off low bass on ALL reverbs, so that's never an issue for me (agreeing with what you're saying above).

Just trying to be sure we're on the same page here!
:)
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Post 06 Dec 2018

To clarify:
There's a difference IMO between saying don't add reverb to your bass instrument and saying don't add reverb to low bass frequencies.
yes, I took advantage of these to meanings and quickly wrote it down in my last post, just to be right. ;)

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friday
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Post 06 Dec 2018

I do a lot of house/techno tracks and did a lot of research on this specific part of production. A commen an simple way ist to use the PUMP RE on the Bass, simple and effective, if you have a deep kick arround 50-60hz you can also do a slightly low cut (6dB slope) on the bass on 45hz. It really depens on frequency and decays of the kick an bass but it is a good starting point.

Maybe someone already mentioned that, did not have the time to reat the whole thread.

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Post 06 Dec 2018

There are situations where mixing low end reverb can come in handy. Subtle reverb on a subby bass line can help fill out the groove before compression. Techno people duplicate the kick channel, send it through a fully wet reverb and process the crap out of it to get a bass element. Techno reverb bass rumbles are especially fun with an LFO subtly going to Echobode to create some sense of pitch movement over a half bar.. I guess my point is there is a place for low end reverb and it doesn't have to be detrimental to the mix granted you've got the stereo imaging all sorted out. Mid range bass with low reverb can depend on some factors like the decay of the notes and how sporadic the notes are.

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Post 06 Dec 2018

All great points - my main comment will remain the reminder to listen. Maybe there's no problem with the bass/kick. Don't automatically think you NEED to get creative unless you HEAR a problem. And as always, I strongly advocate for fixing any problem at the source when possible. If the kick and bass don't gel, it can more often be solved at the source by changing/adjusting the sample/patch, the timing, or simply the balance between the two (favoring one over the other). Or rather than ducking, just don't have the bass play when the kick plays in the first place!

Many solutions, depends on the problem (if any).

As a side note, when working with world class bass player/drummers and first recording on Pro Tools, was interesting to look at the waveforms and see that some of the best feeling grooves had the bass playing just behind the kick. That way there was no "conflict" in that range to have to "fix" in the first place. Talk about solving the problem at the source!
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Post 06 Dec 2018

selig wrote:
06 Dec 2018
As a side note, when working with world class bass player/drummers and first recording on Pro Tools, was interesting to look at the waveforms and see that some of the best feeling grooves had the bass playing just behind the kick. That way there was no "conflict" in that range to have to "fix" in the first place. Talk about solving the problem at the source!
Yes! Actually it is common in techno to have a kick on the 7th note of the scale which would have the bass element just ahead of the kick. Not only does this avoid conflict but it also creates some delicious tension. House music is a lot more melodically please though where people want the kick on the 1st or 5th note of the scale. This just ends up being a frustrating conversation because it only takes five minutes for somebody to adjust a project instead of speculating. House basslines are groovy and syncopated. Not every note is going to fall on the beat. If your bassline hits a 5th on the off beat then congrats you can tune your kick to the 5th without even having this obstacle. Maybe your bassline doesn't even hit the 5th and you're running circles in your head!

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Post 06 Dec 2018

I should also add it tremendously helps to look at the spectrum of reference tracks.

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Post 06 Dec 2018

selig wrote:
05 Dec 2018
RobC wrote:Today morning, I thought, after we make the sound as good as possible, we still can split both the kick and bass when they hit together into bands, and simply adjust frequencies between 20-40, 40-80, 80-160 Hz etc., so that compared to when the kick and bass don't play at the same time, it doesn't sound less powerful.

Of course, it's easier with an electro song, especially if the bass and kick loops without changing phase, whatsoever. One just renders it, cuts out the parts where they hit together, does the processing, and done.
the thing I’ve noticed, and why I suggested using a cross fader, is that NO solution I’ve tried accurately gives you headroom by keeping the bass and kick out of each other’s way. Duckers aren’t precise enough (or don’t have fast enough attacks with lookahead) to prevent the attack of the bass and kick from getting through which means your peak level still goes up when they play together (somewhat defeating the purpose of ducking).

So the question must be asked, what is the goal of all of this work? IMO, you pretty much either let the kick/bass co-exist (because you choose complimentary sounds for both, right?), or you crossfade the signals (or bands) so they don’t interfere.

Ducking may give a false sense of security because in theory, it SHOULD help. But does it? Again, it depends on what you’re actually trying to do!

With all things audio, clearly defining your goals is necessary so you can tell whether or not the approach you choose is actually doing anything or not. Often the first choice won’t give you the desired results - but you won’t know that if you aren’t first clear on exactly what the desired results ARE!

Assuming the desired result is to keep kick and bass from clipping when hitting together (while still hitting hard when not), the only viable solution is to have only one of them “present” at a time (even if we’re talking milliseconds here). Note that it’s the attack that peaks the highest, so it’s not only the low frequencies that are involved (ducking the lows won’t help here).

In most cases that means the kick punches through for a very brief time while the bass ducks out. This typically only needs to actually happen for less than 100ms, but the shorter you make this ducking the more accurate it needs to be. The reason to keep is short is so you don’t notice the bass going away, due to the “masking effect”. But if the bass ducks for too long, we hear it as disappearing from the mix.

The issues: using a compressor to duck means you’ll probably miss the attack transient, thus you won’t solve the problem. Ducking only the low frequencies also means you’ll miss the attack transients, and thus won’t solve the problem.

And that’s where the crossfader approach comes in, because it will make it IMPOSSIBLE to have BOTH signals together at full (original) strength/level, even for a few milliseconds. Even at the center position they will both be slightly lower (typically -3dB, depending on the crossfade curve), which automatically offsets the increased level of them playing together. And even if there’s a millisecond or two of latency, levels are still 100% controlled. There’s literally no way for this approach to NOT work, unlike every other.

But again, FIRST you must define your goal - why are you going through the extra trouble of fixing a perceived problem that may better be addressed at the source?

And what exactly IS the problem - describe it first, and it will be MUCH easier to solve!


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So, when it comes to my own music, all I want is that the kick and bass sound just as strong, whether they hit together, or not (they may have different characteristics/design).

I think, it's best to simplify this to thinking about two waveforms at first. Mostly we can invert phase, offset them, and set levels ~ we can do the whole process for any amount individual split frequency bands, too. There's only so much we can do when mixing two waveforms that hit together.

In other words, what I'm saying this time, re-designs the kick and the bass when they hit together, so their frequencies interfere as little as possible on the spectrum, thus minimizing cancellation.

After that, this kick-bass just needs to be leveled, so it sits right in the mix.

Ducking techniques (your crossfading is a good idea, btw) are something I rather would use as an effect. I don't like how ducking effects kind of weaken bass.

But yeah, generally nothing comes without sacrifices. They can be left as is, getting loud, canceling out here and there, when hit together; or the kick drowns the bass with ducking; or my method would pretty much re-design with layering methods - which is a trade-off that sacrifices transparency, and needs engineering work for each unique hit-together. So, my method would have some "engineered sound" too, but with more control over 'how it should sound' if sacrifices already need to be made.

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