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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