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teknatronik
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3rd August 2011
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Beefing up the bass

I seen the threads pertaining to this and they are not filling my needs.

I have electronic bass usually a nexus plug or sylenth plug. I have managed to accomplish a nice sounding drum kit large and solid. Now, it seems my bass lacks som umph. I have a light compressor on with an eq notch at 51 and a cut at 31 and some other cuts in the mid range and hi end.

I would like to get a fatter sounding low end bass sound. I was thinkin maybe throw a camel phat on it, but that changes the dyanmics too much. I am also leaning towards slapping a sausage fattener on it but am not sure if more compression will help. any ideas

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In general, increasing compression leads to reduced lows. I scarcely touch my lows with compression.

Best tips I can think of:

1.) Give the bass space in the arrangement/mix, LOTS of it.

2.) Compose the track in a key that is conducive to sub. I've found F sharp @ 46.25 Hz through to C @ 65.4 Hz to be the most effective range for subs' peak frequency.
I'm writing my current track in B harmonic minor key, and I chose to start with that because I found that B seems to be the most powerful hitting sub frequency to me.
If you write a track with bass centered on D sharp, you are going to struggle, as 38.89 Hz is too low to have any power (and below the range of many systems anyway), and 77.78 Hz is too high to feel much weight.

3.) Have a clean, simple waveform at this ^ range; just a simple sine/triangle... anything fancy will be less powerful.

4.) Harmonics. Use them. Above the aforementioned sub, use a second oscilator to drop a quiet triangle in at +1.5 octaves to add some 3rd harmonic.

5.) A harmonic exciter such as Waves Maxbass can be great to add higher harmonics to make the bass seem bigger & help it translate.

6.) Don't use any reverb or untidy delays on the bass. If you do, make sure it's got ALL the low freqs KILLED, otherwise it's going to phase-cancel the power away.

7.) remember- less is more... the MOST powerful possible bass you could ever have- in terms of how it hits you in the chest when you are on the dancefloor at Fabric, will likely be a totally clean, unprocessed sine wave at ~62 Hz.
Anything else you add is for;
a.) Harmonics to make this bass more audible on smaller speakers.
b.) Ear candy.
... But both of these will take away from the power of the bass punch.
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Thanks for the great advice.
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all excellent tips from the Simonator.
that bass sounds fat so it's good material to shave off a little, but it's too much in the front:
cut with LPF
compress a little & lower the volume
cut the everything else except the bassdrum and the bass with a HPF (1pole filter)
put the bass in the middle only
pan the rest a bit to the sides (not much!)
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Too add on to Simonator's great tips:

For harmonics the UAD Precision Enhancer Hz is pretty awesome, if you do not have UAD there are some alternatives. Adds more defined presence, I like the UAD Precision Enhancer Hz better than the Waves MaxxBass, but unfortunately I can only use it in the studio because I do not have UAD at home.

For tape saturation, I'm on a Waves MPX tip lately. Pretty great plugin, but when it comes to live bass I use in minimal amounts. With the music I make I find the REAL deep bass sometimes coincides with the ridiculously loud kicks I tend to gravitate to. But with Breaks type of music I see a nice tape saturation plugin helpful.

Another option is a good old compressor/EQ combo set to bring up the low end while keeping the rest in check.

console emulation also works well, VCC Slate set at Brit N is pretty nice for that low end deepness, many other options available: statson, Nebula, etc etc

And finally, I never liked softsynths for bass, just doesn't have that "umph" i want right away, I usually have to chain a bunch of effect vst's to get it to sound just right, but it is doable, and done quite often by other people
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
all excellent tips from the Simonator.
that bass sounds fat so it's good material to shave off a little, but it's too much in the front:
cut with LPF
compress a little & lower the volume
cut the everything else except the bassdrum and the bass with a HPF (1pole filter)
put the bass in the middle only
pan the rest a bit to the sides (not much!)
are you saying that it sits to high in the mix? that I need to lower the volume to achieve a louder sound? If sdo I completly understand and was actually going to do this. I am tryn as we speak and when I do this the rest sounds much better but then it seems I am missing the sub from the sound or I am just unable to hear it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
In general, increasing compression leads to reduced lows. I scarcely touch my lows with compression.

Best tips I can think of:

1.) Give the bass space in the arrangement/mix, LOTS of it.

2.) Compose the track in a key that is conducive to sub. I've found F sharp @ 46.25 Hz through to C @ 65.4 Hz to be the most effective range for subs' peak frequency.
I'm writing my current track in B harmonic minor key, and I chose to start with that because I found that B seems to be the most powerful hitting sub frequency to me.
If you write a track with bass centered on D sharp, you are going to struggle, as 38.89 Hz is too low to have any power (and below the range of many systems anyway), and 77.78 Hz is too high to feel much weight.

3.) Have a clean, simple waveform at this ^ range; just a simple sine/triangle... anything fancy will be less powerful.

4.) Harmonics. Use them. Above the aforementioned sub, use a second oscilator to drop a quiet triangle in at +1.5 octaves to add some 3rd harmonic.

5.) A harmonic exciter such as Waves Maxbass can be great to add higher harmonics to make the bass seem bigger & help it translate.

6.) Don't use any reverb or untidy delays on the bass. If you do, make sure it's got ALL the low freqs KILLED, otherwise it's going to phase-cancel the power away.

7.) remember- less is more... the MOST powerful possible bass you could ever have- in terms of how it hits you in the chest when you are on the dancefloor at Fabric, will likely be a totally clean, unprocessed sine wave at ~62 Hz.
Anything else you add is for;
a.) Harmonics to make this bass more audible on smaller speakers.
b.) Ear candy.
... But both of these will take away from the power of the bass punch.

thanks for these tips!! I'm having a bit of confusion as well in regards to whether or not to add a sub bass line... for instance, my kick hits at G 49hz, and my bass line floats around between 49hz and 68hz.. which sorta alternates between G and C... I've found hi passing at 55hz on the bass gave enough space for the kick... Is there really any room for a sub bass, or will that just muddy up the low end?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teknatronik View Post
are you saying that it sits to high in the mix? that I need to lower the volume to achieve a louder sound? If sdo I completly understand and was actually going to do this. I am tryn as we speak and when I do this the rest sounds much better but then it seems I am missing the sub from the sound or I am just unable to hear it.
It's competing with the lead, both in frequency and volume. what you want is more seperation not more loudness (it's got that already). clear difference between low (bass & bassdrum) and the rest. this will make your ears hear the bass much better, and if you cut the mud of the rest of the track, it'll have a little more space to breathe. You have to because in your arrangement the bass is right there where the rest is (Simonator mentioned this already)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edvedder View Post
thanks for these tips!! I'm having a bit of confusion as well in regards to whether or not to add a sub bass line... for instance, my kick hits at G 49hz, and my bass line floats around between 49hz and 68hz.. which sorta alternates between G and C... I've found hi passing at 55hz on the bass gave enough space for the kick... Is there really any room for a sub bass, or will that just muddy up the low end?
49 Hz IS sub-bass. You certainly don't need an octave below that as 24 Hz is scarcely audible, will eat headroom, and only gets filtered out by 99% of speakers anyway.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
49 Hz IS sub-bass. You certainly don't need an octave below that as 24 Hz is scarcely audible, will eat headroom, and only gets filtered out by 99% of speakers anyway.
I've found most of the wave alchemy kicks to lie in this area between 49-52hz.. so you're saying I would never have to use sub bass with these kicks? OR can sub bass also lie between the kicks to give the bass line some weight? I never knew if sub bass was to beef up the kick or the bass line?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edvedder View Post
I've found most of the wave alchemy kicks to lie in this area between 49-52hz.. so you're saying I would never have to use sub bass with these kicks? OR can sub bass also lie between the kicks to give the bass line some weight? I never knew if sub bass was to beef up the kick or the bass line?
Okay, now I'm confused.

You said 'my bass line floats around between 49hz and 68hz'... I'm saying that if your bass is in that range, it IS ALREADY SUB BASS... you do not need to add another octave below it.
... Nothing to do with kicks.

re Kicks... sometimes people layer sub under ACOUSTIC kicks, normally using something like Lowair/Lowender... but you certainly should not need to be doing that with Wave Alchemy kicks; WA kicks are pure perfection, and generally need little/no processing whatsoever.

PS, to answer your Q... yes, it's fine to use sub bass between kicks to bolster bass... but not if the bass is as low as yours already is.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
Okay, now I'm confused.

You said 'my bass line floats around between 49hz and 68hz'... I'm saying that if your bass is in that range, it IS ALREADY SUB BASS... you do not need to add another octave below it.
... Nothing to do with kicks.

re Kicks... sometimes people layer sub under ACOUSTIC kicks, normally using something like Lowair/Lowender... but you certainly should not need to be doing that with Wave Alchemy kicks; WA kicks are pure perfection, and generally need little/no processing whatsoever.

PS, to answer your Q... yes, it's fine to use sub bass between kicks to bolster bass... but not if the bass is as low as yours already is.
My bad, i read your reply wrong.. I thought you were referring to my kick.. ok it all makes sense.

Last edited by edvedder; 3rd August 2011 at 11:00 PM.. Reason: ..
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My bad, i read your reply wrong.. I thought you were referring to my kick.. ok it all makes sense.
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You need to check your monitoring as it is pretty easy to create a fat sounding bassline/low end - I find the trick is being able to tame the bass so it doesn't dominate everything - you have to play a balancing act - too much and the sub will drown everything out when its played in a club, too little and it will sound thin and drain the energy from the room/club - the key is good monitoring and experience in understanding just how far you can push certain frequencies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kindred View Post
You need to check your monitoring as it is pretty easy to create a fat sounding bassline/low end - I find the trick is being able to tame the bass so it doesn't dominate everything - you have to play a balancing act - too much and the sub will drown everything out when its played in a club, too little and it will sound thin and drain the energy from the room/club - the key is good monitoring and experience in understanding just how far you can push certain frequencies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teknatronik View Post
I seen the threads pertaining to this and they are not filling my needs.

I have electronic bass usually a nexus plug or sylenth plug. I have managed to accomplish a nice sounding drum kit large and solid. Now, it seems my bass lacks som umph. I have a light compressor on with an eq notch at 51 and a cut at 31 and some other cuts in the mid range and hi end.

I would like to get a fatter sounding low end bass sound. I was thinkin maybe throw a camel phat on it, but that changes the dyanmics too much. I am also leaning towards slapping a sausage fattener on it but am not sure if more compression will help. any ideas

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1. Throw away Nexus and get a decent analog mono-synth.

2. Get your envelopes right. (Much more important than you think).

3. Let the bass breathe.

4. EQ it so that bass and kick love each other.

5. Use (parallel) compression.
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For analogs or VA's :

A nice way to have more bass (Alpha Juno style + I guess some older Roland analogs also used this trick) is with a highpass filter.

It's easy if your synth has 2 full featured filters (they both need resonance) in series. First make your bass with a lowpass filter, then send it to the highpass filter.

At first I found this weird because I always learned that a highpass removes low frequencies.

But this is where resonance comes into play. This actually creates a bump a the cutoff point. If you keep the cutoff point of the high pass filter fairly low + dial in some resonance to taste, this will actualy create a bass boost!

After that, the best way to keep bass prominent in your mix is a limiter + some saturation.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pschelfh View Post
For analogs or VA's :

A nice way to have more bass (Alpha Juno style + I guess some older Roland analogs also used this trick) is with a highpass filter.

It's easy if your synth has 2 full featured filters (they both need resonance) in series. First make your bass with a lowpass filter, then send it to the highpass filter.

At first I found this weird because I always learned that a highpass removes low frequencies.

But this is where resonance comes into play. This actually creates a bump a the cutoff point. If you keep the cutoff point of the high pass filter fairly low + dial in some resonance to taste, this will actualy create a bass boost!

After that, the best way to keep bass prominent in your mix is a limiter + some saturation.

Peter.
Intriguing.

I can see how this makes sense in the context of a hardware synth. But where an EQ is available (ie, in a DAW), I guess it would be effectively the same thing to just apply an EQ boost to the desired frequency (and a cut below that if you really wanted to replicate this identically)?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
Intriguing.

I can see how this makes sense in the context of a hardware synth. But where an EQ is available (ie, in a DAW), I guess it would be effectively the same thing to just apply an EQ boost to the desired frequency (and a cut below that if you really wanted to replicate this identically)?
Ofcourse + it will be more precise with an eq.

On the other hand, if you set the highpass filter in your synth, you can save the settings in your sound. I guess this is more a tip for sound design.

Peter.

PS : I think there might also be a difference in sound if you use eq vs. analog filters.

Last edited by Pschelfh; 4th August 2011 at 01:16 PM.. Reason: Add
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
2.) Compose the track in a key that is conducive to sub. I've found F sharp @ 46.25 Hz through to C @ 65.4 Hz to be the most effective range for subs' peak frequency.
I'm writing my current track in B harmonic minor key, and I chose to start with that because I found that B seems to be the most powerful hitting sub frequency to me.
If you write a track with bass centered on D sharp, you are going to struggle, as 38.89 Hz is too low to have any power (and below the range of many systems anyway), and 77.78 Hz is too high to feel much weight.
Hmm.. I usually make my basslines in E (kick at A, 55hz). And using 2 sub-sines. One at 82.4hz and one at 41.2hz. This leads to a massive sub, just remember to roll off the "on-top" bassline at like 165hz (Also E..) or so (wherever fit).
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Originally Posted by steffensen View Post
Hmm.. I usually make my basslines in E (kick at A, 55hz). And using 2 sub-sines. One at 82.4hz and one at 41.2hz. This leads to a massive sub, just remember to roll off the "on-top" bassline at like 165hz (Also E..) or so (wherever fit).

I too used to use that E all the time... it certainly sounds heaviest on my monitors.

But, from experience, I found that it does not translate well at all;
* I found that even on some half-decent club systems (with big dedicated subs) it was too low to be reproduced.
* On most home stereo systems, you've got no hope.

... so basically, unless your audience is listening on some very good studio monitors, some decent in-ear-monitors, or in Cielo, then they probably wont be hearing your bass line.

I then went up to F Sharp as my note of choice (I somehow like this minor key too)... this was better... but still I get the same issues to an extent.

Currently, I'm focusing on the B... at present, I'm of the opinion that this is the most powerful note (hits you hardest in the chest, even if not as weighty as the lower notes), and it translates MUCH better to other systems. Also... You can resolve the b-line to the F sharp below it (perfect fifth), so that you have a hard hitting sub, that ends in a nice deep heavy note. :-)
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Originally Posted by OurDarkness View Post
1. Throw away Nexus and get a decent analog mono-synth.

2. Get your envelopes right. (Much more important than you think).

3. Let the bass breathe.

4. EQ it so that bass and kick love each other.

5. Use (parallel) compression.
no nexus is used. Not a fan of parallel compression.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
I too used to use that E all the time... it certainly sounds heaviest on my monitors.

But, from experience, I found that it does not translate well at all;
* I found that even on some half-decent club systems (with big dedicated subs) it was too low to be reproduced.
* On most home stereo systems, you've got no hope.

... so basically, unless your audience is listening on some very good studio monitors, some decent in-ear-monitors, or in Cielo, then they probably wont be hearing your bass line.

I then went up to F Sharp as my note of choice (I somehow like this minor key too)... this was better... but still I get the same issues to an extent.

Currently, I'm focusing on the B... at present, I'm of the opinion that this is the most powerful note (hits you hardest in the chest, even if not as weighty as the lower notes), and it translates MUCH better to other systems. Also... You can resolve the b-line to the F sharp below it (perfect fifth), so that you have a hard hitting sub, that ends in a nice deep heavy note. :-)
Good info! Thanks for this. I got the E from both analyzing some of my favourite songs, as well as my kicks mostly beeing at A anyway.. Then again, ive seen more tracks having their sub on B, so must be something there. I havent had the chance to hear my latest work on clubs yet, so i wouldnt know this without your info. thanks again, gonna redo some stuff now. :D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steffensen View Post
Good info! Thanks for this. I got the E from both analyzing some of my favourite songs, as well as my kicks mostly beeing at A anyway.. Then again, ive seen more tracks having their sub on B, so must be something there. I havent had the chance to hear my latest work on clubs yet, so i wouldnt know this without your info. thanks again, gonna redo some stuff now. :D

Forgot to say before... I do often still like to add a little EQ boost at around 40Hz on the master channel... REGARDLESS of what key the track is. This can dial in that extra weight to taste; you do not need to be sounding an E to have signal content at 40Hz that can get boosted by an EQ.
Now you have the best of both worlds.

As always... trust your ears & do whatever sounds good. Bear in mind that any boost here will be taking taking away potential headroom from those harder hitting freqs above.
Another thing to watch for is any 'resonances' (not a scientifically accurate word in this context... but I don't know what else to call it);
* Say if you create an EQ boost on the master at 40Hz
* Most of your bass-line hums along on an A
* Then you have an E
... even if that E is leaving the synth at the same level, the EQ will be accentuating this more than the A as it's at the same freq as the boost... so you'll get a spike in headroom.
This is an extreme example... but you can get that effect to a lesser extent with umpteen scenarios.
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Understood. I never boost really, but might do slightly on the master if needed.

Just to make sure, the kick should be in either B or F-sharp as the bass then?

(always confused if to tune kick on same note, or 7 notes apart..)

Analyzed some Pryda songs, and i havent found one kick of his that isnt peaking at G - 49hz, while his bass may be at B, or whatever really.
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Quote:
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Understood. I never boost really, but might do slightly on the master if needed.

Just to make sure, the kick should be in either B or F-sharp as the bass then?

(always confused if to tune kick on same note, or 7 notes apart..)

Analyzed some Pryda songs, and i havent found one kick of his that isnt peaking at G - 49hz, while his bass may be at B, or whatever really.
thats house to. seems most house is ick driven. I other hand make breaks where it is alot of snare and low end
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Understood. I never boost really, but might do slightly on the master if needed.

Just to make sure, the kick should be in either B or F-sharp as the bass then?

(always confused if to tune kick on same note, or 7 notes apart..)

Analyzed some Pryda songs, and i havent found one kick of his that isnt peaking at G - 49hz, while his bass may be at B, or whatever really.
Several issues here:

* The vast majority of kicks have a downward pitch sweep and technically- no fundamental and therefore don't need to be/can't be tuned (although sometimes, you can perceive one even if it isn't there... so yeah, go ahead & tune that).

* If you do have a kick with a fairly stable pitch, then yes, personally I would tune it.
Most people would say to tune it somewhere other than where the bass notes are focused, so this way you get some movement... but it all depends on what you are trying to achieve; I've released more than one track with the kick at the same fundamental as the bass line.

* How confident are you of the accuracy of your frequency analysis that you've been doing? It starts to get really tough as you get down the spectrum... so possibly those Pryda kicks might not be what your software is telling you... or they could have no fundamental at all (dropping pitch), and just are loudest at 49Hz (possibly mr Prydz is in the habit of placing an EQ boost at 49Hz on the master!), and so your analyzer is giving this result.
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Just to add to what I've already said; there is seemingly something magical about that B specifically... and I don't think it's just my room.

There was another recent, similar thread about subs... someone said their buddy had gone to a club with a serious Funktion1 system, and sequentially played sines at each frequency. He was of the opinion that the B was most powerful.

It seems to tail off really quickly; C sharp seemingly has very little sub weight to speak of.
#29
4th August 2011
Old 4th August 2011
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Decapitator from sound toys helps.

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#30
4th August 2011
Old 4th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
Decapitator from sound toys helps.

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the bundle looks great
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