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how to EQ bass in hiphop to get that clear and strong feel
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Straight
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5th June 2008
Old 5th June 2008
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how to EQ bass in hiphop to get that clear and strong feel

I want to create that strong and CLEAR bass in my beats but I haven't been really able to do it.

I tried to cut my kick where I boost my bass and vice versa, but I couldn't figure out which freq should I boost on my bass because it plays a melody, and it's dominant frequency changes as the melody goes to different notes.

f.e. when it plays C, it's about 100, but when it plays G, the freq changes to about 60

so which one should I boost?

it's my choose to choose where to boost/cut kick's and bass's, or it should depend on the character of the actual samples?

thank you
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5th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Straight View Post
I want to create that strong and CLEAR bass in my beats but I haven't been really able to do it.

I tried to cut my kick where I boost my bass and vice versa, but I couldn't figure out which freq should I boost on my bass because it plays a melody, and it's dominant frequency changes as the melody goes to different notes.

f.e. when it plays C, it's about 100, but when it plays G, the freq changes to about 60

so which one should I boost?

it's my choose to choose where to boost/cut kick's and bass's, or it should depend on the character of the actual samples?

thank you
HUH???
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5th June 2008
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One technique that works for me for kick/bass management in mixes is to
duck the bass under the kick. Feed the sidechain of a comp on the bass line, the kick track. Everytime the kick hits, the bass will duck under it and then be right back up in the mix.
FWIW: for every boost I do with an eq on any given track, I do about 500 cuts.
Also, a great idea is to use your ears first, analyzer second...

GOOD source material is also a big factor in how clear and full the bottom end will sound in a mix.
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5th June 2008
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Use better sounds.
Straight
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5th June 2008
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thank you guys

I'll definetely try the sidechain way, I tried that back then but now I know more about mixing than I did.

bgrotto, you mean if I use better sounds than this bass/kick thing shouldn't be a problem?
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5th June 2008
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he means, pick the right bass or kick sounds which work together in the first place, instead of 'fighting' in the mix
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5th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Straight View Post
bgrotto, you mean if I use better sounds than this bass/kick thing shouldn't be a problem?
Yes, or at the very least, be much less of a vexing problem.

The better productions I receive to mix actually require quite little in the way of EQ on the bottom end; usually just a little bump, some carefully-chosen HP filtering, and the occasional notch for uneven notes. I do a lot more manual riding of individual kick layers and hits, and some good, colorful compression.

The most important thing (along with better sounds) is good acoustics. It's pretty unlikely you're hearing the low end accurately if you're working in a bedroom. All the EQ in the world won't fix that.
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5th June 2008
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Oh, and one other thing, while I'm thinking of it:

Please make sure you're leaving a good 6dB or more of headroom when tracking and/or processing your beat.

One of the biggest problems with stuff I get to mix is that bass lines and kicks are clipped. You don't need to print tracks that hot, ever.

The second biggest problem is improper tuning of kick drums against bass lines. This is huge. If you have any kind of motion in a bass line, and some kinda 808 bangin' away in the background, make sure their in tune, and in unison. Intervals don't work here, other than the VERY occasional fifth or the even more rare fourth.

Good sounds, good acoustics, proper gain-staging, and correctly-tuned samples - There you have it; the trick to good, solid low end!

It's actually pretty simple, right?
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6th June 2008
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bgrotto what do you mean by tuning? u mean pitch?
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6th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djclueveli View Post
bgrotto what do you mean by tuning? u mean pitch?
yes
Straight
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6th June 2008
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thanks for the advices man, I never pitched my drums, should I do this by ear or use some spectrum analyzer?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Straight View Post
thanks for the advices man, I never pitched my drums, should I do this by ear or use some spectrum analyzer?
EAR.

And i think its worth it to point out that just becuase your eqing a 'bass' doesnt mean you automatically have to go boosting low frequencies.. Remember the instrument is in its essence a BASS... so you dont need to do anything to it to make it one. The idea is to BLEND IT. With subs, i usually compress a little first, then theres usually a note or frequency that sticks out as loud everytime it occurrs so i'll either cut that frequency or just ride down the volume.. Its really just about your ear finding a nice smooth balance to the bass frequencies...

Same thing with your kik...your kik should have some sort of blend of hi's and lows, not necessarily filtering out hi's JUST cause its a kik... i ADD hi's often. But again its about the blend of frequencies WITHIN the kik and how the kik BLENDS wit the bass... No trick to it just gotta train the ears..


Sidechain thing could work tho, definately worth tryin id say
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6th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filterayok View Post
Same thing with your kik...your kik should have some sort of blend of hi's and lows, not necessarily filtering out hi's JUST cause its a kik...
thank you too

yeah I did that for years, I always boosted low until I realized that a big bass boost on kicks only make them annoying and boomy

and I noticed that those "big bass" kicks on good records don't have THAT much bass in it at all, they have good midrange and high freqs too.

a lot of more experienced people also told me that it's better to cut than boost, so I'm trying to take this advice but I still don't really got the whole thing

but I try hard
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software eqs like logics can be used to cut, though better, more inmediate results I got from using an old SSL eq or (even better) filtek Mk3.
I suppose anyone has their favorites, those are mine.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
filtek Mk3.
Are Filtek and BFE the same company?

one thing I've found about those vintage european eqs, they sound
really good, even just running a signal through with flat settings...
and is relatively inexpensive compared to some of the eqs being
released now-a-days.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Straight View Post
it's better to cut than boost, so I'm trying to take this advice but I still don't really got the whole thing
by boosting eq frequencies you can increase the noise floor and create phasing issues...a lot of the time...

I find it to be a good exercise to approach all the eq in a mix with limits like cuts only.

Think of it like a puzzle: by carving out space in, say the bottom of a synthline or a guitar part, you leave more space in the mix for other instruments that sit in those lower frequencies, like bass and kick. Just for effect: try either a HPF or a LPF (instrument dependent) on every channel and carve either the low bass or far highs off completely, you'll notice a lot more room in the mix all of a sudden. Nothing like some stray subs in a vocal to subtly screw up the whole bass balance in a mix.
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6th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
by boosting eq frequencies you can increase the noise floor and create phasing issues...a lot of the time...

I find it to be a good exercise to approach all the eq in a mix with limits like cuts only.

Think of it like a puzzle: by carving out space in, say the bottom of a synthline or a guitar part, you leave more space in the mix for other instruments that sit in those lower frequencies, like bass and kick. Just for effect: try either a HPF or a LPF (instrument dependent) on every channel and carve either the low bass or far highs off completely, you'll notice a lot more room in the mix all of a sudden. Nothing like some stray subs in a vocal to subtly screw up the whole bass balance in a mix.

very interesting advice thanks.. I was never brave like that :-)
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as far as a cut/boost on kick n bass. Try to cut @ 350hz on the kick and boost on the bass with a Q of 1. bout 3 db but using your ears. see how that works for you.
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Seems to me that the actual frequency depends heavily on the fundamental of the bass instrument.

It isn't always easy to get it to sit, especially when you're doing complex stuff like using 2 bass drums (not stacked). Also sometimes you have a bass guitar you want. It may not sit perfectly and ready to go, but it is the sound you want. There is a skill to working this situation.

I was fighting like crazy last night on a bass/BD.... until I realized I was simply trying to follow too many rules.

Sometimes you have to boost, sometimes you might cut with one EQ and boost the same freq with another. Sometimes you just have to pit bull that shit and do what sounds right. BUT 1st, yes follow the basics like cutting at the same freq range where the other is dominating. Gotta know the rules before you can break em.
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2nd December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Straight View Post
thank you too

yeah I did that for years, I always boosted low until I realized that a big bass boost on kicks only make them annoying and boomy

and I noticed that those "big bass" kicks on good records don't have THAT much bass in it at all, they have good midrange and high freqs too.

a lot of more experienced people also told me that it's better to cut than boost, so I'm trying to take this advice but I still don't really got the whole thing

but I try hard
I realize this is an old thread but for anyone reading it like I am for the first time, let me add that not only is boosting bass not the first thing to do, contrary to your first instinct, but you'd be surprised how far high-pass filtering can take you.

I tend to stay around the old school/underground/new york-type hip hop, but I usually wind up with a high pass on the bass line and the kick at about 75hz and a low pass on the sub (or 808) at the same place. Sometimes, The kick and the sub get "glued" with a compressor (and camel phat sometimes) and/or the sub and bassline. The kick and bassline can be dealt with using sidechain, but I've always found that a pain, so I usually employ some other method, such as automation or in a step sequencer...if you even need to.

Someone said pick your samples correctly. That's very true.You could also use the ADSR envelope to fit them together.

And to repeat what has made the most difference to me so far. Tuning the subs properly. There are literally only one or two notes that will sound beautiful and the rest are garbage. For the longest time I was fighting with bass without realizing that simple fact. lol

I also love to carve out around 300-500 on just about everything. Just me.
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Originally Posted by profplume View Post
I also love to carve out around 300-500 on just about everything. Just me.
Me too. Even strings,guitar. But I like to boost 500-800 on real bass guitar because I love it to have a growly punch,not just lows.
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For hip hop bass I usually give a cut in the sub-100Hz region, while cutting above that on the kick slightly. Usually it's between -6 -12, nothing too extreme, the way I measure it is to turn off my speakers and solo the sub, turn it way up(can do it with speakers on but IMO its not worth the potential damage to your ear plus you don't care about the highs anyway), just listen to how the kick and bass interact, set your EQ so that the bass still has some subs but still let's the kick drum rhythm dominate. Once I'm happy I turn my speakers on.

A lot of people say cut some lows out of the kick but that's subjective, some kicks need it, others disappear with the same treatment. Remember there are no rules only your ear can tell you what's right.

Finally to make sure your bass doesn't kill the midrange I usually put a major bell cut in the 400-800 region. Also usually cut above 2-3k, leaving a band of energy between 800-2k for a little high end definition; again this is subjective though, I'm talking about bass lines I cut from records(which you generally want to heavily filter/saturate to drown out the melodic bits unless you got a clean bass solo rip). Bass guitar will not need such heavy handed treatment or it won't sound like a bass guitar anymore at all.
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...Usually it's between -6 -12, nothing too extreme...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Use better sounds.
end of thread.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
One technique that works for me for kick/bass management in mixes is to
duck the bass under the kick. Feed the sidechain of a comp on the bass line, the kick track. Everytime the kick hits, the bass will duck under it and then be right back up in the mix.
FWIW: for every boost I do with an eq on any given track, I do about 500 cuts.
Also, a great idea is to use your ears first, analyzer second...

GOOD source material is also a big factor in how clear and full the bottom end will sound in a mix.
I also side-chain the bass compressor to the kick quite often, but I find that it's a strong aesthetic decision and not a transparent mix tactic. On the flip-side, I often gate my bass to my kick, so that the bass jumps with my kick drum.

A clean kick / bass interaction has a lot to do with the rhythm / programming of both elements. Sometimes you need to move a kick, take it out completely, or change the rhythm of the bass, take a note out, ect...

You can also try and run the bass through your drum buss compressor to glue all that shit into the same layer--but again, if the rhythm/programming is off between your bass and kick then this will just accentuate the fact that it isn't already tight.
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5th December 2012
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And to repeat what has made the most difference to me so far. Tuning the subs properly. There are literally only one or two notes that will sound beautiful and the rest are garbage. For the longest time I was fighting with bass without realizing that simple fact. lol
so true
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chronmaster View Post
...A clean kick / bass interaction has a lot to do with the rhythm / programming of both elements. Sometimes you need to move a kick, take it out completely, or change the rhythm of the bass, take a note out, ect...
^this

then if you must ''duck'' try using fade-ins instead of compression on the bass, i found it gives me more control.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beat you down View Post

???
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeastmanP View Post
???
he meant that 6-12 IS extreme EQing.
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Really you would consider that extreme? I mean I only said it as a rough estimate to where you should be, like I said in post, you don't EQ by numbers you EQ by ear.
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