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3rd March 2013
Old 3rd March 2013
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Mixing

I always have a problem mixing kick and bass, I've tried different methods and it's still not working for me. So I'm wondering what's your fav technique to get kick & bass sound great.

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At the time of writing ... there is a thread on this topic 4 posts below this one. In saying that, you will find plenty of good discussions on the topic using the search function...
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My favorite tecnique fro mixing the kick drum and bass is to use Complimetary EQ techniques. This way the 2 instruemtns stay out of the way with eachother and you can hear both loud and clear

Look into compliemtnary Eq techniques, here is somehting I wrote about this technique
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3rd March 2013
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Bass is the last instrument I deal with when mixing the music. Do you EQ/compression/whatever, then turn it all the way down to -infinity. Then slowly bring it back up and stop at the minimum volume you need to make the beat work. Done.

That tip alone will solve 95% of your bass/kick problems.
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3rd March 2013
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I usually work on the bass and kick first with all my southern hiphop and trap beats.
But typically when I'm doing R&B or more uptempo traditional style beats I may wait til much later in the process to work on bass & kick.
I think its very dependent on the style of beat and/or subgenre of hiphop your working on for that project.
Also I find that almost all of my beats need a cut around the 160hz range when I work on mastering them to make some of the bass elements cleaner. I've also found that works sometimes for other peoples beats that I end up mastering too.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildStyle View Post
Also I find that almost all of my beats need a cut around the 160hz range when I work on mastering them to make some of the bass elements cleaner.
Try mixing bass last and I suspect you won't need to make that cut in mastering. This doesn't mean never listen to the bass. You can pop it on and off as you are working because you need to always have context. But largely keep it off when mixing everything else and then bring it in full-time as the last element. Let me know how it goes
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3rd March 2013
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Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
Bass is the last instrument I deal with when mixing the music. Do you EQ/compression/whatever, then turn it all the way down to -infinity. Then slowly bring it back up and stop at the minimum volume you need to make the beat work. Done.

That tip alone will solve 95% of your bass/kick problems.
Yeah but i gotta solve the first part of the equation first EQ/compression.
I use Complimetary EQ techniques and such but still can't get the kick cut trough the mix. I tend to layer the kicks could it be one of the problem?
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3rd March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post
Complimentary EQ is a message board fallacy. It sounds great in writing, but doesn't really work in the real world.




When I'm mixing sample-based material, I often find that layered drums suffer from polarity discrepancies between the individual layers. Make sure you've got that all sorted out before you dig in to the mix, otherwise, all the eq and compression in the world ain't gonna do shit.
Okay, so the question is what works then?

Note taken.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unkown View Post
Yeah but i gotta solve the first part of the equation first EQ/compression.
I use Complimetary EQ techniques and such but still can't get the kick cut trough the mix. I tend to layer the kicks could it be one of the problem?
I think my point is that your problem is more with other elements than the bassline itself. Basslines are pretty simple. It's like you are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Instead of trying to make that peg square, make the hole round. By mixing everything else without the bass, you will get everything else working much better. Then when you bring in the bass, it will fit much better.

When I compress synth basslines, IF I compress them at all, it's usually LA2A or an opto compressor at 4:1 medium attack/release. EQ I typically only using a low shelf (really low, like 35ish Hz) and a high shelf (anywhere from 4k to 10k). I pretty much only use bell curves on live electric bass (and even then, usually just to fix a problem that shouldn't be there in the first place). No point in doing surgery if your patient isn't even sick!
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3rd March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unkown View Post
I always have a problem mixing kick and bass, I've tried different methods and it's still not working for me. So I'm wondering what's your fav technique to get kick & bass sound great.

Ps.
I got Adam a5x monitors with sub
good use of EQ and LP & HP filters can help
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
I think my point is that your problem is more with other elements than the bassline itself. Basslines are pretty simple. It's like you are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
My point exactly
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Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
I think my point is that your problem is more with other elements than the bassline itself. Basslines are pretty simple. It's like you are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Instead of trying to make that peg square, make the hole round. By mixing everything else without the bass, you will get everything else working much better. Then when you bring in the bass, it will fit much better.

When I compress synth basslines, IF I compress them at all, it's usually LA2A or an opto compressor at 4:1 medium attack/release. EQ I typically only using a low shelf (really low, like 35ish Hz) and a high shelf (anywhere from 4k to 10k). I pretty much only use bell curves on live electric bass (and even then, usually just to fix a problem that shouldn't be there in the first place). No point in doing surgery if your patient isn't even sick!
Yeah I get you. Build up the harmony first then incorporate the bass and tweak it from there if needed.

I'm starting to think that It isn't much about the technique itself but how the actual sound fits in the equation.

Thanks again Chris!
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I'm starting to think that It isn't much about the technique itself but how the actual sound fits in the equation.
Bingo!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
When I compress synth basslines, IF I compress them at all
GOSPEL, young eng take note. IF HE USES ANYWAY AT ALL???!!!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unkown View Post
So I'm wondering what's your fav technique to get kick & bass sound great.
A great kick and bass. That sounds cheeky but it is the truth! Anything else I do is try and compensate for the fact that the kick and or bass are not what they should be. In fact, the same can be said for almost any sound.

By "great" I mean that they have the tonality and frequency content as well as dynamics that are appropriate for the track and what they need to do in the track.
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Chris nailed it.

Get everything workin together and add in bass last. My trick is to put it a few dB too loud, find the clashing frequencies, cut them as needed, lower the bass to nothing, slowly bring it up until it is more felt than heard. If you are noticing it, it is too loud.

I think so many people want to start with the bass and end up with a mix that has no room for anything else. I struggled with this for a long time until I realized in all the songs I listen to the bass is much softer than I expected. This kinda clued me in.
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3rd March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
Try mixing bass last and I suspect you won't need to make that cut in mastering. This doesn't mean never listen to the bass. You can pop it on and off as you are working because you need to always have context. But largely keep it off when mixing everything else and then bring it in full-time as the last element. Let me know how it goes
I used to do it like that on just about every beat. I could never hang with the big boys like that. :(
The Southern hiphop I typically make these days demands a different style of mixing to stay competitive in loudness while at the same time ignoring some of the so called arrangement limitations that people in this thread keep bringing up.

After years of frustration, I realized that not everything can be done in the mix before mastering. I think many folks don't realize the influence that mastering stage now has over hiphop & its subgenres.

But with that said, I've found side-chaining and automation in the mix has made it possible for me to finish beats today that I would have had to either "dumbed" down by changing the arrangement or just completely trashed in the past.
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Originally Posted by WildStyle View Post
After years of frustration, I realized that not everything can be done in the mix before mastering. I think many folks don't realize the influence that mastering stage now has over hiphop & its subgenres.
I have to respectfully disagree. IMO, a perfect mix should not need any processing at the mastering stage. I would slightly alter your statement by saying that not everything can be done without processing on the master bus but I would personally never leave that up to the mastering engineer. In fact, I would never leave anything that is critical in terms of the tonality and "sound" of the record up to the mastering engineer. I want my masters to come back sounding as close to my mix and ref master as possible, Any differences should be confined to the subtle characteristics that amazing analog gear can add and maybe a couple extra db.

After all, you have MUCH more control at the mix stage and the ME has not been part of the creation process and has no way of understanding the vision of the record/album beyond what you send him.
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4th March 2013
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Originally Posted by Full Clip Audio View Post
I have to respectfully disagree. IMO, a perfect mix should not need any processing at the mastering stage. I would slightly alter your statement by saying that not everything can be done without processing on the master bus but I would personally never leave that up to the mastering engineer. In fact, I would never leave anything that is critical in terms of the tonality and "sound" of the record up to the mastering engineer. I want my masters to come back sounding as close to my mix and ref master as possible, Any differences should be confined to the subtle characteristics that amazing analog gear can add and maybe a couple extra db.

After all, you have MUCH more control at the mix stage and the ME has not been part of the creation process and has no way of understanding the vision of the record/album beyond what you send him.
I am my mastering engineer.
And it seems that most modern mastering engineers are given to the responsibility of making these tracks competitive in the loudness wars as well as doing their best to improve the track.
After compressing, limiting, and maximizing all these tracks, I don't think its out of the realm that they probably have to make a few cuts to bring frequencies back in to balance that weren't an issue until the process began.
And loudness is a factor in modern hiphop as much as we may hate to admit it.
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Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post
With all due respect, how can someone who is his own mastering engineer have any sense of the way most modern mastering engineers work, and what their responsibilities are in a commercial context? I'm not trying to bust your balls, I'm just curious as to how much experience you have with commercial record making (in particular, for record labels).

Loudness is determined by the mix. When you're making a record destined for commercial airplay, or some other market that requires loudness, you make the record loud from the get-go. Loud tracking. Loud arrangements. Loud mixes. When I complete a mix, I typically print a version with about 2-3dB limiting and a -0.2dbfs output ceiling to send out to clients as a reference. A mastering engineer *might* squeeze another two or three dB of perceived loudness out of one of my "loud" mixes.



This does happen to a degree, with inadequate mixes. But most pros (certainly the household names you all know and we all look up to) are delivering mixes that sound more or less just like the record.

This need for MEs to compensate for the damage they've done by making a mix over-loud is precisely the reason we deliver them records that are mixed loud in the first place. We don't have to worry as much about the ME throwing the kitchen sink at a tune and ruining the balance we struggled to achieve; the one approved of by the mixer, the producer, the band, the A&R, and so forth.
TRUTH!!!
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I dont mix loud at all My mixes peek at -3 dBFS and my RMS are -6 dBFS. I do rely on mastering engineer for the overall final loudness cause he has the proper equipment to do so. I dont know what people consider loud tho
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I dont mix loud at all My mixes peek at -3 dBFS and my RMS are -6 dBFS.
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lol im being honest, I gain stage to perfection like Bob Owsinski, I mean yall do know you have to give the masterng eng some room? Have yall read books by Bob Katz?? If you mixed the same song loud & quiet whats the difference if its going to mastering???? There both gonna be RMS -10 to -8 and Limit at -0.02 and a crest factor of proly like 3 or 4 if we talkin bout hip hop? so whats the real difference?
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Your mixes do not have to be LOUD *IF & ONLY IF* you have plans on the mix being mastered anyway. Plus gain staging is important. I got a question I ask all producers & engineers? If the standard professional recording level to record at is -18 dBFS why & when did this become a bad level to mix at??????

Video On Gain Staging
Proper Recording Levels

(there is something to be set why the levels from infinity 0 and -14 are green!)
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lol im being honest, I gain stage to perfection like Bob Owsinski, I mean yall do know you have to give the masterng eng some room?
I'm not sure if you understand how ridiculously "loud" -6 rms is.

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Have yall read books by Bob Katz??
I have not.


Quote:
If you mixed the same song loud & quiet whats the difference if its going to mastering????
The difference is that mixing your track loud to begin with using small amounts of compression and or saturation is completely different than trying to smash the two track at the end.

Quote:
There both gonna be RMS -10 to -8
You just said that you mix your tracks to -6.
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Mixing Levels of the Pro's

-Benny Faccone 14 time Grammy Award winner (Mixing Engineers Handbook) discussing mix levels & gain staging..."I ussaly start with bass -6 and the kick bout -5. The combination of the two should, if its right should hit round -3. By the time the whole song is put together I would have used my computer to, I'VE TRIMMED EVERYTHING BACK SOMEWHAT.

-Don Smith (Rolling Stones)..."I'll start with bass & kick at (-7 VU) [thats not -7dBFS guys] By the time you put the total mix is +3 anyway. AT LEAST IF YOU START THAT LOW (meaning -7VU) YOU HAVE SOME ROOM."

-Ed Seally (Multi Grammy Award Winner)..."Usually a place to start is with the kick drum at -6 or -7. Then I'll try to get a bass line level comparable to that. Thats kind of a good starting place for me"

So as your see these guys mixing level are not that loud the peak around -3 some -6 when their mix is done.
(Dont argue with me, Im nobody, argue with the Pro's wit these Grammy's)
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Originally Posted by Jaynm26 View Post
Your mixes do not have to be LOUD *IF & ONLY IF* you have plans on the mix being mastered anyway.
We should clarify a few things here. Mastering does require headroom so the PEAK level needs to be set accordingly. On the other hand, the RMS that the track comfortably sits at is a function of the mix rather than mastering. If you try and squeeze a lot of RMS out of a track at the mastering stage you will drastically change your mix.

If you want to end up with a loud master, you have to mix with that in mind from the start!

Quote:
Plus gain staging is important. I got a question I ask all producers & engineers? If the standard professional recording level to record at is -18 dBFS why & when did this become a bad level to mix at??????
Well to start, tracking has noting to do with mixing in this regard. When you say "mix at" what do you mean? You mean the track should peak at -18? That doesn't make any sense.
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Men can admit when there wrong, I'm thinking & saying two different things lol

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Originally Posted by Jaynm26 View Post
Mixing Levels of the Pro's

-Benny Faccone 14 time Grammy Award winner (Mixing Engineers Handbook) discussing mix levels & gain staging..."I ussaly start with bass -6 and the kick bout -5. The combination of the two should, if its right should hit round -3. By the time the whole song is put together I would have used my computer to, I'VE TRIMMED EVERYTHING BACK SOMEWHAT.

-Don Smith (Rolling Stones) I'll start with bass & kick at (-7 VU) [thats not -7dBFS guys] By the time you put the total mix is +3 anyway. AT LEAST IF YOU START THAT LOW (meaning -7VU) YOU HAVE SOME ROOM.

-Ed Seally (Multi Grammy Award Winner) Usually a place to start is with the kick drum at -6 or -7. Then I'll try to get a bass line level comparable to that. Thats kind of a good starting place for me

So as your see these guys mixing level are not that loud the peak around -3 some -6 when their mix is done.
(Dont argue with me, Im nobody, argue with the Pro's wit these Grammy's)
I know you are well meaning but I think you may be a bit confused about some of this. We are talking about mixing "loud" in terms of RMS.
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Peak levels & RMS levels are different my peaks are -3 and my RMS are -6 in scaling and meters are dBFS not speaking of VU speaking in the box.
I am fully comfortable with the difference between the two. -6 RMS is incredibly hot!
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