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That smooth, fat bottom end. UAD question.
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TC5
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18th June 2008
Old 18th June 2008
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That smooth, fat bottom end. UAD question.

I'm looking desperately to achieve in my mixes that smooth, polished, fat bottom end I hear on some commercial releases and I'm hoping I can get there (or at least in the ballpark) with my newly acquired UAD Xpander box. A good example of the sound I'm after would be Erykah Badu's "Other side of the game" track. Very thick, smooth bass sound.

I'm going through different EQs and compressor combiinations see if I hit the right combo. So far I tried a combination of Pultec/ Neve 1073 and 1176/LA2A/Fairchild on bass tracks. It seems to be no matter how hard I compress it's still isn't enough or it starts to sound hard, grungy, spitty, farty etc.... I will be trying the rest of the available plugs shortly. So far the LA2A comes closest. The 1176LN kinda distorts and "farts" when pushed hard. The 1176SE doesn't seem to do that so much.

Any tips, techniques and advice welcomed. Should I do several passes of compression? Is that polished commercial sound generally achieved during mastering? EQ post or pre compression?

Thanks for any input.
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18th June 2008
Old 18th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TC5 View Post
It seems to be no matter how hard I compress it's still isn't enough or it starts to sound hard, grungy, spitty, farty etc....
without hearing the track, I'm just curious... is it compression that you are hearing that's creating the smooth, polished, fat bottom sound?

in my experience, it's a culmination of many factors.... starting with the source instrument. mastering has many times in my experience had a major effect (positive) on the end result low end.

oto
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18th June 2008
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more plugins = worse quality, in my experience. Try less compression & manual level automation, perhaps?
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18th June 2008
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I play/record bass. Seems to me that you need a good sounding bass to begin with. Been following some "how do I record bass that sounds good" posts. Most people say they use a GR, API or similar preamp into an outboard compressor to begin with. Another issue is the players technique.

So trying to fix a bad sounding instrument sound with a UAD might be an exercise in futility. I don't have a UAD, but the only way I can get the bass right in my DAW is getting it sounding right from the beginning. I can't fix it with any EQ or Comp I have.
DaveT
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18th June 2008
Old 18th June 2008
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competing with Erykah Badu in productions smoothness and depth is way over the line. these studios have so many classic analog tools they´d never give a **** about these uad paks.

its starts with the sampled instruments, and that goes by the converters, compressors, eq all down the luxury hardware river. and not at least obsessve passion and the precise technical knowledge of good engineers.
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18th June 2008
Old 18th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TC5 View Post
I'm looking desperately to achieve in my mixes that smooth, polished, fat bottom end I hear on some commercial releases and I'm hoping I can get there (or at least in the ballpark) with my newly acquired UAD Xpander box. A good example of the sound I'm after would be Erykah Badu's "Other side of the game" track. Very thick, smooth bass sound.

I'm going through different EQs and compressor combiinations see if I hit the right combo. So far I tried a combination of Pultec/ Neve 1073 and 1176/LA2A/Fairchild on bass tracks. It seems to be no matter how hard I compress it's still isn't enough or it starts to sound hard, grungy, spitty, farty etc.... I will be trying the rest of the available plugs shortly. So far the LA2A comes closest. The 1176LN kinda distorts and "farts" when pushed hard. The 1176SE doesn't seem to do that so much.

Any tips, techniques and advice welcomed. Should I do several passes of compression? Is that polished commercial sound generally achieved during mastering? EQ post or pre compression?

Thanks for any input.
I am no mixing expert, but I'll share what little advice I have to offer.

Assuming that your original tracks were recorded well, I have been getting good results on bass using an FX chain like this:

Cambridge EQ - I do a steep roll-off of everything below 30hz.

Neve 88RS - they have a "bass strip" preset that is a good place to start tweaking - I like what the internal compressor does to the bass.

SPL Transient designer - to further shape the sound as necessary (depeds on how well the original tracks were played).

These are all inserted on the track - I then direct the track to its own master bass bus and run a send (at a relatively low level) from that into another "rhythm compression bus", along with a send from my master drums bus, and insert here the Precision Bus Compressor. I slam the compressor fairly hard (making use of the low-cut filter again on the PBC) and slowly bring up the volume on this bus until I feel just the right amount of punch coming through (in relation to the master drum and bas buses). Sometimes I add another instance of the Cambridge EQ on the master bass bus if I notice any weird frequencies sticking out.

I don't know if this is the proper way to do things - I am still teaching myself how to mix - but it's working for me right now.

Also - the LA3A is supposed to be a little bette ron bass tracks than the LA2A - and the 1176 supposedly is a little thin on the bottom end, so maybe not the best choice for bass.

- Chris
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18th June 2008
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I think I know what you are talking about.
And I guess before you go an twek for 2 hours a BD I will give you my impression.

If you start a new mix and you have all faders at 0 and you even have not an impression of that this could go to get this bottom end........replace the Sounds.

I guess the mixing starts with tracking or in the DAW World with the choose of the right sounds. The rest is experience and there a people out...real cracks which have been working for studios since their 16.... do not think to come even close to their mixes...they have done the audio thing since these young days and they have it in thier blood.....

Good news you can learn to make solid mixes......
Myself I would never say my mixes are great...
I do a good job but far away from cracks like CLA etc....
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18th June 2008
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An
A
Log
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18th June 2008
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No this has nothing to do with Analog vs DAW.....
You can have a nice LOW End from a DAW too.........it is the sounds and the skills.....trust me......
Do not buy new gear because you think this will get you there it will not!!!!!

There is no magic gear......
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
No this has nothing to do with Analog vs DAW.....
You can have a nice LOW End from a DAW too.........it is the sounds and the skills.....trust me......
Do not buy new gear because you think this will get you there it will not!!!!!

There is no magic gear......
Of course, skill matters the most, but good analog gears make a HUGE difference.
#11
18th June 2008
Old 18th June 2008
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when mixing bass just be careful not start over EQing with digital processors. Use shelfs and broad swaths to shape bass, if you want it round and warm. In an untreated or undertreated room, you will have nulls and spikes in the bass. don't eq your bass instrument to compensate!!! If a particular note "booms" out at you, or another one just "disappears" your best bet is to leave it alone, because it's your room that is lying to you, and the recorded part is probably fine (unless you tracked it in that same room!). This goes double, triple when using sampled bass sounds, or analog synth bass. Use your ears for tone, but when judging volume, take a peak at your meters. Even though you hear some notes louder than others, this might just be resonance in the room. Of course, if you have a nicely tuned room, ears are all you need!

Use compression to even out bass playing, if needed, and then broad EQs to get it bassy or airy. If you want slap or fret noise, than a sharper Q can be used...just find where it sits and boost.

oh one other thing: a mastering engineer can really help you out here. send them a mix with a nicely balanced sounding bass part, and plenty of headroom. Tell them you want the bass to be "large and in charge" (well don't put it that way, theyll probably roll their eyes at you, but you get the idea) you'd be amazed at what skilled ME's can do.
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18th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h4nc0 View Post
Of course, skill matters the most, but good analog gears make a HUGE difference.
If he is not getting it right ITB he will not ever OTB........my 2 cents...but if he is having enough money to throw away....
Niv
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18th June 2008
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plugins are shit, thats a fact. you shouldn´t expect to catch the LIVING magic of physical infinity regarding sound structure in a DEAD 600kb program code including a polished vintage gui. its waste of time and lot of marketing from the mass market of plug in developers.
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Master the use of the precision plugins to dial in the tone you want.
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18th June 2008
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Maybe try a chain like this: EQ->Compressor->Limiter->EQ, Assuming the quality of your recorded bass tracks are good and tonally well-balanced to begin with...

Put the best, or at least the smoothest EQ in your chain first (linear phase would really really be a plus), and carve out the smoothest, fattest bass sound you can. Don't need to go too far with this at all - you shouldn't lose any midrange definition of the bass in the context of a full mix, and the sound should not be overly dense and 'lumpy'. Subtlety is the key.

Use the compressor to only work on the body of the sound, not the transients, i.e. use a fairly long attack time, say somewhere between 50-150ms, and use a moderate to fairly high ratio to keep the level uniform and to also define the attacks. Again, don't need to go far with this - you shouldn't need to be knocking off more than 6 or so decibels at the most.

Now set the limiter to keep the transients at bay - I frequently like to set it so that each note of the bass 'spikes' into the limiter, just to take the 'edge' off the attacks and to help the overall level stay uniform. Don't totally clamp down on the attacks - that would be defeating the object. Use a final EQ to shape the bass into your mix only if it is necessary.

What you should (hopefully) end up with is a really hot, smooth, solid and controlled punchy bass sound which totally JUMPS out of your speakers, but is yet very rich, mellow and velvetty in tone. But as always, and with everything, YMMV.

SK
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18th June 2008
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Quote:
plugins are shit, thats a fact. you shouldn´t expect to catch the LIVING magic of physical infinity regarding sound structure in a DEAD 600kb program code including a polished vintage gui. its waste of time and lot of marketing from the mass market of plug in developers.
Niv
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18th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post

truth destroys politics.
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truth destroys politics.
Mix-offs destroy bullshit. Let's rumble.
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18th June 2008
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c´mon i´m soooooo tired of that there is "no difference between plugins and physical equipment" propaganda. there is such huge difference and the earlier you accept the less time you lose on perverted "tweaking".
#20
19th June 2008
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Am I the only one who uses some chorus on the bass? Makes it sound much bigger.
Could be what your looking for. Try the Ensemble or the Dimension D on your UAD.
Small amounts of course, like 5% wet or something and rather slow modulation speed
otherwise it will sound like back in the 80´s I guess...
jba
#21
19th June 2008
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If you want a shortcut to achieve that round bass sound you desire, check out NastyLF by Bootsie. Sorry to link to another forum, but that's the only place to d/l this amazing plugin. Oh, I forgot. Plugins suck--nevermind. (PC only--sorry Justin Long fans).
#22
19th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niv View Post
plugins are shit, thats a fact. you shouldn´t expect to catch the LIVING magic of physical infinity regarding sound structure in a DEAD 600kb program code including a polished vintage gui. its waste of time and lot of marketing from the mass market of plug in developers.
It's 95% technique 5% gear, and having the right sound in the first place. UAD is very close to hardware. I'd say the average person wouldn't hear the difference.
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19th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niv View Post
plugins are shit, thats a fact. you shouldn´t expect to catch the LIVING magic of physical infinity regarding sound structure in a DEAD 600kb program code including a polished vintage gui. its waste of time and lot of marketing from the mass market of plug in developers.
Just help the geezer out, will you? Jeebus. 'Hear ye, the end of the world is nigh, woe be unto all who use plugins and verily there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth'. Christ on a bike


Anyway - as some have said, get it right from the start, and if you have thousands of pounds' worth of hardware then use it. If not then give up, now.

Seriously, you can get a nice smooth fat bottom end with UAD. Try 1073 (my fave for this), or 88RS for a more 'modern' sound. The bottom end on both is great. Although of course I'm sure you'll burn in the fiery pit (or at least be guaranteed to make a dreadful recording) if you do so. I'll see you there.
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19th June 2008
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Thanks all for the input. Lots of useful tips. I have been testing the Neve 33609 on the bass track and master bus and it sounds quite good. I think I could get there maybe with a couple of passes with this comp. I'll be testing the 88RS and others this evening. I'm testing on a track with a synth bass (Minimoog (plugin)).

I am happy with the bass tone I get recorded (Rick 4003, Fender Jazz deluxe) It's just that I have always had trouble "containing" the bottom end in the track. Basically when the speakers rumble and things rattle in the room when I play the track while commercial releases have equally loud sounding bass but it doesnt cause the frames on the walls to fall off I know I need to compress the sh*t out of the bottom in my tracks to smooth things out seriously...

And of course I would go full analog if I could but I'm strictly a laptop musician at the moment due to space and budget constraints...
TC5
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19th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otobianki74 View Post
without hearing the track, I'm just curious... is it compression that you are hearing that's creating the smooth, polished, fat bottom sound?

in my experience, it's a culmination of many factors.... starting with the source instrument. mastering has many times in my experience had a major effect (positive) on the end result low end.

oto
I'm pretty sure the answer is with EQ and compression.
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19th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niv View Post
plugins are shit, thats a fact. you shouldn´t expect to catch the LIVING magic of physical infinity regarding sound structure in a DEAD 600kb program code including a polished vintage gui. its waste of time and lot of marketing from the mass market of plug in developers.
Sometimes posts like this make me want to quit my day job, and focus on this hobby, just to shut people like you the **** up.

EDIT: BTW... Helios on a good source can get it alone.
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19th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TC5 View Post
Thanks all for the input. Lots of useful tips. I have been testing the Neve 33609 on the bass track and master bus and it sounds quite good. I think I could get there maybe with a couple of passes with this comp. I'll be testing the 88RS and others this evening. I'm testing on a track with a synth bass (Minimoog (plugin)).

I am happy with the bass tone I get recorded (Rick 4003, Fender Jazz deluxe) It's just that I have always had trouble "containing" the bottom end in the track. Basically when the speakers rumble and things rattle in the room when I play the track while commercial releases have equally loud sounding bass but it doesnt cause the frames on the walls to fall off I know I need to compress the sh*t out of the bottom in my tracks to smooth things out seriously...

You may already know this, but make sure that with standard-tuned, 4-string bass guitars you are roll off the low frequencies below 40hz - I use the steepest high pass filter in the Cambridge EQ (the Elliptical) to remove the useless rumble below 40.

- Chris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indravayu View Post
You may already know this, but make sure that with standard-tuned, 4-string bass guitars you are roll off the low frequencies below 40hz - I use the steepest high pass filter in the Cambridge EQ (the Elliptical) to remove the useless rumble below 40.

- Chris
Yes I do roll off around that frequency when needed.
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19th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TC5 View Post
Thanks all for the input. Lots of useful tips. I have been testing the Neve 33609 on the bass track and master bus and it sounds quite good. I think I could get there maybe with a couple of passes with this comp. I'll be testing the 88RS and others this evening. I'm testing on a track with a synth bass (Minimoog (plugin)).

I am happy with the bass tone I get recorded (Rick 4003, Fender Jazz deluxe) It's just that I have always had trouble "containing" the bottom end in the track. Basically when the speakers rumble and things rattle in the room when I play the track while commercial releases have equally loud sounding bass but it doesnt cause the frames on the walls to fall off I know I need to compress the sh*t out of the bottom in my tracks to smooth things out seriously...

And of course I would go full analog if I could but I'm strictly a laptop musician at the moment due to space and budget constraints...

if your speakers "rumble" its because of your instrument
get a fantastic instrument if you want that PRO sound
there is no magic in it
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