mixing bass drum, deep tabla, double bass.
Old 20th November 2011
  #1
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mixing bass drum, deep tabla, double bass.

I wonder what to try. I am doing this production right now. It has a jazz bassdrum that really sings, a really deep indian tabla and double bass. Above there is guitars, piano, strings, vocals.
Well, i got all this boomy boomy low end. I started gating the bassdrum couse it really resonates and rings for about a second. I cut a bit of the main resonace of the tabla.
Now they mix better, but it lost most of the big punch it used to have with the raw signals... Mainly becouse the tabla needs so much space and really lives on its resonance with that modulated hand palm sound.
What would you do?


btw, recordings were made in a heavily basstrapped room, very dry. All good quality condensers (schöps, grove tubes, neumann)
Old 20th November 2011
  #2
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It's all about cutting frequencies that step on each other, and boosting some things to make the instrument speak.
Old 20th November 2011
  #3
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i have the feeling it all speaks in the same area....
And it sounds great live, btw.
Old 20th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrp View Post
i have the feeling it all speaks in the same area....
And it sounds great live, btw.
yes and no...(and Yes, I haven't hear it)

You can (and need) to make some choice of how to represent each instrument and make the listener believe that they are all "full range" and "natural" even knowing that in reality that isn't true.
Old 20th November 2011
  #5
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I'm sure you have applied HPF as part of your search?

Do you have access to an SPL Transient Designer either plug in or hardware? I have used this in similar situations with great results.
Old 20th November 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Now they mix better, but it lost most of the big punch it used to have with the raw signals... Mainly becouse the tabla needs so much space and really lives on its resonance with that modulated hand palm sound.
What would you do?

I recently worked on some tabla stuff with the exact same problem - double bass and kick also important in the mix

I think you are right in thinking that the 'voop' of the low tabla is The Thing that must be in the clear.

here are some of the things I did

lite saturation on the bass to bring out harmonics. The ear will follow the line of the bass by following those higher frequencies, allowing you to cut more lows.

normally I don't put reverb on kick or bass, but verb on one of the tracks while the others are bone dry can help it stand out from the others. Once I did a song with two basses. I put reverb on one bass and it was the only reverb in the entire song - worked like a charm.

playing peekaboo: If you establish the kick strong at the beginning you can hide it later, bring it back from time to time. Sleight of hand... keep the tracks moving and before people can notice something is gone, its back.

ruthlessly cut the lows on everything else in the mix, piano, guitar, snare, even more than usual

Quote:
i have the feeling it all speaks in the same area...
you can still choose which aspects to emphasize
you can 'push' an instrument a little north or south of where it actually is with the EQ

you will find a set of compromises that works - that, as Drumsound says, creates the illusion that everything is fully "there"
Old 20th November 2011
  #7
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Thank you! Those are valuable hints! I have to check with the artists, maybe i am allowed to post some of it, showing how it sounds now and how it sounds when i use your ideas.
Old 20th November 2011
  #8
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I don't usually pan deep low end instruments, but going LCR with these three instruments and some careful automation, as already suggested, may help.
Old 20th November 2011
  #9
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I think you might be surprised to find how little bottom end you can get away with on the tabla particularly, as long as something else (probably the bass) is supplying it.

Low frequencies can be "shared" between instruments, since most of the distinctive character of most sounds actually lives higher up. Even quite considerably low-cut instruments can sound rich in full in context, because our brains are fooled into attaching the general low-end in the mix to the transients.

Don't EQ in solo! You'll nearly always want to boost bottom (and top) on everything.

That changes, of course, if at any point in the music any of the instruments are heard without the others playing. In that case, you can automate some EQ.

All that said, tabla are tricky. Such a soft, complex and subtle instrument - they can have a really hard time mixed in with other percussion or drums. Unless the other players are really sensitive, you might be better off with a pair of bongoes.

As somebody said - maybe hard pan them. If the drums aren't too heavy, you could send them off to the opposite side and let the bass hold the centre. That kind of thing is fine in jazz
Old 20th November 2011
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I just mixed two ac basses and it was exactly as you guys said.
There's an awful lot of info in the top end of basses that make the personality.
Also, I used the Sonnox SuprEsser on both to squeeze some problem notes into place. Narrowest setting, about 3-4.5dB cut.
On one bass I had to add bottoms to make it sit. There you go! I wasn't expecting that was gonna happen either.
Old 20th November 2011
  #11
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Maybe put them all through a stereo bus (so you can pan individual instruments) and stick a multi-band compressor on the bus which kicks in to stop too much bass build-up. That's the most natural way to do it I can think of - the original signals are left intact until they all combine to create an ugly boom - so I'd start out there and see where I get to.

It's also going to be useful to have one fader to control the overall bass volume. Fader automation might even do it on its own without any mucking about with MBC's.
Old 20th November 2011
  #12
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that seems like an intelligent solution, although I think good to not be too heavy-handed, as for me one of the joys of mixing acoustic music, as opposed to pop; is that you actually can allow things to get a little "unbalanced" at times, to highlight the ebbs and flows of interplay between the instruments.

Multiband could be a good way to rein things in a little, while still allowing the higher frequencies to bounce around, so as to keep the dynamics and excitement. Maybe leave the higher bands inactive, or nearly so.

But I'd see what I could do with EQ before applying compression, since changing the bottom end later is going to significantly alter how the compressor behaves.
Old 20th November 2011
  #13
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Double bass can sound midrangey and still natural in the mix. So you don't have to have a lot of bass in it. (shelf is your friend)

Listen to the track and find the instrument that needs to be in the low bass area, mostly it's going to be something repetitive with longer notes. Perhaps it is your kick. Let the kick to live down there and sculpt tabla so they won't clash with hp filter and low shelves etc. When you're on the right way, the song won't loose momentum and will only work better.

If it was all wrong, you need to try it other way around. Perhaps you need just a fast hit around 150-200hz out of kick and tabla need all the low bass and sub...

Is the double bass important down there? Does it need to be loud or it's just softly filling in the harmony? If it needs to be loud, perhaps it needs to be midrangey to work well, or you don't really need all the boom from tabla...


etc etc good luck
Old 20th November 2011
  #14
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check out, Herbie Hancock, New Standards
cut on there with tablas . . .it so rich
C
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