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Role of sub-bass in house music
Old 13th January 2012
  #1
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subliminal24's Avatar
 

Role of sub-bass in house music

Hey guys!

I'm a bit confused about the role of sub-bass in house music. For the sake of example let's say music in the Sander Van Doorn/Avicii realm and whatever lies between them

When I watch videos of those types of producers working in the studio, they often use a main bass (obviously), and then a mid-bass to kind of fill things in.

So now... where does sub-bass fit in? I know there is more mention of it with dubstep, and more minimal/tech house, but what exactly does it accomplish?

My issues with it:
1) Best way to monitor sub-bass is to watch a frequency analyzer because I can't even hear the super low frequencies - doesn't that make it super hard to mix with it?
2) What is its role on a club soundsystem? I hear big club bass comes from getting that sweet spot between 80-100hz, but sub-bass is way below that, right?
3) When I try a simple accompanying sub-bass patch in my productions, it often overpowers and steals frequencies from the main bass as well as other more complex/rich instruments (like bass-heavy pads).

So is sub-bass something I shouldn't worry too much about in more "mainstream" & progressive house?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Old 13th January 2012
  #2
._.
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I herd you can layer 2 basses, one deeper, maybe a sine, and another one on top (not a sine) and then you eq/filter both so they don't overlap too much. All other sounds that has bass content you eq/filter so they don't collide, or if they share the same spectrum they can do that, but just not at the same time.

You could try sidechaining them to whatever too.

Personally I don't see the need for anything but one solid layered bass, you could do more complex stuff though, maybe layer 3 basses?
Old 13th January 2012
  #3
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Boreal's Avatar
 

In Clubs the best range for subs is 40-50 Hertz, that's why many dubstep producers' songs are a lot of the time in a key between E and G.

However a lot of times in house where the kick is the most prominent, people put the kick hitting at around 40 or 50 and the other basses range above that.

Also, you don't always have to do heavy sidechaining to create separation. Even slight sidechaining does the trick a lot of the times.

EDIT: Removed quote.
Old 13th January 2012
  #4
._.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subliminal24 View Post
1) Best way to monitor sub-bass is to watch a frequency analyzer because I can't even hear the super low frequencies - doesn't that make it super hard to mix with it?
Yeah If you can't hear it, then there is no need for it! And probably no one wants it then (too low). The only thing you do when you put really low stuff in a song is this; you use up all the excursion of the woofers for **** you cant even hear, and when they are maxed out there is no room for anything else, such as kick.

If you lower the sub fundamental in half, the woofers needs the excursion squared (4x) to be able to produce the same spl, just so you know.

Its better if you can hear it! At least then you're not completely wasting the power of the amps/woofers in a club, because you get something back. Sound for example.
Old 13th January 2012
  #5
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kacperson's Avatar
 

sub bass in dance productions is hugely important if you want it to be played in clubs. simply,those are frequencies that have direct impact on a body,we can sense it literally
Old 13th January 2012
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ._. View Post
I herd you can layer 2 basses, one deeper, maybe a sine, and another one on top (not a sine) and then you eq/filter both so they don't overlap too much.
Equing / filtering a sine wave will just make it louder / less loud - its only one frequency - so it doesn't make any sense to do this. The concept of overlap doesn't apply here either - the idea is to use a sine wave an octave below the main bass sound - there never is any overlap if you do this.
Old 13th January 2012
  #7
._.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Branmong View Post
Equing / filtering a sine wave will just make it louder / less loud - its only one frequency - so it doesn't make any sense to do this. The concept of overlap doesn't apply here either - the idea is to use a sine wave an octave below the main bass sound - there never is any overlap if you do this.
I know sines have no overtones but other waveforms have, so then you have to filter. If you want to. It was just an example, maybe a bad one. But usually when the masters layer their ****, its not only 3 sines. So I thought it might be nice to inform about filtering and eqing the different basses that might go into a bass, no matter the waveform. He would probably have found out that sines have no ovetones pretty fast.
Old 13th January 2012
  #8
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LiveFromKyoto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boreal View Post
In Clubs the best range for subs is 40-50 Hertz, that's why many dubstep producers' songs are a lot of the time in a key between E and G.

However a lot of times in house where the kick is the most prominent, people put the kick hitting at around 40 or 50 and the other basses range above that.

Also, you don't always have to do heavy sidechaining to create separation. Even slight sidechaining does the trick a lot of the times.

EDIT: Removed quote.
Couple of questions about the low end on big systems like that:

Where are you rolling off with the low shelf for that, 30, 40?
And what type of filter, 6, 12, 24?
Is resonance there a good or a bad thing? (Ie. will a high Q make the bottom hit harder?)
Old 14th January 2012
  #9
I think using a sub bass for a house tracks only really works on stuff like this:





and that is because they're more Dubstep/DnB oriented based around the bass as opposed to the kick

usual house music usually has most of the sub frequencies already filed up by the kick

you basically need to see what you want your focus to be one, the kick or the bass
Old 14th January 2012
  #10
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ScratchNSurf's Avatar
 

Me and the artist in the studio I work for have been talking about this for a long while and it basically boils down to: do you want the bass or kick to be prominent in the low end? Some house is only about the kick down there with the bass above it, and sometimes its the opposite. Only a true master of sidechaining can have both of them be taking up sub frequencies.

Speaking of skrillex, if you listen closely, the actual low bass is usually just one note (sine wave simple 1 osc synth) under a spasmatic mid-upper bass distortioned synth with all sorts of high end info. And that sine only comes out when the kick isnt squashing the sidechain to ****

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