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Compress Kick and Bass together? Multi-Ef­fects Plugins
Old 18th November 2009
  #1
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Compress Kick and Bass together?

I've been in the audio production world for quite some time now, and am well-versed in many areas however, the low end frequencies of my mixes are always a struggle. The kick and bass tracks never seem to fit perfectly and I always have trouble taming resonating frequencies. It's not a problem with space; I always sidechain the 20hz-400hz range on top of carving opposing space, cutting room in the bass track for my subby kick. I've just recently started compressing my kick and bass together with encouraging, although ultimatly lackluster, results. Am I right to compress them together, or should I compress them separately.
My stuff is electro-house, four on the floor, with a heavy kick as the foundation, and a bpm of usually 128. Any recommendations? Perhaps I'm looking for gain pumping? I'm not sure.

Thanks a billions

p.s. I can foresee a bunch of people falling back on the old "there's no correct answer" and "all mixes are different". Also, I'm fully aware of room accustics and monitors being key to frequency balance. And yes, I have searched the boards.
Old 18th November 2009
  #2
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There is no reason to compress them together. Doing it you are minimizing the possibilities of getting the sound you want.

It is a good idea keep bass and kick in mono to avoid phase canceling.

Just hear properly what you are doing with a good converter, monitoring, and acoustics mainly.

After that you can improve your skills.
Old 18th November 2009
  #3
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I've had brilliant results using a drum 'n' bass buss in the past, but then again, I've had great results not using one, I guess whatever the sound calls for. Maybe its more a balance & eq issue that you need to address (monitoring room DAC etc). But yeah, keep the bass and kick mono - I'd solo the sides too just to double check your not getting any leakage (something like brainworx solo..).
Old 19th November 2009
  #4
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Thanks for the reply guys. I've never tried this technique. When you say mono the bass, do you mean the whole frequency range, or just the lower spectrum (mono the low band on a multi-band compressor)? Maybe process them with a linear phase eq?
Old 19th November 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanclay View Post
Thanks for the reply guys. I've never tried this technique. When you say mono the bass, do you mean the whole frequency range, or just the lower spectrum (mono the low band on a multi-band compressor)? Maybe process them with a linear phase eq?

A LP EQ might be a bit ott for a mix but could definitely work. By mono bass, keep everything below maybe, 150hz and below mono. You could use a MS EQ and hpf the sides, or an MS encoder/decoder with side on 1 stereo track and the mid on another (be careful of phase issues from plug delay..) or even just completely drop the sides, but you might lose some space / ambiance around the kick / bass. You could just use an elliptical eq like brainworx etc.
Old 19th November 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanclay View Post
Thanks for the reply guys. I've never tried this technique. When you say mono the bass, do you mean the whole frequency range, or just the lower spectrum (mono the low band on a multi-band compressor)? Maybe process them with a linear phase eq?
If you are using wav or aiff samples the kick will probably be recorded in mono already.

I use to make everything mono (whole freq rage), but you can make just the lows aswell with a multiband stereo plugin (like izotope ozone for exemple). You can use M/S plugin or a stereo image plugin probably too, and make the sound more mono with enough ajustments to dont cancel the sound of the kick with the sound of the bass. ps.: I never tried it.

I just use a mono plugin equalizer. It will equalize and make it mono at the same time.
Old 19th November 2009
  #7
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What about using compression on the bass to level those resonating frequencies. I understand using a parametric eq might be the way to go, but would compression help or hurt?
Old 19th November 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanclay View Post
What about using compression on the bass to level those resonating frequencies. I understand using a parametric eq might be the way to go, but would compression help or hurt?
I dont know what u mean with resonanting frequencies, but its all free. Just use your ears.

You can use Eq, Compression, Gate, Limiting, Side-Chainning, etc.

If you side-chain the bass with the kick you will hear the level of the bass lower when the kick is pumping.

Side Chain Compression, Sidechaining

How i said, listen properly what you do and everything gonna be ok.

Music is free!
Old 19th November 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanclay View Post
Any recommendations? Perhaps I'm looking for gain pumping? I'm not sure.
Tomasrangel gave you the answer: Ducking. You'll need a side chain compressor on your bass track, and your kick track should be assigned to the compressor so that the bass "ducks' each time the kick drum hits the floor. If you are not sure, read the link he gave you, although you seem to be doing something like that already. Another way to work is filtering both the bass and the kick tracks and then A) apply full band compression to each individual track or B) band compression to both at 200Hz and below. Either method works depending upon the type of material, but the latter requires you to get the relative levels between the two tracks correct.

Good luck!
Old 19th November 2009
  #10
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hmm..i don't know..i haven't been at this long but i can get the kick and bass where i want them...and separate in the mix

i like to push kicks a bit at 60hz and dip em out at 250- 500..give em a little shot at 1khz for creamy and 3-4 khz cut snap....

bass is the wild card..depending on how it's recorded...it's gotta fill in those low mids that are mud for so many other instruments and boxiness for the kick...so i look and 200-250 , 700-800, 1500 as points for the bass to possibly boost for warmth or clarity.

some poorly recorded basses need the sub reinstated between 40-60

i also limit my bass about 6 db!

i compress kicks about 4-5 db with a ratio of 4:1 and my drums are always parallel compressed with the compressed subgroup jacked up a bit on the bottom and top.....gently.....

this is how i get my drums and bass everythime and as long as the players are good...these ideas work..


EDIT: i feel maybe these ideas are far below your experience but damn....they work for me...i basically got my approach from reading Bobby Owsinski's Mixing/mastering books...
Old 19th November 2009
  #11
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I'm sorry but everything mentioned so far is pure complication. The kick and bass merely have to occupy different frequency ranges, ie. one sits above/below the other. There is really is no need for excessive eq notching, sidechain compression, multiband, m/s etc etc

Basically, if you're have a sub around 50/60 hz, pick/tune your kick so it's hitting around 100hz. Or vice versa.

If your kick doesn't work with the bass you have, get a different kick. It isn't this complicated.
Old 19th November 2009
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta Heavy View Post
I'm sorry but everything mentioned so far is pure complication. The kick and bass merely have to occupy different frequency ranges, ie. one sits above/below the other. There is really is no need for excessive eq notching, sidechain compression, multiband, m/s etc etc

Basically, if you're have a sub around 50/60 hz, pick/tune your kick so it's hitting around 100hz. Or vice versa.

If your kick doesn't work with the bass you have, get a different kick. It isn't this complicated.
that's a pretty good advice, really. allthough you might find yourself loving them the way they are
(can happen) and other kicks might not fit for some reason. (the sound itself maybe)

i find myself sidechaining in almost every track swince months. sometimes so subtle that it's not really heard
(talking of 1-2dB gain reduction..sometimes more) just to "know" the kickdrum will benefit from this.

and yes, some EQing is a good advice...so, if my kick is low / and or bassline aswell i will definitely cut a bit here and there
(often bassline around 40-70Hz or the classic muddy are 180-300Hz)...nothing dramatic, just fine tuning.

+ learning to deal with these things makes you a better mixer (imagine mixers with a recorded band...they have to work with what's given,
unless you do it the 2009 way, by using drum replacements etc....but my view on this is: it worked without it for decades, so......)

not to mention, this is the mastering forum..these guys have to deal with this all the time, or?
Old 19th November 2009
  #13
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Another good skill is cut the lowest frequencies of the other instruments you dont need the lows. The range of it will depend of the needs.
Old 19th November 2009
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasrangel View Post
Another good skill is cut the lowest frequencies of the other instruments you dont need the lows. The range of it will depend of the needs.

ha! "skill" sounds a bit exaggerated to low cut or high pass should be a sort of standard use in mixing, or not?
Old 19th November 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward_Vinatea View Post
Tomasrangel gave you the answer: Ducking. You'll need a side chain compressor on your bass track, and your kick track should be assigned to the compressor so that the bass "ducks' each time the kick drum hits the floor. If you are not sure, read the link he gave you, although you seem to be doing something like that already. Another way to work is filtering both the bass and the kick tracks and then A) apply full band compression to each individual track or B) band compression to both at 200Hz and below. Either method works depending upon the type of material, but the latter requires you to get the relative levels between the two tracks correct.

Good luck!
That's a very important what Edward said, plus remember that KICK job is to be a BASS attack, and BASS to be a decay, so treat KICK that way (as attack, and bass as a decay)
moreover, it's crucial during producing/recording process to choose sounds the way they don't cover each other frequencies too much. And it's in most cases the best way to start to - try change a KICK sound (sample)


have a nice one
Old 19th November 2009
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tresperros
That's a very important what Edward said, plus remember that KICK job is to be a BASS attack, and BASS to be a decay, so treat KICK that way (as attack, and bass as a decay)
This makes a lot of sense to me, and I suppose this what I should be working on more.

Also, some of you mentioned bass mud, and I realize now that this might be a part of my problem. In your experience, have you found better results cutting those frequencies completely or just lowering them some. Sorry for more questions but this thread is giving me some great answers.
Old 19th November 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanclay View Post
This makes a lot of sense to me, and I suppose this what I should be working on more.

Also, some of you mentioned bass mud, and I realize now that this might be a part of my problem. In your experience, have you found better results cutting those frequencies completely or just lowering them some. Sorry for more questions but this thread is giving me some great answers.
if you notice mud, try and find out where it is (shouldn't be so hard - mostly really low, between 30-60Hz or in the lower mid range, somewhere between 180-300Hz) and lower is with a bell (sometimes shelf..b ut bell does it more precise without taking away too much of the rest). depends on the bass...sometimes 3dB is totally ok, sometimes you'll need a -6dB cut.
you could post a short sample, and get more direct advises..
Old 19th November 2009
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanclay View Post
This makes a lot of sense to me, and I suppose this what I should be working on more.

Also, some of you mentioned bass mud, and I realize now that this might be a part of my problem. In your experience, have you found better results cutting those frequencies completely or just lowering them some. Sorry for more questions but this thread is giving me some great answers.
IME, muddiness is the result of the accumulation of excess bass frequencies coming from many tracks {even a piano or an acoustic guitar can add}. So, if both your kick drum sounds good and your bass has good definition, and all has been neatly equalized and compressed, your bass components should NOT sound like 'mud'. Check the other tracks and roll off with a low cut filter excess bass frequencies on tracks that don't need them in the first place. If your bass pad sounds muddy then address that with filtering, but if your kick drum sounds muddy, use one that is not. In your style of music, 909's are great kicks with good punch and they sound very clean.

I hope this helps,
Old 19th November 2009
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward_Vinatea View Post
IME, muddiness is the result of the accumulation of excess bass frequencies coming from many tracks {even a piano or an acoustic guitar can add}. So, if both your kick drum sounds good and your bass has good definition, and all has been neatly equalized and compressed, your bass components should NOT sound like 'mud'. Check the other tracks and roll off with a low cut filter excess bass frequencies on tracks that don't need them in the first place. If your bass pad sounds muddy then address that with filtering, but if your kick drum sounds muddy, use one that is not. In your style of music, 909's are great kicks with good punch and they sound very clean.

I hope this helps,
carefull with this statement. a 909 can also get muddy or boomy with a little wrong EQing (i speak from experience years ago) esp. in the very low mids..
Old 19th November 2009
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miro View Post
carefull with this statement. a 909 can also get muddy or boomy with a little wrong EQing (i speak from experience years ago) esp. in the very low mids..
I am sorry Miro but I believe is you who should be very careful with your eq then. 909's have great sounds by default and no enhancement is really needed, however, if you want more bass on your kick, just tune it down. Do you have one?

FWIW, anything can get muddy, harsh or whatever with "wrong eq'ing".

Regards,
Old 19th November 2009
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward_Vinatea View Post
I am sorry Miro but I believe is you who should be very careful with your eq then. 909's have great sounds by default and no enhancement is really needed, however, if you want more bass on your kick, just tune it down. Do you have one?

FWIW, anything can get muddy, harsh or whatever with "wrong eq'ing".

Regards,
not since 3 years, but i owned one from around 1995-2006..long enough.
and since i'm producing techno stuff, i was very much relying on the 909 (used about 80-90% of the time in all my tracks back then)
so of course, doing about 200 tracks in 10 years forced me to experiment and always get a new sound out of it. and you can get
SO MANY different kicks with the 909, using EQ, comp and FX...most versatile and shapeable (what a word) kick ever.

i didn't use samples very much at that time...so making kicks was a specialty for me back then, only using one main drum machine

but yes, surely i made some mistakes once in a while EQing it incorrect back then. i was young, over-motivated, experimental and creative

cheers
m
Old 20th November 2009
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanclay View Post
This makes a lot of sense to me, and I suppose this what I should be working on more.

Also, some of you mentioned bass mud, and I realize now that this might be a part of my problem. In your experience, have you found better results cutting those frequencies completely or just lowering them some. Sorry for more questions but this thread is giving me some great answers.
good idea is to start muting single tracks and listen if problem still exists...
like I mentioned before, sometimes EQ, compressing and other tricks doesn't work, and if you are producer/creator, good way to go is just change a sample/sound of one of 'troublemaker' instrument.


all the best
Old 20th November 2009
  #23
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There is a huge amount of contradictory information being presented in this thread. A few observations:

1) This is about Electro-House so all the people talking about recording and bass players are not really paying attention and are probably not the best suited to give advice.

2) Whatever happens, always try to get the best possible sound at the source. That means using the best kick sample or tweaking your drum machine to perfection before even turning your EQ or compressor on. The same goes for the bass synth. Tweak 'till you are as close to what you want before manipulating the sound further.

3) In my experience there are four main ways to approach the kick-bass combo in electronic dance music:

a) Arrangement: Never have the kick and bass overlap (too much) and they will never compete for the frequency space.

b) Give them their own frequency space by using an EQ to carve them out a bit so that they compliment each other nicely.

c) Use MIDI velocity to tweak the dynamics of every note in a bassline so that it fits with the kick and grooves nicely.

d) Use side-chain compression to lower the level of the bass instrument when the kick is playing.

Of course you can use any combination of the above.

Personally I never force my kick or bass to be in mono because I use mono samples and a mono synth (or a stereo synth with no stereo parameters set) to start with. In other words, they are already mono except for any panning tricks I might use for a bit of variety.

I rarely use much compression on kick, bass or the combination and if I do it is in minimal amount. Usually good EQing and programming is sufficient to make them work nicely together.

Alistair
Old 30th May 2016
  #24
Not really a mastering topic. but here are some of my recent experiences.

I know exactly what you mean when you speak of struggling with resonating frequencies.
You could try splitting up the low end in three part: The sub end of your bass, the kick and the high end of the bass.
Of course it depends on the track and what the bassline is doing vs the Kick as to which approach works best. The up side of this is that the compression on your bass can be set to different settings for the low part vs the high part. Also be wary of keyboard tracking of the filter cutoff frequency and your resonance setting as this can cause certain notes to 'boom' or resonate more than others. It's often that the bass will sit with the kick until it hits certain notes a careful tweaking of these settings (including the filter envelope) can help.
Old 31st May 2016
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanclay View Post
I've been in the audio production world for quite some time now, and am well-versed in many areas however, the low end frequencies of my mixes are always a struggle. The kick and bass tracks never seem to fit perfectly and I always have trouble taming resonating frequencies.
The answer is in your question. If you have resonances then you will never get them to work well together. Tracking is, by far, the most important part of the process. Capture all of the sound of the bass and kick but without unnatural resonances and they will blend. As soon as there are resonances or missing frequencies one will tend mask the other.

Things like band limiting and notching are band-aid fixes for bad tracking. They can make things better but you will rarely get a great sounding blend from compromised sources. Bad ingredients bake a bad cake.

What speakers are you tracking on? Full range, low distortion (that rules out all of the current near fields)? That's the key to tracking LF well.
Old 31st May 2016
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
The answer is in your question. If you have resonances then you will never get them to work well together. Tracking is, by far, the most important part of the process. Capture all of the sound of the bass and kick but without unnatural resonances and they will blend. As soon as there are resonances or missing frequencies one will tend mask the other.

Things like band limiting and notching are band-aid fixes for bad tracking. They can make things better but you will rarely get a great sounding blend from compromised sources. Bad ingredients bake a bad cake.

What speakers are you tracking on? Full range, low distortion (that rules out all of the current near fields)? That's the key to tracking LF well.
The OP makes Electro House. Tracking is close to irrelevant to the topic.

Anyway, hopefully the OP has figured things out since the started this thread in 2009!

Alistair
Old 31st May 2016
  #27
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I hate it when that happens...
Old 31st May 2016
  #28
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Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
I hate it when that happens...
Me too. The thread got resurrected from the dead by a spam post it seems. (Which was decimated).

Alistair
Old 1st June 2016
  #29
2 things very important and i dont think any post told about :
Are kick and bass in tune? It is realy the first thing to take care of. Maybe just pitching the kick up or down (easy with electronic kicks) will solve 80% of the problem and then eq to get rid of the last 20%.

And second point :

Kick lenght or enveloppe too long? If the total lenght of your kick is more than 1 beat then it might recover itself all the time and fells muddy as hell.
I usually kick with 1/4 note lenght and shape the decay logarithmic to have a loud snap at start of the kick and fast decay to slow at end.
That way there is a lot of room for the bass and make it pump a bit with the kick sidechained to a comp on the bass track.
My 2 cents

Last edited by Precision Studio; 1st June 2016 at 05:15 PM..
Old 1st June 2016
  #30
For some quieter elctro music i choose 1/2 note lenght. Exemple : if tempo is 120 bpm, i lget my kick to be 250ms long (125ms for 1/4 note)
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