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-   -   My jazz group - bass isn't sitting right? (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/work-in-progress-advice-requested-show-and-tell-artist-showcase-mix-offs/1273112-my-jazz-group-bass-isnt-sitting-right.html)

henryrobinett 23rd July 2019 03:21 AM

My jazz group - bass isn't sitting right?
 


I have a pretty nice room, three monitors and nice phones. Recently two different mixes I sent out the clients couldn't hear the bass. But then I found that they were listening on a laptop. I think many people casually listen on the phone speakers and laptops. Argh!

I recorded this in my studio with my new band of guys. The bass sounds a little boomy to me? I know people think I have too much bass on my guitar. Too bad.

So I just need a check. It's just a rough mix of a rehearsal.

gwlee7 23rd July 2019 03:40 AM

I agree that the bass sounds “off” and a little muddy The playing is exquisite though.

Of course no one would know listening on a phone. :facepalm:

mikeka 23rd July 2019 03:42 AM

Listening on Barefoots in a treated room here. Doubtful anyone could hear that bass on a laptop. It's all bottom and as he walks, various notes completely disappear.
Room? The bass itself? Dunno. Could use compression and eq to dial back some of the bottom and increase mids. Hope this helps :)

thismercifulfate 23rd July 2019 03:51 AM

One of the most important tasks of mixing is to make your mixes translate to various playback systems. There are specific techniques that you can use to make the bass audible on systems with little bass reproduction. The key is tasteful use of harmonic distortion that will imply the notes that tiny speakers can’t reproduce and help the listener be able to “track” the pitches of the bass notes.

henryrobinett 23rd July 2019 04:16 AM

Thanks guys. Yeah it’s boomy and low end prominent. The room is well treated. Great mic - Bock 251 about 6-10” away. Sometimes I let my eyes mix. I dropped a lot of frequencies and I THINK that should be good. I can’t believe I need to cut more! Lol. Plus I’m not sure it’s the best instrument. Blake the instrument. Lol.

henryrobinett 23rd July 2019 04:24 AM

And I removed the compression.

endorka 23rd July 2019 02:47 PM

Nice work Henry!

I don't find the amount of bass on the guitar excessive. I have heard this on some jazz guitar playing, to the extent that it splatters all over the double bass, and you are not doing it :-)

I don't find the boominess of the double bass that big a deal either. Sounds quite old school rather than ECM, but I prefer that sound. I know it is subjective though and your clients may wish otherwise. Really if you want a more midrange twang and definition in the double bass it should start with the instrument strings, setup and playing style. Think Danny Thompson or what have you.

As others have noted the bass is dropping out the mix in places. Could be due to tonal irregularities in the instrument, room or player's technique, or some combination thereof. Experiment with different positions of the instrument and mic might even things out a bit. You have to be very careful when whacking frequencies out with EQ, so easy to fix one problem and create another.

I sometimes find multi band compression useful with double bass. Split into two bands with crossover between the sub / boom zone and definition frequency ranges. Sometimes it's a particular note in the sub range that sticks out, and doing more compression in the subs than in the definition range will help control the uneven boomy dynamics without sucking the life out the instrument.

Difficult to say though. It would be interesting to hear the raw recording of the double bass out of the mix, with no processing.

Cheers,
Jennifer

cabbo 23rd July 2019 02:55 PM

Nice tune. I listened on quality headphones thru ipad and the bass sounds pretty close, maybe another decibel or two volumewise and a bit more low end rolloff, a couple db of transparent compression. Then there’s saturation but this is jazz, so maybe not. The guitar is a bit smeary and thick and I hear it stepping on the bass instead of dancing with it. The chorus effect is a bit much. Not trying to offend you, knowing you are the guitarist and engineer. Rather the opposite, nothing but respect Henry, for your contributions to this forum and your music.

Jim Williams 23rd July 2019 04:57 PM

Cardiode mics will present a bump in the "juke box" range if placed closer than a foot. If you need a closer set mic from leakage consider one without that proximity effect.

henryrobinett 23rd July 2019 05:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Williams (Post 14111041)
Cardiode mics will present a bump in the "juke box" range if placed closer than a foot. If you need a closer set mic from leakage consider one without that proximity effect.

Thanks guys! It does sound like proximity but I was sure 6-10" was enough. There's no leakage problems. I'll move him back some more. He was a good foot away at first and I moved him in. Thanks Jim.

henryrobinett 23rd July 2019 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by endorka (Post 14110821)
Nice work Henry!

I don't find the amount of bass on the guitar excessive. I have heard this on some jazz guitar playing, to the extent that it splatters all over the double bass, and you are not doing it :-)

I don't find the boominess of the double bass that big a deal either. Sounds quite old school rather than ECM, but I prefer that sound. I know it is subjective though and your clients may wish otherwise. Really if you want a more midrange twang and definition in the double bass it should start with the instrument strings, setup and playing style. Think Danny Thompson or what have you.

As others have noted the bass is dropping out the mix in places. Could be due to tonal irregularities in the instrument, room or player's technique, or some combination thereof. Experiment with different positions of the instrument and mic might even things out a bit. You have to be very careful when whacking frequencies out with EQ, so easy to fix one problem and create another.

I sometimes find multi band compression useful with double bass. Split into two bands with crossover between the sub / boom zone and definition frequency ranges. Sometimes it's a particular note in the sub range that sticks out, and doing more compression in the subs than in the definition range will help control the uneven boomy dynamics without sucking the life out the instrument.

Difficult to say though. It would be interesting to hear the raw recording of the double bass out of the mix, with no processing.

Cheers,
Jennifer

Thanks Jennifer! I try and stay away from Multiband compression, but it might be in order.

henryrobinett 23rd July 2019 05:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cabbo (Post 14110834)
Nice tune. I listened on quality headphones thru ipad and the bass sounds pretty close, maybe another decibel or two volumewise and a bit more low end rolloff, a couple db of transparent compression. Then there’s saturation but this is jazz, so maybe not. The guitar is a bit smeary and thick and I hear it stepping on the bass instead of dancing with it. The chorus effect is a bit much. Not trying to offend you, knowing you are the guitarist and engineer. Rather the opposite, nothing but respect Henry, for your contributions to this forum and your music.

Yeah, my chorus and tone piss a lot of people off! LOL. You should have heard the amount I rolled off. I try and stay away from the traditional guitar tone. Thanks!

monkeyxx 23rd July 2019 05:40 PM

Nice tune. I love jazz.

I think the bass could use a bit of a different EQ. More highs and mids and less low end I guess. It's almost subby sounding.

Funny Cat 23rd July 2019 06:05 PM

First let me just say, fabulous playing all around and a nice tune! kfhkh

The bass is indeed disappearing in places and there isn't enough definition for my ears. What seems to be happening is you are raising the fader volume to try and "hear" the notes which is creating that slight boom/mud on the bass. Problem is the definition may not be there on the original recording? A couple of things you can do.

1. When mixing, mult the bass and add saturation/distortion in large doses to one of the bass tracks. Ease it up under the original bass. You may find you want to also EQ the saturated/distorted track adding some bell curves at certain freq's. That kind of depends on the bass itself. Sometimes the 2K and 8K regions work nice on bass for adding clarity. Don't forget to roll off everything under about ~40-50hz or so. You don't need any of that for jazz.

2. When recording, use two mics for upright bass. I never use one mic because of this exact issue! I got this from reading about early Al Schmidt sessions. Put the bock 6"-12" inches out in front of the F-hole and another LDC (I prefer tube mics here) near the left hand that's on the neck to get the string sound from the player. Angle up or down based on your room and what you are hearing. It adds definition. Blend to taste. I've had tremendous luck with this in the past. Good luck man and again, excellent arrangement and playing!

Drumsound 23rd July 2019 06:05 PM

I'm just listening on ear buds through my laptop, but I don't ming the low of the bass. Its when she/he walks UP that I'm losing notes. I think some upper mids need to be gently boosted, or some compression (maybe parallel) to even out the walking.

Cool tune, and great playing as usual. I dig your tone for this music.

Brent Hahn 23rd July 2019 06:43 PM

The whole thump vs. cut thing with upright is so hard to get right. With electric, you can always do a parallel saturation track to sneak in some of those high harmonics that let you hear the notes on small speakers, but with upright that fakeness is easier to detect. And if you try to solve it with EQ only, any slop in the playing, both finger noise and intonation, jumps right out. The one thing I do find to help is to automate and ride the bass like a madman -- sometimes, every note in the range of the instrument has its own spot on the fader. Makes no sense, but it just is.

henryrobinett 23rd July 2019 06:48 PM

Great suggestions! Thank you. No defensiveness here! After all this time the bass makes me feel like I've never done it before. LOL.

I'll open the track again a little later. I recently just went with one mic. I kept having issues with two. Ended up sounding better and more focused with one. Maybe it was polarity.

Brent Hahn 23rd July 2019 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by henryrobinett (Post 14111299)
I'll open the track again a little later. I recently just went with one mic. I kept having issues with two.

In a band situation, especially jazz, I think part of the reason I have trouble with more than one mic (or just one mic, for that matter) is because the bass is literally a moving target. Even super-savvy studio cats will lean forward and back more than you'd like, and the last thing you want to do is mention it and put that in their head.

Funny Cat 23rd July 2019 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by henryrobinett (Post 14111299)
Great suggestions! Thank you. No defensiveness here! After all this time the bass makes me feel like I've never done it before. LOL.

I'll open the track again a little later. I recently just went with one mic. I kept having issues with two. Ended up sounding better and more focused with one. Maybe it was polarity.


That can be a matter of having the mic capsules different distances from the source. Inches can matter here. In this case it would be "phase shift" to be more accurate. Minor semantic distinction between the two but yes "polarity" is the problem most times. Worth it to get the phase right with two mics though otherwise it's like @ Brent Hahn said each note can have it's own place with the fader since the upright bass is a large and complex resonant chamber emitting different freq's from different areas.

henryrobinett 23rd July 2019 07:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Funny Cat (Post 14111313)
That can be a matter of having the mic capsules different distances from the source. Inches can matter here. In this case it would be "phase shift" to be more accurate. Minor semantic distinction between the two but yes "polarity" is the problem most times. Worth it to get the phase right with two mics though otherwise it's like @ Brent Hahn said each note can have it's own place with the fader since the upright bass is a large and complex resonant chamber emitting different freq's from different areas.

Ah! I KNOW it wasn't polarity! I couldn't pull the term "phase" out. I've measured the distance, like I do with the overheads and snare. I'll have to try harder. It might be also due to the rocking back and forth Brent referred to.

henryrobinett 23rd July 2019 10:01 PM

Just a test quick remix for bass. This is a rehearsal so I don't have time to automate the moments when the bass jumps out. I just wanted to do a quick test to see if this is better. I EQed it, dropping the low end some more and adding some compression. That's all. Raised the level. Now THAT's all.

monkeyxx 23rd July 2019 11:50 PM

That sounds a lot better to me. I would say it almost sounds like a final mix. I find the ride cymbal overpowering in the middle section however, it is overpowering the drum close mics including the snare. Losing a bit of the drummer's handiwork. Everything else sounds really good though. So yeah, if it were my job, I would go back in and work on the drums some more. For example the ride is about 3 times louder than the hi hats or the other cymbals.

henryrobinett 24th July 2019 12:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monkeyxx (Post 14111822)
That sounds a lot better to me. I would say it almost sounds like a final mix. I find the ride cymbal overpowering in the middle section however, it is overpowering the drum close mics including the snare. Losing a bit of the drummer's handiwork. Everything else sounds really good though. So yeah, if it were my job, I would go back in and work on the drums some more. For example the ride is about 3 times louder than the hi hats or the other cymbals.

thanks. I completely agree the drums are a little overpowering. I just wanted to address one thing. The more you change here the more you have to change there. I just wanted to address one thing for this purpose. Thanks!

henryrobinett 24th July 2019 02:21 AM

I updated the original track. Thanks big time folks. The 2nd Test track is private now. It's good enough for now, I think. As I said, it's just a rehearsal. Notihng mission critical other than learning my room and my guys instruments and playing. I mean, stil feel free to give me constructive criticism.

henryrobinett 24th July 2019 02:46 AM

Here’s the “track sheet”.

Kick - RE20
Snare - Sennheiser MD441
Bottom Snare - MK012
Rack 1&2 - Peluso TR-14 powered ribbon mics
Floor Tom - ATM25
Hat - Peluso CEMC6
Overheads - Peluso P-12
FOK -AEA R84
Upright bass - Bock 251

Everything recorded into Metric Halo ULN-8s and all of MH micpres.

elamberth 24th July 2019 02:50 AM

Nice playing. Bass didn’t sound distinct to me. How did it sound in the room?
Maybe cutting freq to help it firm up?
Maybe listening to Hendrix’s first album - They had a way of making the bass come through on cheap am radios of the day, which weren’t exactly “full range” speakers.

Drumsound 24th July 2019 02:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by henryrobinett (Post 14112087)
Here’s the “track sheet”.

Kick - RE20
Snare - Sennheiser MD441
Bottom Snare - MK012
Rack 1&2 - Peluso TR-14 powered ribbon mics
Floor Tom - ATM25
Hat - Peluso CEMC6
Overheads - Peluso P-12
FOK -AEA R84
Upright bass - Bock 251

Everything recorded into Metric Halo ULN-8s and all of MH micpres.

What's on the guitar?

elamberth 24th July 2019 02:52 AM

Nice job on the drums!

henryrobinett 24th July 2019 03:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drumsound (Post 14112094)
What's on the guitar?

Fractal Axe Fx III.

cabbo 24th July 2019 03:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elamberth (Post 14112095)
Nice job on the drums!

Yeah I liked the drums.
Also want to add: listening to jazz while driving around in the car, you NEVER can hear the bass solos, just sayin.