View Single Post
Old 18th June 2008
Lives for gear

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