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High-passing bass at 80-100hz?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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High-passing bass at 80-100hz?

Many people will say that you should mix with your ears and not eyes so I would like your opinion on this finding- I was playing with various plugins trying to get a good bass sound as this is always the most difficult instrument to get right. I mix in a small room which does have seven bass traps but I guess the room size does not help.

What I found is that using a HPF on bass guitar at 95hz, 24dB/Oct, and Q 0.71 really clears the low end and solves all problems with muddiness and boominess. It clears things so much that I do not even need to put a HPF on the kick.

I also compare this way of mixing to many commercially released tracks and they sound very similar- the bottom end does not seem to be much deeper.

Do you think it is wrong to cut that high? I think most of my audience (about 10 people) would listen either on earphones or speakers that probably do not go much further down than 50hz so would this be a valid strategy in my case?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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some of it depends on the key the music is in and how low the kick drums tuned. Personally I usually roll bass off at around 40 HZ which is the lowest fundamental tone a low E string can produce. If I down tune to an open D it might be a bit lower.

I typically voice my bass ranges below the kick. Some people like to voice the bass above kick frequencies. The type of bass is important too. A Fender Precision set for slap tones will have more string tension because of the string length, and its single coil pickup position may produce more mids compared to my short scale Hofner bass with its neck pickup selected. I range the EQ according to the notes being produced. If theres too much bass the low notes boom compared to the higher strings so my main goal is to get an even output between strings first. Allot of that comes form the instrument setup too, string vs pickup height and whatever DI modelers I may use.

In the end its all about how the bass fits into the complete mix, not a formula that may work on one particular song.

The true test is taking a CD's worth of material and being able to play them all back to back without having to readjust the playback system for each song.
If they wind up having equal bass levels throughout it doesn't matter if they are thick of thin on one song. Its is the one thing that's most challenging for most engineers too. I spent several years using multiband limiting when mastering and it does an excellent job controlling bass. Har Bal is another tool that does and excellent job taming bass in a mix. Its especially good for adjusting an entire CD worth of material.

Bass does eat up allot of headroom that prevents you from getting a loud mix. Sub frequencies can trigger mastering compressors too soon and ruin an otherwise good mix. What I do is try and roll the sub lows off before I track so its no longer an issue missing and no band passing is necessary. Its been working out very well, mainly because I can dial it up to the point where I can still play the instrument well and I know my notes will be clearly heard. It can help by having extra monitors capable of handling bass too. I avoid using headphones at all costs. Headphones are not very good at reproducing accurate bass tones compared to speakers.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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Thanks! I think this clears it up in my mind a bit- sometimes I play a Precision bass with slow deep notes whilst last night I played Jazz with a plectrum- which is often the sound that I want.

I think many times I prefer bass above kick and maybe sometimes with P-bass the other way round.

Interestingly, I listen to some bass loops that come with Logic which to me sound well produced and if you high-pass them at 95z they do not loose any of their energy.

I think I was confused by people how say they would never cut bass that high. This could be the sound I want so thanks for helping me clear this up!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Consider this. The worlds most popular professional bass amp, the SVT 8x10 bass box, has and FC of 80Hz.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
Who cares if people on forums think it's right or wrong. Does it work? Does it sound good? Does it enhance the music? Then do it! I've used HPF at 6db/octave up to like 200hz on a bass because that's what made it sit with the song.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philsaudio View Post
Consider this. The worlds most popular professional bass amp, the SVT 8x10 bass box, has and FC of 80Hz.
So people who don't cut just mic the amp with the HPF engaged?

Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart View Post
Who cares if people on forums think it's right or wrong. Does it work? Does it sound good? Does it enhance the music? Then do it! I've used HPF at 6db/octave up to like 200hz on a bass because that's what made it sit with the song.
I thought I may not be doing it wrong and that I would be wasting the low end. I am self-taught so I guess it is all trial and error!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_r View Post
So people who don't cut just mic the amp with the HPF engaged?
That is one way of looking at it. Another way is that the real deal has the lows rolled off all the time. If that is so then having 'all'
the low end in there in 'some' cases is not a realistic representation of the instrument as far as what is 'mostly' presented in professional recordings.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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There's no real rules to something like that, but I'd say that the area between 40hz~80hz can be a useful frequency range for bass that you may not want to just lop off. 90hz seems a bit high for something like bass (or kick too).

If you have a signal that has ultra low frequencies, I'd say that from 40hz down is especially an area to really scrutinize because it can eat up your headroom without it being as obvious on near fields or headphones (assuming you don't have giant mains to check on).
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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I never overlook the possibility that what my bass track 'needs' is not a high-pass but a shelf or a roll-off of some sort. Making "space" in your mix is a complementary process and what is 'best' always depends on what else is going on.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
I'd say that the area between 40hz~80hz can be a useful frequency range for bass that you may not want to just lop off...
Yes, but a HPF at 12 or 24 db/octave does not abruptly cut off bass at that frequency- it rolls it off so you are still left with some bass at that range but what I find is that this clears the bottom end, takes away the boominess, and makes space for everything else.

I did another test last night and was very happy with the results. This seems to allow me to get the low end into the ball park quickly and then concentrate on other things. The low end was solid, clear, defined, and very much in line with other recordings from (in broad terms) rock genre. I do appreciate that if you were making an EDM record you could want deeper bass but it looks like moderate amount of bass is fine with me.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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I like to carve out space for the kick...more of how I'm sculpting my own music. I like to have bass lower than the kick, and fill in the 90-150 range with organ footpedals. On a traditional song, I'd still just dip out a space for the kick between 80-90 hz or so.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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I would never do that, unless I'm running the bass through a fuzz pedal or distorting it otherwise, where the 2nd or even the 3rd harmonic is making up more of the sound. For a clean bass sound, you will be making a lot of notes disappear if you roll off at 80-100hz. On a 4-string bass the open G = 98hz, open D = 73hz, open A = 55hz and the open E = 41hz. In most music, a bassist is playing notes that largely have fundamentals well below 100hz. And yes, a 12 or 24db/octave HPF at 100hz is steep, because you're going to make some bass notes two or three times softer than others within the same performance.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Nothing is set in stone - whatever sounds right to your ears.
What can really help re-confirm your settings is a reference track, preferably in the same key.

If you find that the bass's response, tonality & presence within your track is similar to the reference, then you're there.

The EQ settings are not so important - whatever sounds right to your ears is key.
How much HP you apply on a bass patch will also depend on the key of the track and the kick-bass setup.

Most people are 'kick low, bass high' - kick occupies the 35-80 Hz region, and the bass sits above that.
Sometimes it can be 'bass low, kick high' - kick is usually more 'clicky' (50-80 hz with a little 1k-3k lift) & the sub-bass sits below the kick.

Whatever sounds right to your ears.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Would someone please post a clip of a tune with the bass cut below ~90Hz for me? I just can't imagine a cut that steep on bass sounding good. Puzzled...
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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It all depends on the style of the song and what else is going on in the mix.

You can absolutely get away with high-passing the bass beyond what would be considered "reasonable" if the song calls for it. If there is sufficient harmonic information above the fundamental to give the "illusion" of extension down into the lower octaves, and if you use a very gentle slope (i.e. 6dB/octave), then this can definitely work.

That said, for most modern music, high-passing at 100Hz will probably be too high. To me, a HPF is better suited for "cleaning up" the low end as opposed to being used to dial in the level — for that purpose, I prefer using the low band of a multiband compressor as a sort of dedicated LF fader.

Last edited by tkaitkai; 1 week ago at 11:16 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #16
I think we overthink the whole root note of the e-string being 41hz.
Most of the sound is overtones. Of course you loose some power when hipassing but the note does not disappear when being hippassed at 42 hz.

Everything is really up to how the sourcetrack sounds like and what you're going for. Some bass tracks are so fat they can't be dealt with unless hipassed pretty high. And some basses are so thin that they need a lot of sweet 50hz
Old 6 days ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
Would someone please post a clip of a tune with the bass cut below ~90Hz for me? I just can't imagine a cut that steep on bass sounding good. Puzzled...
Ok, here it is. HPF at 90Hz, 24dB/Oct, Q 0.71.

It could be my small room that is booming so I have to turn the bass down but I did go outside of the door and also checked on my HD650 headphones and this seems fine. I do not think bass needs to be deeper. I'd love to be able to get it more clean and more defined but I guess that is a separate issue.





Please let me know what you think and how it translates to your system!
Old 6 days ago
  #18
Listening to the track - the bass sounds fine. I would probably go for more low frequency information. For me, part of the great thing about the bass guitar is the weight that it can impart. Some of that might be lost here. But it's a preference thing. It would be interesting to hear it without the HPF.

I'm not in support of cutting the lows with a HPF as if it's some kind of rule (not saying you are). I find it best to decide based on what I'm hearing and what I want.
Old 6 days ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
Listening to the track - the bass sounds fine. I would probably go for more low frequency information. For me, part of the great thing about the bass guitar is the weight that it can impart. Some of that might be lost here. But it's a preference thing. It would be interesting to hear it without the HPF.

I'm not in support of cutting the lows with a HPF as if it's some kind of rule (not saying you are). I find it best to decide based on what I'm hearing and what I want.
I agree with you- it may be a preference. Interestingly, I did try it without the filter engaged and I could hear no difference. The track is in A minor thus A ,which is 55Hz, is affected by the HPF. I may prefer a bit less bass sound although I love to hear bass- I think when you turn the volume up the bass still present may be plentiful...

I think I was trying to mix without HPF because I thought it is the right thing to do and that I may be losing too much on better systems but I now think that even moderate amount of bass is enough for the sound I would like to have.
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
Listening to the track - the bass sounds fine. I would probably go for more low frequency information. For me, part of the great thing about the bass guitar is the weight that it can impart. Some of that might be lost here. But it's a preference thing. It would be interesting to hear it without the HPF.

I'm not in support of cutting the lows with a HPF as if it's some kind of rule (not saying you are). I find it best to decide based on what I'm hearing and what I want.
And another thing I forgot to mention- I was using Waves MV2 on bass, which is a kind of upward compression. Not sure if that would lift the bass frequencies up but it seems to work for me!
Old 6 days ago
  #21
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Harmonics can add plenty enough weight to a low-cut bass at 90 hz. If it's compressed and mixed well you don't really need those sub frequencies. That being said, there's no rules so whatever gets the job done.
Old 6 days ago
  #22
Gear Head
I always sweep with narrow eq for kick resonance frequency and boost that freq few dbs, then I make cut at same freq and same db in bass guitar . That makes some place for kick in bass range and it's easy to make hpf decisions. Mostly i hpf bass higher than kick.
For bass guitar i found it important to check mix on some mid range box without bass. Sometimes i don't hear bass guitar at all at those boxes so i add some low mid frequencies to bass guitar.
Old 6 days ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_r View Post
Ok, here it is. HPF at 90Hz, 24dB/Oct, Q 0.71.

It could be my small room that is booming so I have to turn the bass down but I did go outside of the door and also checked on my HD650 headphones and this seems fine. I do not think bass needs to be deeper. I'd love to be able to get it more clean and more defined but I guess that is a separate issue.





Please let me know what you think and how it translates to your system!

Thanks for posting, brave soul you are. Yes I can certainly understand how hi-passing might "pass" (pun intended) when mixing a funk/motown'esque track like this. It has that old school vibe for sure. However, I'd still personally prefer to hear the track with more bass. It certainly has more highs than tracks of that era so why not "modernize" it at the other spectrum and add a little chest thump/bowel shake? Of course me personally, I would still never hipass that steep for anything meant for modern radio.



P.S. Cool track there. Has a nice vibe. Thanks for posting. That takes Kahunas on this board!

Last edited by Funny Cat; 6 days ago at 02:55 AM.. Reason: Grammar!
Old 6 days ago
  #24
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Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
Thanks for posting, brave soul you are. Yes I can certainly understand how hi-passing might "pass" (pun intended) when mixing a funk/motown'eque track like this. It has that old school vibe for sure. However, I'd still personally prefer to hear the track with more bass. It certainly has more highs than tracks of that error so why not "modernize" it at the other spectrum and add a little chest thump/bowel shake? Of course me personally, I would still never hipass that steep for anything meant for modern radio.



P.S. Cool track there. Has a nice vibe. Thanks for posting. That takes Kahunas on this board!
I did not think you would post back so hats off to your bravery as well!

My reference was Grace Jones' Warm Leatherette- produced by Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin with contributions, amongst others, from Sly and Robbie... when it comes to bass I trust my Jamaicans...

Honestly, the kind of (unnecessary deep) bass you are talking about muddies highs too much!
Old 6 days ago
  #25
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Listening with my sub switched on (it isn't always engaged) and with the volume reasonably cranked, it sounds to me as though - not surprisingly - the kick is utterly dominant in the low-end, and the bass is overshadowed in general, level-wise. The thing with kicks like this is, because they're not tonal (unlike, say, 909 kicks or others with a discernable pitch) you can gain a good deal of headroom and clarity from a HPF even as low as 30, without sacrificing any tone. Generally, as you raise the cutoff frequency past a certain point, you are effectively shortening the audible decay of the kick - the pitch of an acoustic kick basically being a descending pitch, meaning that the more of the low you filter, the less you hear the latter part of the envelope. With a kick like this, on a tune like this, I would want more of the low-end to be coming from the bass. Based on the above, and guessing wildly, I'd lower the HPF on the bass to more like 60, and set one on the kick somewhere around 40. A little more low-end from the bass, a little less from the kick.

The ultimate hack for helping with those two frequencies is to be found somewhere in an early Dave Pensado ITL, where he puts a 24db/octave low-pass filter at 250Hz across the mix-buss, temporarily; that forces you to make an informed decision, effectively hearing only the low-end of the mix, on which of the kick/bass gets to reign at 50, and which gets to reign at 100. If you can clearly hear the separation between kick and bass with a low-pass filter like that engaged, then you've likely nailed the low-end of your mix.

Thinking in terms of: if you hi-pass one, you don't need to hi-pass the other makes it a little too much of a binary decision. At this end of the spectrum, even 10hz in either direction can make a difference.
Old 6 days ago
  #26
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Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
Listening with my sub switched on (it isn't always engaged) and with the volume reasonably cranked, it sounds to me as though - not surprisingly - the kick is utterly dominant in the low-end, and the bass is overshadowed in general, level-wise. The thing with kicks like this is, because they're not tonal (unlike, say, 909 kicks or others with a discernable pitch) you can gain a good deal of headroom and clarity from a HPF even as low as 30, without sacrificing any tone. Generally, as you raise the cutoff frequency past a certain point, you are effectively shortening the audible decay of the kick - the pitch of an acoustic kick basically being a descending pitch, meaning that the more of the low you filter, the less you hear the latter part of the envelope. With a kick like this, on a tune like this, I would want more of the low-end to be coming from the bass. Based on the above, and guessing wildly, I'd lower the HPF on the bass to more like 60, and set one on the kick somewhere around 40. A little more low-end from the bass, a little less from the kick.

The ultimate hack for helping with those two frequencies is to be found somewhere in an early Dave Pensado ITL, where he puts a 24db/octave low-pass filter at 250Hz across the mix-buss, temporarily; that forces you to make an informed decision, effectively hearing only the low-end of the mix, on which of the kick/bass gets to reign at 50, and which gets to reign at 100. If you can clearly hear the separation between kick and bass with a low-pass filter like that engaged, then you've likely nailed the low-end of your mix.

Thinking in terms of: if you hi-pass one, you don't need to hi-pass the other makes it a little too much of a binary decision. At this end of the spectrum, even 10hz in either direction can make a difference.
Another question is- how big is the room and how does it interact with subwoofer?
I am listening on headphones (and earlier on Adam A5Xs)- no problem with bass- the bass is rocking!
Old 6 days ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_r View Post
I did not think you would post back so hats off to your bravery as well!

My reference was Grace Jones' Warm Leatherette- produced by Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin with contributions, amongst others, from Sly and Robbie... when it comes to bass I trust my Jamaicans...

Honestly, the kind of (unnecessary deep) bass you are talking about muddies highs too much!

Interesting you used Sly & Robbie as your reference. I just so happen to have started as a reggae producer myself. :0)

AND growing up listening to Sly & Robbie (Black Uhuru, Tamlins and their Taxi offerings) I can tell you that Robbie is not known for deep bass at all. Neither is Chris Blackwell. It's a known fact Chris Blackwell tried to "rock-ify" the Wailers when he signed them and lightened the deeper bass tones they achieved with Lee Perry to make their music more acceptable to the U.S. Listeners back then.

Back to Robbie...his tone is extremely trebly and quite "farty" (in general). Alex Sadkin was one of the best reggae engineers of all time so he did a great job with most of those lines especially with the Grace Jones material.


P.S. That "unnecessary bass" doesn't have to be muddy. Example, you can hum every single note of everything FamilyMan played on all the "heavy" Wailers tunes. Same can be said for Ronnie McQueen of Steel Pulse. And I'll just assume you've never been to a dancehall using words like "unnecessary bass" in the same sentence as talking about Jamaicans. Heh!
Old 6 days ago
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
Listening to the track - the bass sounds fine. I would probably go for more low frequency information. For me, part of the great thing about the bass guitar is the weight that it can impart. Some of that might be lost here. But it's a preference thing. It would be interesting to hear it without the HPF.

I'm not in support of cutting the lows with a HPF as if it's some kind of rule (not saying you are). I find it best to decide based on what I'm hearing and what I want.
Like Enlightened Hand and a couple of others here, I would also suggest just a bit more of the bass. If you're *sure* it will make your mix muddy, then use a sidechain to remove it from the mix buss compressor's signal (or use a multi-band compressor). And like many have said, the amount of bass to "roll off" in a mix depends upon the make and model of the bass guitar itself, the overall mix, the style of music and the overall sound you're trying to achieve.

The track has a really good feel to it, but there's just not enough low-end to counter the relatively bright, snappy guitars.

All the instruments sound good, and the parts they play are done well. It's just that the bass seems a touch thin.

Steve
Old 6 days ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_r View Post
Another question is- how big is the room and how does it interact with subwoofer?
I am listening on headphones (and earlier on Adam A5Xs)- no problem with bass- the bass is rocking!
The A5Xs bass roll-off has a very real impact on how you perceive the lower octave of a mix. I know this because that's exactly what I use in my studio, and it took me ages to realise that even though I could SEE the 40hz bouncing around on screen, that I simply wasn't hearing it (or feeling it) in the room. Have had the A5Xs for 6 years, and the Sub 7 for 4 of those, after eventually figuring out why my bass synths got audibly quieter as I walked down the scale from low C-ish.

It's no reflection on you, and I love the overall sound of the Adams. But they simply do not tell you what's happening down there in the sub-bass region. It's not that everything immediately falls off a cliff below 50 (I'm pretty sure the roll-off starts slightly above, and that the 50 - 50K figure quoted is within 3dB), but it drops off enough that you don't get anything like an accurate enough presentation of that bottom octave, or the energy which is present in either a weighty kick, or the lower regions of a bass.

Your 650s do, partially, make up for that, and will help making sure you do at least have something that's presenting the sub 50Hz region to your ears. But it's still different from feeling it in the chest.
Old 6 days ago
  #30
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Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
Interesting you used Sly & Robbie as your reference. I just so happen to have started as a reggae producer myself. :0)

AND growing up listening to Sly & Robbie (Black Uhuru, Tamlins and their Taxi offerings) I can tell you that Robbie is not known for deep bass at all. Neither is Chris Blackwell. It's a known fact Chris Blackwell tried to "rock-ify" the Wailers when he signed them and lightened the deeper bass tones they achieved with Lee Perry to make their music more acceptable to the U.S. Listeners back then.

Back to Robbie...his tone is extremely trebly and quite "farty" (in general). Alex Sadkin was one of the best reggae engineers of all time so he did a great job with most of those lines especially with the Grace Jones material.


P.S. That "unnecessary bass" doesn't have to be muddy. Example, you can hum every single note of everything FamilyMan played on all the "heavy" Wailers tunes. Same can be said for Ronnie McQueen of Steel Pulse. And I'll just assume you've never been to a dancehall using words like "unnecessary bass" in the same sentence as talking about Jamaicans. Heh!
To me those are very Jamaican-ish tones so whether they are one octave above or below does not matter in the context of a tune!

Please do not get me wrong as I do not wish to disrespect you (yet you said I am brave to post my track with my findings!!!) and I am very glad that we like the same music!

However, in my experiments I found that hpf can work very well.

And to be honest, I listened to your own mixes and the mids sound muddy because of the deep bass... That is my opinion!

Last edited by dc_r; 6 days ago at 03:43 AM..
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