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mixing low end so it all "fits"
Old 25th May 2004
  #1
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maskedman72's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
mixing low end so it all "fits"

hello. i would like to know some tips and tricks to mixing low-end so it all has its own space and it all fits in a mix well. thus far i am unable to get that nice deep,smooth low end that a lot of recordings have. i get more of a muddy rumble.

so i would like to polish my low end mixing skills and learn from you all.

my question is what are some basic or good starting points(freq's) for low end on low end things so they all have their own low end "space" in the mix. i am wondering about bass gtr and kick drum and toms. is it bad to have them all boosted at freq's that are close togther? right now in the current mix i am doing here is what i have going on.

bass gtr boosted 4db@100hz.
gtr cut 4db@100hz.

by doing this(boosting one thing and cutting another at the same freq) i am letting the bass have its on low end space in the mix.(or you could say i am giving it "room"in the mix)

now im not shure where to put the other things.
kick drum boosted 4db@ 80hz.
where should i put the toms so they arent in the way of the rest? or am i way off base here?
thanks!!!
Old 25th May 2004
  #2
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Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Re: mixing low end so it all "fits"

Mask,

> i get more of a muddy rumble <

This isn't quite what you're asking, but I think it's the right answer anyway:

The biggest problem most people have with the low end while mixing is not being able to hear what's actually in the mix. This is due to the incredibly skewed low frequency response of the room itself. Response variations of 30 dB or more - with multiple peaks and deep nulls 1/12th octave apart - are not only common but typical. So you really need to get the room in shape before you'll be able to create great mixes that sound good elsewhere.

For more on this have a look at the Acoustics FAQ, second in the list on my Articles page:

www.ethanwiner.com/articles.html

--Ethan
Old 25th May 2004
  #3
That's very true.
Right now, I'm mixing my 2nd work on my new room... and it's being HARD to get the results...
Old 25th May 2004
  #4
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jazzius II's Avatar
 

true true true..........if you can't hear it, you can't mix it.........it may be possible to hear there's a problem, but not pinpoint exactly where it is.........

......for me, the bass end is from around 30hz to around 250hz........this is a big area........there's lots of room down there......if you can't improve your monitoring situation, get a frequency analyzer and find out the range of sounds you're dealing with and how they translate in your enviroment....
Old 25th May 2004
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Maskedman,

There really just aren't any rules or guidelines like you're talking about, where you boost a certain frequency in the bass and cut it in the guitars, and suddenly you get a huge full sounding low end. For me, adding 4db at 100 on the bass would contribute more to the mud that you are hearing than it would helping the bottom. It sounds like Ethan may be right. You may be EQing to compensate for your monitors and room rather than doing it for the music.

You may also benefit from learning how frequencies and notes correspond. A low E on a bass is close to 41hz. A low B string is 30hz. The Low E on the guitar is at about 82. Boosting the Bass at 100 and cutting the guitar at the same place may do little good for either instrument. It doesn't reinforce the low notes on the bass, and it may cut too much real meat out of the guitar.

Steve
Old 26th May 2004
  #6
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Thread Starter
i fully understand what you are all saying here. i hadnt thought about that (the room) as much as i should. i have no clue how to even go about getting my room to sound good. it seems like something i would have to hire an expert to do. i cant assume that if i get some sheets of auralex(or whatever it is called) and stick them to a few walls that my room would sound good all of a sudden. what im saying is although i do have the funds to treat my room not only do i not know what to buy but i wouldnt know where to place it to make it do its job fully and correctly. this brings me back to hiring someone to do it. but the room i mix in is a square room about 11x11. can such a space even be made to sound good? i hear squares are a no-no. this is a different subject alltogther but mabyee you could steer me in the right direction on this. i dont think i would need a whole lot of material to treat a room of this size.

thanks -jay
Old 26th May 2004
  #7
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ixnys's Avatar
 

I don't have the experience to back up what I'm saying, but it could be right.

I think people are right about saying if you can't hear it, how are you suppose to mix it. It's like trying to mix bass on laptop speakers...you can hardly hear what the hell is going right? How will you know whether it's loud enough or getting muddy.

So maybe the same thing applies to your monitors. Maybe you need a sub to really hear the low end levels. That way you can compare your favoritie record mixes to your own and really hear what's going on down there.
Old 26th May 2004
  #8
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jazzius II's Avatar
 

your room has nightmare proportions...it's small and square.......your best chance might be to mix as good as you can in your room, then take the stems to a pro mix or mastering room with proper monitoring and fix the problems there.....
Old 26th May 2004
  #9
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maskedman72's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally posted by jazzius II
your room has nightmare proportions...it's small and square.......your best chance might be to mix as good as you can in your room, then take the stems to a pro mix or mastering room with proper monitoring and fix the problems there.....
i figured this was true,but i have heard some amazing recordings come from some small rooms so i know it can be done.

the monitors i use at home are event 20/20's but the ones i use at work are meyer hd-1's. with the hd-1's i can hear everything that goes on in the low.
Old 26th May 2004
  #10
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davemc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by maskedman72
i figured this was true,but i have heard some amazing recordings come from some small rooms so i know it can be done.

the monitors i use at home are event 20/20's but the ones i use at work are meyer hd-1's. with the hd-1's i can hear everything that goes on in the low.
I found the low mid on the 20/20's to be pretty hard to hear correctly.. One of the reasons I sold mine a long time ago.
Old 26th May 2004
  #11
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juniorhifikit's Avatar
 

I'm sure you've already tried this, but many instruments have unusable low freq content that can be rolled off, creating room for the instruments with REAL bass to live happily. This is true especially in a dense arrangement, guitars and piano can often be hp filtered a little.
Old 26th May 2004
  #12
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Ruudman's Avatar
 

PT-users:
Try a demo of URS S-series EQ-plug, across the master
(multi-mono).
It sure tightened my lo-end.

peace

ruudman
Old 26th May 2004
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Jay,

> i cant assume that if i get some sheets of auralex <

Yes, you need absorbers that are much more substantial than a few thin sheets of foam.

> not only do i not know what to buy but i wouldnt know where to place <

It's not as complicated as many people think. Again, see the Acoustics FAQ I linked above. Also follow the link to my company's site under my name below.

--Ethan
Old 26th May 2004
  #14
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DanV's Avatar
 

Try keeping prominent frequencies below around 300hz in mono.
Try slightly rolling off everything below 50hz - this can really help.
Old 27th May 2004
  #15
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maskedman72's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
ethan-i have had much interest in your products for quite some time to treat my room. i will have to do some research on the subject.


the only eq i have is the digiracks eq that came with pt le.
i know its really ****ty. i also have a demo of t-racks eq,again, pretty ****ty.

i plan on getting the sony oxford plug in for eq.

i will play with the 50hz roll off.
Old 27th May 2004
  #16
Man, one of the best mixes I got was using T-Racks EQ on 80% of the EQ'd tracks... I like'em.
Old 27th May 2004
  #17
Mindreader
 
BevvyB's Avatar
 

here's a really daft idea that has worked for me in the past

Put an eq on the mix bux and boost a whole bunch of low end in one foul curve

Anything not happy down there involving clashing will become immediately apparent - there's ony so much room down there for a few things

Then do your best to make all that rumble have some 'sense' with the silly eq still in

Then take it off, see if it helped

I've been doing something similar with that boombox I've been on about, I'll just stick the 'stupid bass' button on and see if the bass just becomes louder or muddier - if it becomes even more of a mess I sometimes try and fix it with the boom button IN

Just another thing to try

Bev
Old 27th May 2004
  #18
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TheReal7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by BevvyB
here's a really daft idea that has worked for me in the past

Put an eq on the mix bux and boost a whole bunch of low end in one foul curve

Anything not happy down there involving clashing will become immediately apparent - there's ony so much room down there for a few things

Then do your best to make all that rumble have some 'sense' with the silly eq still in

Then take it off, see if it helped

I've been doing something similar with that boombox I've been on about, I'll just stick the 'stupid bass' button on and see if the bass just becomes louder or muddier - if it becomes even more of a mess I sometimes try and fix it with the boom button IN

Just another thing to try

Bev
I think this is a great idea. Find your problem by magnifying it. Great tip. thumbsup
Old 27th May 2004
  #19
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ixnys's Avatar
 

Cool tip!

But still, isn't hard to hear EVERYTHING down there unless you have a subwoofer?
Old 27th May 2004
  #20
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DanV's Avatar
 

Another good one:

If your reverb has good stereo eq spread options.
Set the initial start of the reverb to mono below 175hz - then have it spread out to full stereo in the later half.

This is a feature I've noticed in Voxengo's Pristine Space.
And it is the BEST feature I've found for putting any verb on bass stuff. Awesome on kick!
Old 27th May 2004
  #21
FX smörgåsbord user
 
Charles Dye's Avatar
 

mm72,

I agree with most of the posts above. The sound in your mix room is definitely very important. But if we assume you've got that sorted, then I think there are a few things you can do to clean up the mud a little.

(This is a cut + paste from a post I made in the beginning of April. My apologies to those who've read it.)

Low end clarity comes from two basic sources:
  • Those instruments that contribute to the low-end (e.g. kick + bass).
  • Even more importantly by cleaning up the low end end of the rest of your tracks.
I approach the cleaning up of the low end in a few steps:[list=1][*]Listen to the mix for a minute with the kick + bass in.
[*]Mute the kick + bass and listen to the same passage. If you hear any low end, the instruments creating them may (but not always) be contributing to low-end muddiness.
[*]Locate + mute all the instruments in Step 2. that had low-end in them. In a rock mix for example this might be all the guitars. Turn on the kick + bass and listen to the same passage again, noting what your mix sounds like with the pure low-end of just your bass and kick. Shape the EQ further on those two tracks to give them the full tone you are looking for.
[*]Once you are satisfied with the low end in your mix coming from just the kick + bass, unmute one of the other tracks that has low-end, let's use the main rhythm electric guitar. Listen to the same passage and now note how the gtr + bass interact. Elec gtrs are often recorded with lots of low end, but in rock the rhythm gtr may often be doing a part very similar to the bass. There may be a lot of overlap frequency-wise and some of the low end from the gtr might be unnecessary.
[*]Place a HPF filter on the rhythm gtr track and while listening again to the same passage slowly increase the hi-pass freq. It's important to note that low end interaction between guitar + bass is not necessarily a bad thing. A little bit of beating, that wah-wah-wah sound in the low end created by two notes that are ever so slightly out of tune with each other, can add a nice richness. So don't be too hasty and just strip all the lows from your gtr tracks. Listen to hear if combining the gtr's low end creates a richness, fullness, or muddiness. One trick can be to set the slope of the HPF to be as soft as you can (e.g. 0.71 on Ren EQ) that way you are lowering the lows, but not eliminating them all together.
[*]Once you are satisfied with the main rhythm gtr, add in each of the other muted low end tracks one at a time and repeat the process.
[*]Now, with all the tracks in, listen to the low end of your mix as a whole. To get everything to work together you may need to tweak some of the HPF's again, as well as re-EQ the bass a little. Do this without muting any of the instruments. And since you're now familiar with where all the low end elements are coming from, it will be much easier to find problem spots. Just remember that sometimes having a pure low end coming from only the bass + kick can sound great, and sometimes it can sound too sterile. Experiment to find the dirtiness that works for you.[/list=1]Hope this helps. And again, sorry for the cheap repeat.
Old 27th May 2004
  #22
Mindreader
 
BevvyB's Avatar
 

Let me repeat you again repeating yourself

Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Dye
It's important to note that low end interaction between guitar + bass is not necessarily a bad thing. A little bit of beating, that wah-wah-wah sound in the low end created by two notes that are ever so slightly out of tune with each other, can add a nice richness. So don't be too hasty and just strip all the lows from your gtr tracks.
This is a funny old place. Sometimes there is like a pass-the-note-along where you get a kind of humming note being passed between instruments which can be either A. Really annoying or B. Rather cool.

But what's really important as you say is to not chuck the baby out with the bathwater. As you sit there with this really lonely bass drum. I've done it, that's why I'm repeating you.

Also I tend to go into mono on one speaker when I'm getting confused, helps me focus and stops half my brain wanting to think spacially.
Old 28th May 2004
  #23
FX smörgåsbord user
 
Charles Dye's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by BevvyB
Also I tend to go into mono on one speaker when I'm getting confused, helps me focus and stops half my brain wanting to think spacially.
Bevvy,

That's great advice. It really is easy to be distracted by left-right movement.

I do something similar myself. My main mixing speakers are at a right angle to my mixing position, a small pair of Sony self-powered computer speakers. I also have NS-10s + MSP-10s (by Yamaha, like 1031s), but I spend most of my time on the Sonys. I listen to them in what I call manual mono, because only my left ear can hear the two speakers, essentially summing them to mono. They're really great for balancing, but suprisingly I've found they work quite well for EQing, especially for cleaning up the low mids.

Love those monitors.
Old 28th May 2004
  #24
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Yiannis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Dye
Bevvy,

I do something similar myself. My main mixing speakers are at a right angle to my mixing position, a small pair of Sony self-powered computer speakers.

Love those monitors.
Charles, what model these Sonys are please?

Yiannis
Old 28th May 2004
  #25
FX smörgåsbord user
 
Charles Dye's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Yiannis
Charles, what model these Sonys are please?
Yiannis,

Sony SRS-88. They're dark grey + about 10 inches (maybe 20 cm) tall. Similar to monitors that Apple used to sell which I believe were also made by Sony.
Old 29th May 2004
  #26
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maskedman72's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
thanks a million for all of the great ideas and views on this!
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