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How do I get the bass to sound distinct in the mix?
Old 5th May 2009
  #1
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How do I get the bass to sound distinct in the mix?

The Bass sounds so distinct to me in this mix. And I will try uploading even better examples. Any tips would be appreciated! Thanks!

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Old 10th May 2009
  #2
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bump
Old 10th May 2009
  #3
The answer for all "how do I get the X to sound clear in the mix" questions is generally: get everything else out of the way of it. If it doesn't sound clear either it wasn't recorded clear or other things are stepping on it in the frequency ranges that it requires to sound clear. The low end of guitars conflicting with the lower mids of the bass are probably the biggest reason for bass clarity problems.

In the mix you posted the link to, there's nothing else down there in the bass range. The banjo, piano, guitar, etc... are high passed up pretty high or the parts are played up pretty high. The kick drum is very light. Snare has almost no low end.

So the bass is all alone down there by himself. And it sounds like the low octave is rolled off so that most of the bass energy is raised up to higher frequencies as well, and with everything else pushed up so much that still leaves it a lot room.
Old 10th May 2009
  #4
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meymia's Avatar
Try splitting it into 2 channels use one to control the low's and one to control the high's....
Old 10th May 2009
  #5
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RaShayRitto's Avatar
 

What other instruments is the bass competing with? ASSUMING its a rock track (all i really have experience with) your rhythm guitar, kick, and heck MAYBE even vocals in some cases could all be taking up those vital frequencies your bass so desperately needs to punch through.

also the post above about making sure you start with an ideal bass tone is very good advice. One thing I am really finicky about is getting the bass to sit right with distorted guitars. Sometimes i create a starting point by doing some subtractive software EQ on the guitars. Like a linear decrease from 400hz and below. Do the same for bass, but from 300hz and do a linear decrease to eveything above.

what you'll end up with is a very seperated bass. proably not what you want, but it makes for a good starting point so you can start bringing those subtracted frequencies back and avoid too much overlapping.

of course you probably shouldnt take my advice, i'm sure someone will pipe up and have a better solution
Old 10th May 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
The answer for all "how do I get the X to sound clear in the mix" questions is generally: get everything else out of the way of it. If it doesn't sound clear either it wasn't recorded clear or other things are stepping on it in the frequency ranges that it requires to sound clear. The low end of guitars conflicting with the lower mids of the bass are probably the biggest reason for bass clarity problems.

In the mix you posted the link to, there's nothing else down there in the bass range. The banjo, piano, guitar, etc... are high passed up pretty high or the parts are played up pretty high. The kick drum is very light. Snare has almost no low end.

So the bass is all alone down there by himself. And it sounds like the low octave is rolled off so that most of the bass energy is raised up to higher frequencies as well, and with everything else pushed up so much that still leaves it a lot room.
Thats great advice. I think my problem though has been more about getting a good bass track to start with. I actually find it very rare these days to find a good bass player who really has a good distinct sound on his own. There are very few Tom Kennedy's and Mike Gordon's out there (two of my favorites as far as tone goes besides playing). I think it has a lot to do with the playing itself as well as the instrument and strings and the amp. I think on my end though what I probably need to do is start micing the cab in addition to the direct signal.
Old 11th May 2009
  #7
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I usually try and make sure all of the notes are translating evenly to start with. Then I look at the balance between the fundamental and the upper octaves.
It's not unusual for someone to have added low end in a fairly cavalier manner when tracking. If they do that, and then stuff it in to a compressor, the upper octaves of the bass will get lost when balanced into a mix. For a bass guitar to sound distinct in a mix, the relationship of it's top end to the other instruments is as important as the relationship of the bottom end.
Try using your low shelf to roll off craploads of bottom from 80hz down, turn the bass up in the mix until you feel the top end is speaking well against the other instruments, and then add bass back in until it sounds like it has a good relationship with the other bottom end instruments.
Old 11th May 2009
  #8
I sometimes find myself kind of 'mixing as I play'. I was just doing it just now on an accoustic part. As the bass moved down to lower notes, I leaned more towards the higher strings. As the bass moved up to higher notes, I leaned more towards the lower strings, so that the overall level of lower end density was kind of staying the same but the two were staying out of each other's way more.

Of course it's better in some cases to just arrange it so that they stay out of each other's hair even more, but in this case (and I think that this is an important point) the bass and accoustic parts are intended to really blend and sound like one thing. Sometimes you want separation, sometimes you don't. Sometimes having the bass and guitars sound like one big instrument is what the song wants, and other things can float over that. Sometimes you want them quite separated, because other things are going to live in between.
Old 11th May 2009
  #9
jhg
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Room, space, hi frequencies

Like stated, make room for the bass track. High pass filters are your friend. But in this instance, there is a bunch of zing up around 2.5k, that unbroken in new strings sound. Actually, unbroken in new string zing is a pretty good 10x fast one. Well, not really. But, some of that definition can be brought out when eq'ing higher than you'd expect.

This post was also brought to you by mixing the bass listening/checking a lot on auratones/avantones.
Old 11th May 2009
  #10
Vum
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Trying mixing the bass in last. I believe that is how a lot of the Beatles stuff was done.
Old 11th May 2009
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vum View Post
Trying mixing the bass in last. I believe that is how a lot of the Beatles stuff was done.
Thats funny I prefer to start with the bass and vocals. I personally feel those two should be the foundation both musically and subsequently eq wise. Also in the mix I linked to in my first post it sounds that the mix was started with the bass and everything else is worked around it.
Old 11th May 2009
  #12
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warhead's Avatar
 

Have the bassist go through one take while sitting in the control room, and play with his tone and pickups within each song and see if that helps. As far as tracking goes, a DI and bass guitar with great midrange response is what is really needed to get a bass to stand out. A lot of people are wowed by big boomy bass tracks in solo, but you rarely get to keep all that stuff during mixdown.

And I almost always bring in drums, guitars and keys before bass when I mix but that's just me.

War
Old 11th May 2009
  #13
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When you guys listen to the track I posted a link to in my first post does it sound like it was mic'd with an amp, DI or a combination. To me it just seems to have this sense of space around that I am having trouble getting. Also it is just so tight dynamically in combination to that sense of space. Does he just have that great dynamic control over the bass or is he getting help from a compressor you think?
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