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What am I constantly messing up in the low end?!
Old 14th July 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 

What am I constantly messing up in the low end?!

With the exception for a couple of hardware synths, I write and compose my music ITB, using my DAW as an instrument of its own. To maintain sanity, I have since a couple of months started having two projects. One for composition and production, and one for mixing. It seems to be a decent way of doing things because I am able to put out more songs, faster. But lately I seem to have hit the wall in a way when it comes to low end mixing. I had it on my penultimate track and I finished one today with the same issue.

I finish it in my (new) studio and reference on both monitors and headphones, and when I listen back to it on Soundcloud through other headphones, I hear a lot of issues going on between sub and kick.

I work with MB compression, EQ and volume automation where necessary but it still doesn't reach the desired outcome. I meticulously lower and boost each and every other harmonic if I have a rolling type of bass and high low cut every track with a lot of bass energy at 25 Hz. Most other things I roll off at 130 Hz. I use VU meters on everything and I keep a safe headroom. On my master bus I've been more and more careful with maximisers but I always reference with a loudness meter plug-in to see if I'm in the right range for the different streaming platforms.

I'm writing here in the hopes of somebody more skilled than me can tell me what's going on here.

It's hard to point out the most problematic area but it's ongoing between 0:30 to 2:55, give or take.



Much thanks for taking your time.
Old 15th July 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Casanovas View Post

I meticulously lower and boost each and every other harmonic if I have a rolling type of bass and high low cut every track with a lot of bass energy at 25 Hz.
You seem to be working according to some formula I’ve never heard of. Where did you get this “every other harmonic” idea? It may be common in genres I don’t follow, but It is new to me.

I hate to bring this up, because it seems to piss a lot of people off, but the most common reason why competent people with good ears can’t get their low end as they like it is due to mixing in rooms that aren’t properly treated in the low end.

I hear instrument levels jumping up and down for no apparent reason after 30 seconds. I don’t know if the cause is processing or something you are doing deliberately. It sounds odd to me.

Last edited by Bushman; 15th July 2019 at 04:28 AM.. Reason: Forgot to respond about track
Old 15th July 2019
  #3
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
You seem to be working according to some formula I’ve never heard of. Where did you get this “every other harmonic” idea? It may be common in genres I don’t follow, but It is new to me.

I hate to bring this up, because it seems to piss a lot of people off, but the most common reason why competent people with good ears can’t get their low end as they like it is due to mixing in rooms that aren’t properly treated in the low end.

I hear instrument levels jumping up and down for no apparent reason after 30 seconds. I don’t know if the cause is processing or something you are doing deliberately. It sounds odd to me.

Every other harmonic is a psychedelic trance trick I picked up from, I think, Sonic Elysium.

Thanks for taking your time to write something. I mentioned I have a new studio because for the first time I'm working at a proper desk and I have just a couple of days ago installed my kit of panels from GIK Acoustics that I paid good money for. I guess it's a matter of repetition now until I understand what's happening in this room. Let's hope that at least before we blame the quality of my ears

Another thing that helps me along the way are making posts like this. I have received a good answer and implemented those tricks on the track and it's getting there!

Which instrument levels do you hear jumping up and down? I have automated the volume of the sub due to the irregularities in the energy I perceive while listening back to it. After compression and after EQ I still can't "tame" it in any other way.
Old 15th July 2019
  #4
Gear Head
I don't engineer a lot of records for other artists other than myself at the moment but I like how dynamic this mix is, at least to my ears. The dynamics definitely aren't boring.

I'd say maybe just a bit less fluctuation in volume between the loudest parts and the lowest parts, if that makes sense. I'm not going to comment much on the low end at the moment since I'm listening to this cheap earbuds, right now. I'll check the mix later today on my monitors and sub and see if the low end issues are standing out more there.
Old 15th July 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
This is not my genre, so I’m listening with a rock/pop/soul background. The thing that bothers me is that the almost constant kick changes level when other LF instruments play behind it. If I’m not imagining it, I also hear the kick change level depending on the exact note or chord played behind it. Maybe that is a creative decision, but it sounds like an overall LF comp or limiter that is pulling the kick down inconsistently depending on the frequency and level of other LF information.
I do like the sound of each element and the blend of percussive things, pads and reverberant air behind things. Panning and levels of the elements that are not mainly LF sound good to me. From the overall result, it doesn’t seem like you have a monitor problem.
BUT... the level variations I mentioned sound more “off” on systems without much or any LF response. For example, if I listen on the tiny iPad speakers, I really hear the kick change level without hearing the LF pads beneath it, so the song goes “weak” at those points.
I don’t know if any of this will help you pinpoint anything, but I’m trying to kick my impressions back to you in the hope it helps you get where you want to go.
Old 16th July 2019
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
This is not my genre, so I’m listening with a rock/pop/soul background. The thing that bothers me is that the almost constant kick changes level when other LF instruments play behind it. If I’m not imagining it, I also hear the kick change level depending on the exact note or chord played behind it. Maybe that is a creative decision, but it sounds like an overall LF comp or limiter that is pulling the kick down inconsistently depending on the frequency and level of other LF information.
I do like the sound of each element and the blend of percussive things, pads and reverberant air behind things. Panning and levels of the elements that are not mainly LF sound good to me. From the overall result, it doesn’t seem like you have a monitor problem.
BUT... the level variations I mentioned sound more “off” on systems without much or any LF response. For example, if I listen on the tiny iPad speakers, I really hear the kick change level without hearing the LF pads beneath it, so the song goes “weak” at those points.
I don’t know if any of this will help you pinpoint anything, but I’m trying to kick my impressions back to you in the hope it helps you get where you want to go.
This is top notch feedback. Thanks a lot, it is of great help. It made me look into the MB compression I had applied on the Kick/Sub group and I toned it down drastically. I only discovered the issue that made me post here in the first place when I listened to it on my Jabra wireless headphones for my phone. In the studio or with my ref headphones it sounds pristine so I think it's a matter of learning to recognise which technical decisions translate poorly to consumer earbuds and work on it. I'm uploading version 1.3 now as I'm writing this and I think I have to give it a rest after these implemented changes you and other posters helped me with. It probably still is going to sound problematic but I will have to clean my ears and get back to it later...
Old 16th July 2019
  #7
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sance21 View Post
I don't engineer a lot of records for other artists other than myself at the moment but I like how dynamic this mix is, at least to my ears. The dynamics definitely aren't boring.

I'd say maybe just a bit less fluctuation in volume between the loudest parts and the lowest parts, if that makes sense. I'm not going to comment much on the low end at the moment since I'm listening to this cheap earbuds, right now. I'll check the mix later today on my monitors and sub and see if the low end issues are standing out more there.


Thanks! It's the first mix I do in a long time without slapping a maximiser on the end. That might contribute to the deep feel.

I would love to hear what you have to say on the low end! Thanks for taking your time.
Old 16th July 2019
  #8
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Casanovas View Post
Thanks! It's the first mix I do in a long time without slapping a maximiser on the end. That might contribute to the deep feel.

I would love to hear what you have to say on the low end! Thanks for taking your time.
Not a problem. I think Bushman went a bit more in-depth with his analysis but I'll check it on the monitors tonight. I have a pair of Yamaha HS8s with the HS8 sub, so any problems with the low end should be apparent. There's definitely some analog sounding elements in there that I heard create a decent space between the sounds though.
Old 12th August 2019
  #9
Here for the gear
love how pure the intro synths sound, the snares drum sound a bit thin on the intro.

nice song though
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
I would add that there seems to be a predominance of material on the right side of the stereo field in a couple of sections which really throws me off, nothing or not enough to balance on the other side.

I'm listening on headphones so it's obviously more pronounced but..

Examples:

The closed hat type sound that comes in at 0.22 is mostly right with some centre, nothing ever appears to counter it properly.

From 0.45 where the 1/32 bass synth comes in all the way through to 1.20 is all over the right hand side, the whole mix feels completely wonky, makes me feel a bit seasick!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Head
get sonarworks.
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