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mono bass freq in a mix

Discussion in 'Composing / Producing / Arranging' started by DonnyThompson, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Paging Chris, Thomas Bethel, other post engineers
    Okay guys, so here's a few questions... btw, anyone can chime in here.. I just picked Chris and Thomas because I know they work a lot in post production...

    I've recently been considering "mono-ing" mixes in the low end range.

    Do you guys do this?

    What are the benefits?

    What is the best way to do this ITB? I don't have the external gear that you guys have, but I recently downloaded a plug that allows me to mono the mix below any frequency range I select... ... is this viable?

    Should I strap this plug across the 2-bus?

  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I did it on your last mix. hehe! That ought to tell ya something :)
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    what was your low end corner frequency?
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm looking forward to Thomas chiming in. I'm scrutinizing over this and other questions about tightening up the center all the time. Bass is the thing I spend most of my day thinking about. I'm obsessed with bass, have been all my life actually.

    Mono bass! Oh ya... one day I say, ya! I'm doing this all the time, then the next mix comes along and I don't even try it because it can get too big.

    If you can control the mix, it can be really useful most of time, it can be the secret weapon. Its definitely a very useful tool. This was essential from my understanding with vinyl.
    If you don't have control over the bass though, or if the bass is too strong in a master, it can make it too big or be the perfect thing. It always centered the bass, great for the Kick . It will pull the side in and drop off where your filter is set. A good program allows you to sweep the rolloff where it goes back to stereo. I like it somewhere between 125 to 250.

    Sequoia has a really nice mastering section with mono bass as part of it. I love it. But, its not for every mix.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Around 150hz. I also didn't mono it hard. I mean by this... Sequoia has a setting which allows you to bleed a bit into the sides. So you can adjust the effect to taste for both full on and freq rolloff.
    It helped the bottom on your beautiful mix. . I pulled the sides in for both the Vox /bass of everything in the mix and this became more focused. I then used the MEQ-5's to dip a spot too. And then I used the LA2A's volume setting to control the M/S even more. So, its not just a one step process for me. And what I do, is all part of my system which may make no sense to the next guy.

    For electronic drums, wow, a very cool process to get a kick right in your balls, feet, 10th floor of a hotel :)

    I like it but I've read others don't.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Phase is another issue but you don't need to worry about that because you know what you are doing. Other people will say its a bad thing because they may be using a stereo keyboard with very wide effects and/or the typical simulator that goes into null / phase land mono'd.
    I bet Thomas has some stories on this and very useful tricks??

    I say try Donny, it's a very useful process when its right.

    To add more while I sitting in a restaurant waiting for curry (yummy).... think of it as an upside-down triangular approach to mixing. Wings on the side and the bass right on the floor in front of you.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Donny, you're not recording your bass guitar in stereo? Are ya?

    So he just wants to do what vinyl mastering required, back in the day. And ya can do it with just an analog console and a couple of equalizers.

    Want to make it easier? Get something like a RANE, Mojo, electronic speaker crossover.. Loop that back through your analog console. Collapse to mono everything below 250 Hz. EH VOILĂ€! But why? We're not doing vinyl, much, anymore. And if ya did? The vinyl mastering engineer would take care of that for ya, anyhow.

    Want a solid center? Use noise gates on the drums. Use a 1176 on a bass guitar. Or just overdrive a Neve or an API for some real "Mojo" and not just something that's a product name by another company.

    Here try this:
    View: https://soundcloud.com/remyrad/track08

    How much more solid low-end Center do you need? And this is off the secondary side of the splitter. It is through the Neve, of course. All wireless. All cheap digital reverbs. All cheap microphones. Except for those Sennheiser 421's on the drums. All of them. SM-81's on overheads. Single mono feed of digital keyboards through an SPX-90 Type II. KEPEX-1's on all the drums that have also been compressed/limited by 1176's, DBX's. The rest of the low-frequency stuff that isn't summed below 250 Hz, shouldn't be that big an issue?

    What are ya trying to get? I don't get it? But then sometimes, I'm completely clueless.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    On that cut, the ancillary Latin Percussion,the stereo is phase inverted for an extrawide feel of the LP. If you were to sum that to mono, below 250 Hz, it would simply destroy the warm integrity of the Latin Percussion. That would become thin and nondescript.

    Bottom line is, I did not intend this mix to go to vinyl. I didn't intend for it to be played in mono. I took liberties to achieve a certain sound, via digital and TV and FM delivery. If I knew this was going to go to vinyl? I would have never done that, without some extra trickery. But that would be assuming a remix, after-the-fact and not live for broadcast. Which this was.

    That's why I don't get the attraction to old-fashioned vinyl disk mastering, stereo and frequency manipulations? Unless it's going to vinyl? And of course, there are those folks today whom are doing that. The biggest still existing pressing plant in the country is over there in Nashville, Tennessee. It's a huge building! They turn out over 50,000 per day.

    So yeah and no and yeah. I'm almost most certainly, nearly 100% positive?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Nice track, Remy.

    You bring up an interesting point though... it's not completely out of the realm of possibility that this project could see vinyl.

    I engineered quite a few recordings that ended up on vinyl when I was first starting out ( '78 -ish) and you're right, the mastering house always took care of the mono/low end.

    I've been hearing Chris and some others talk about mono'ing the freqs below 120hz or so, and thought I'd have a bash at it. It was more out of curiosity than any glaring need.

    I do not, however, have the gear that you or Chris does.
    No Neve, no API, no Trident. And, I've been console-less for quite sometime now, if you exclude the Yamaha 02R I have that is currently collecting dust in the closet...so I'm pretty much all ITB these days...

    I found a plug that does what it says it will do... you can select the corner frequency, and adjust the width. It seems to work fine, I tried setting the corner freq at 8 k and Voila! I had a mono mix coming out of my speakers.

    I guess I was just curious. But yeah, there is the possibility that this project I'm working on could see vinyl. It's got an old school - blue eyed soul vibe to it... it would feel right at home next to my early Hall and Oates and Ambrosia LP's. ;)
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ya, nice track Remy.
  12. TomLewis

    TomLewis Active Member

    I feel that if the bass track is a stereo track that is essentially dual mono (exactly the same thing in each track) then it is really no different than a mono track, and that there would be no benefit by mono-ing it, although for a night my Roland unit lost a track (it's only 17 years old now) and I mono-ed the existing left channel to get a project moving along.

    But I characteristically layer three basses. I use a white-bread patch as my main bass, and I roll that off at about 45 so that the deep lows don't interfere with the boom of the kick. I fit the low bass, the low boom of the kick, the higher bass, and the beater sound of the kick all in on different frequency bands as much as is possible so that they interlock together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle spectrum-wise, and I choose patches that try to not interfere with each other frequency-wise. That and a little sidechain comp seems to get the bass and kick out of each other's way.

    Then I have a Roland bass patch that I mix in underneath that adds just a bit of honk to the sound, and a synth bass patch that adds a little pick bite. I roll those both off at 125 or so to prevent destructive interference with the low part of the main bass and the kick.

    I think bass should be centered, of course. So I center the main bass, maybe pan it just a click or two and then pan the kick a click or two the other direction. Then I pan the honk bass and the bite bass patches slightly R and L, which gives a wide stereo sound to the bass yet keeps the bottom completely centered. What I end up with as an awesome monster bass sound.

    But if I was recording a cabinet live, I would do it isolated, mono using one mic, and maybe layer that with the DI.

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