Getting that deep, pro bass sound

Davedog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2001
Location
Pacific NW
I would move the track that is a bit behind the beat of everything else. So, checking each track separately with the drums is essential in choosing this.

There are times and styles that a little lazy lag of the bass is essential. So what I just said might not hold true every time. But in general I will move the lagging track....most likely the mic'd bass cab.
 

dvdhawk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Location
Western Pennsylvania, USA
MadMax said:
No more cab mic'ing for me, unless I just gotta' please someone...

REDDI


Cut out what you don't want

Print it

End of story

Done

Dang, another device to lust after .....


100% agree with Davedog, a lot of the tone comes from the bass player. And there are a lot of EQ variations depending on their technique (picks, fingers, thumb & fingers, popping, thumb-slap)

And I don't know about anybody else, but I find the frequencies notched out of a rock kick drum depend the key of the song? Rock is by nature very repetitive and there are going to be several freqs. that I don't want to cut out of the bass. I don't think you ever want to rob the bass guitar of fundamental frequencies relevant to the musical notes in the chord progression.
 

MadMax

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2001
Location
Sunny & warm NC
I generally only cut the frequencies out of the bass that are contributing mud and woof... and anything that may be masking some low end plank, and rarely keys that may be happening that need detail.

Needless to say, you only cut the minimum to bring out what's being covered. You don't really need to notch it too much... just whatever it takes to uncover what needs to be brought out.
 
R

rp911

Guest
Thanks for all the replies, been busy out gigging and recording.

The music the band plays is Grateful Dead music, so the bass is really vital to the whole thing, it needs to have that solid "move you" bottom and be very articulate at the same time.

(I realize the Dead is not everyone's cup of tea, but they certainly moved the bar a long way with live sound reinforcement back in the day, and actually were a driving force with the development of Meyer Sound.)

I feel the bass should be the lowest in what we're after, with the kick on top -- kicks, actually, two drummers.

It's pretty challenging to get it done with two drummers and 16 inputs.

We recorded last weekend with the bass -- Modulus Quantum 6 direct only -- results were a bit better but still not "there" to my ears.

It doesn't help that I'm a total newbie and don't really have much idea what I am doing ... LOL

Results are on archive.org and can be streamed ...

Melodyne

Two night later, I played in a 4-piece at a large pro-level club in Boston with the same bassist and a tremendous new sound system, bunch of 18" subs and a mountain of power amps ... now THAT was the bass sound we are looking for. Of course, we were just supporting with a 1-hour set, so I didn't get a chance to bug the soundman about it.
 

MadMax

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2001
Location
Sunny & warm NC
OK, listening through the set, a couple of significant things jump out.

Too much LF interaction between the kick's and bass. Trim a lot of that 60Hz stuff out of there. Bass is really much higher with only an insignificant bunch of harmonics down that low. They're important, but since they're sympathetic in nature, forcing them is just adding mush and mud.

Get some more brightness in there. If you define the attack, you "hear" the low thump a bit more. Get some added thump in the rump by gettin' a decent amount of compression on that thing too. Get the compressor breathin' a bit and you add some life to the bass line. As it is, it just kinda' lays there.

Kik drums are tuned a bit off as well, which is adding some additional mud. Work with your drummers and bass player to find the two most played bass notes. Get those kick drums tuned to each of those two notes' fundamentals. That and lopping off some of the stuff below even 100Hz will get you some "umph" when you start to compress the kicks a bit more.

Back the guitars down a few db. They're just a tad too loud... same with the vox... You've got the balance off a bit, which is probably cornfusing you a bit; Dynamically, this is how traditional mixing is done
Vox on top by 3db (odb)
snare (s) 3 db below vox
Kik, bass and toms are 3 db below the snare.
Guits and keys should be a nice blend at the same level, just separated more.
 

jg49

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
Location
Frozen Tundra of CT
Madmax"Get those kick drums tuned to each of those two notes' fundamentals."
Not certain exactly what you meant here. Like tune the drum for example to E1= 41.20 Hz or C2 =65.41 Hz if they were the two most played bass notes? Granted I picked these two notes at random though the corresponding hertz are correct.
 

MadMax

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2001
Location
Sunny & warm NC
Exactly... E1 or E2, and C2 or C3... sometimes you can't quite get the fundamental because the drum just won't tune to it.

The reason to tune to two different notes is to differentiate between the two kicks.

You can tune them to the same note, but IIRC, that was one of the ways that the GD got their "sound"... tuning to two different notes.

What was interesting when I saw them live, many years ago, was that they actually panned the drums slightly opposite the side that each kit was on.
 
R

rp911

Guest
Fascinating!

Thanks so much for the feedback ... can you suggest some basic compression settings for the bass and kicks? I am try to learn as much as possible and compression is a dark mystery to me right now.

So you suggest high passing the bass around 60hz? I had the kicks highpassed around 120 hz, as I recall. I have only the compressor on the board, which has:

threshold
ratio
attack
release
gain

I'm the lead guitar player in the band, no surprise I mixed the guitar too loud. Lately I have been playing through a Fractal Audio AxeFX straight into the board, no amp, no speakers, no nothing. Works surprisingly well.
 
N

NCdan

Guest
I had the kicks highpassed around 120 hz, as I recall.

:shock: Now maybe the bass really will be sitting below the kicks, but high passing at 120 seems rather extreme. Boosting from 100-120 Hz will really bring out the fatness of a bass drum, so if you want the kick to sit above the bass, you might boost around there somewhere and high pass around 60-70 Hz. But maybe I'm a bit biased since I'm a drummer first. 8)

If the bass really is going to sit below the bass drum, I probably wouldn't bother high passing, but you certainly can. Boosting the bass right in the area where the kick drum is attenuated should work well, so if the kick is high passed at 70, then giving the bass a couple db's boost there should help fill out the sound nicely, and most importantly, make it sound like all the subs that should be there are there. But I like to hear the subs, so I may be a bit biased there as well. :wink:
 

MadMax

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2001
Location
Sunny & warm NC
Not so much doing a 60Hz cut off...

A lot of folks start recording and think that they have to have all this super low end in the mix... say a nice big fat bubble around 60Hz that extends from about 120 down to 40. You don't need to boost that stuff.... AT ALL! Not unless you really know that there's stuff down there.

Boosting all that LF mud is just gonna cloudy up a mix.

Bass really centers around 400-ish, which thankfully, makes a kick sound pretty hollow. So, you can generally carve a bit of a hole out of the kick at around 400, and open up the hole in the bass to make it fit.

So, lets look at 400Hz. The downward harmonics of 400 are 200, 100, 50 and 25.

If you gently roll off from 200 down on the bass, the meat of a kick can be down in the same 100 to 200 range. So when you're boosting both bass and kick in the same range, they become additive and add mud. When you take into account 60Hz hum, room noise from air handlers, etc... it just gets nasty.

You gotta learn to control it a bit by first, not boosting unless its called for, and second, keeping kicks and bass from washing over the top of each other.

Again, one of the best ways to accomplish this is through gentle EQ. It doesn't work every time, but try approaching it that way, and THEN decide if you need cut the guts out of whatever is poo, and gas whatever is gold.

Make sense?
 
R

rp911

Guest
It does ... what I was trying to do with the high pass filters was keep stuff out of each other's way in the very low end, i.e., no high pass at all on the bass, kicks at 120hz, piano-organ left hand a bit above than that, drum overheads way up, and so on.

I did essentially zero EQ on the overall mix except a very slight brightening way up high.

Can you suggest a good online resource to get a rudimentary understanding of compression?
 

dvdhawk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Location
Western Pennsylvania, USA
I'm just going to paste in an explanation I gave someone on another thread.

As simple as I can make it -

First you set a "Threshold" - any signal below that level is not affected by the compressor, any signal above that point gets reduced by the amount determined in the next step -

Secondly you will set a "Compression Ratio" - if you set it for instance at a 4:1 ratio that means that for every 4 dB the incoming signal goes above the "Threshold" only 1 dB will pass through to the output.


The benefit is - now you can keep the loud passages from getting out of control, which lets you turn up the quieter parts, knowing you have the compressor watching the peaks don't get too loud.

What gets 'compressed' is the dynamics. It is lessening the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of the track. If you know what I mean....

This is a very general overview I hope that helps.
 

Davedog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2001
Location
Pacific NW
Repairs can be the most crazy-making part of all of this.

You can sit there for hours and really, during that time, you can train your ears to hear what you think you want....only to play it back the next day and realize that you werent even close.

Which brings us to those words you've all heard before....'well recorded track....'

The greatest aspect about a well-recorded-track is that it will tend to mix itself.

In learning the song....by listening to it from the beginning before recording....an engineer can then chose the mic techniques he wants to use and these can tailor the function of the lowend instruments to his advantage at mix.

How the kick is mic'd and tuned....how the bass is recorded...what effect the guitars and keys are having on the bottom-end.....if you're doing it all at once and live, where your placements of the instruments relative to each other in the room effects the overall recording.

If you didnt do the recording originally and are mixing, then you can understand what those guys get the large dollar for.

If its getting really impossible to get the kick and bass separated, then you need to employ 'tricks'. BBE one of em. I dont usually recommend these thingys but they do work well in bringing a single part to the front or at least giving it some of its own space without a bunch of manipulation.

Access to an Aphex Compellor or an Expressor channel will help a lot.

Side chaining the kick with an EQ in FRONT of the compressor will give you dynamic control over ONLY the frequencies you choose.

Like I said.....tricks.
 
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