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Hey all, I need a bit of advice on a song I'm about to master. I'm in the middle of mixing and mastering three songs - then judging how it all comes out and what mistakes I may have made. This is in prep for 'real' recordings later.
I've mixed and gotten prof. mastered one song and the bass/bottom end translates well to all systems it's played on. Now, when I was mixing that song, referring to two different monitors, the bass end was never very strong and I mixed it that way. But now, it translates just fine.
Meanwhile, I've just finished mixing another song where I wanted the bottom end much heavier - certainly it's coming out much heavier in pre-masters than the other song did. Yet people who hear it on smaller speakers are saying the bass end isn't there too much.
Will mastering change this or do I need to remix? And even if I did - the bass is totally as loud as it could be without going into the "too much" zone.
Any comments?

Michael M.

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joe lambert Wed, 12/17/2003 - 06:00

Proper mastering will change it. It sounds like you may have a lot of sub bass (60Hrz and lower) which won't translate on small speakers.

Of course I haven't heard the song so I don't know how far it can come with mastering. But at the vey least if done correctly it should sound consistant on a variety of monitors.

anonymous Thu, 12/18/2003 - 09:19


especially for this problem, the recreation of subbass on smaller speakers you might want to take a look at Waves MaxxBass.
It achives the replication of frequenies that are below the specs. of the speaker trough psychoacoustic processing like you find it in the pipes of church-organs.

Best Greets,
Lorenz @ XARC Mastering

Ammitsboel Fri, 12/19/2003 - 11:19

I agree with Michael.
If you put maxxbass over your mix you will change the tonal charactor and quality of the material.
This is not good with Classical, Jazz, Rock and other music with instruments that have an acoustic real life charactor.

I'm not to keen with something that changes or you could say modulates the sound as much as the maxxbas does.

If the low end sound good in the full range monitors then just use some gentle EQ to fix the problem like Michael said. And by doing this you will probably hear that the music get's more homogenic(high,mid and bass fits better together).
Then you have a better homogenic sound in the full range's wich also translates well on smaller speakers.

I haven't heard your material so I can't say that this will work 100%, but try it out and se how it turns out.

Best Regards.

anonymous Fri, 12/19/2003 - 12:58

Well the usage of Maxxbass really depends on the material and for what you would need it.
Of course for acoustic material it can be harming the sound. But if you are limited by the capability of your playbacksystem that it is intended for and want to go psychoacousticly beyond that - EQ´ing won´t help you much.
Maxbass achieves the perceived deeper bass by adding harmonic content above and depending on the fundamental note. Therefore simulating the frequency that is under it.
I would give it a shot as i find it to give pleasing results most of the time if you don´t go with high compression ratios within Maxxbass.
Especially because you have fewer subbass in your mix after Maxxbass and can go even higher with the RMS while it still sounds "the same" as before.

"Mastering engineer Bob Katz says it best: “Waves MaxxBass is a great new mastering tool. MaxxBass has the uncanny ability to sharpen a muddy bass line without distrubing the vocal or other instruments.”MaxxBass patent pending technology boosts the bass of any source material, on speakers of any size, by adding a series of harmonics that stimulate a psycho-acoustic bass-enhancing effect — a phenomenon that small speakers rely on to play audible bass. MaxxBass simply maximizes this know acoustical phenomenon. With dynamic graphics and simple controls, MaxxBass can produce better low end on all speakers, from studio monitors to laptop computer speakers. From mastering to site-specific mixing, you’ll always have great low end!"

AudioGaff Fri, 12/19/2003 - 13:14

Especially because you have fewer subbass in your mix after Maxxbass and can go even higher with the RMS while it still sounds "the same" as before.

What? That doesn't even make sense. If after using maxbass it now has less sub bass and it is higher RMS, or more correctly higher average level, how can it be the same as before? And if it is the same as before, why bother the Maxxbass to start with? If the sub bass is the real and original problem, then dealing with it specificly would be where I would start, not just throwing on a bass enhancer that is very likely not needed.

Bob Katz says a lot of things, that doesn't make any of it the law. Most professionals know better than to believe word for word what anybody says, yet alone when quoted or mis-quoted for a paid sales ad. I guess when you do everything on-line you come to believe and buy into using products or services just from reading how great it is on their website. Sound familiar?

anonymous Fri, 12/19/2003 - 16:32

Audiogaff - my english, sorry.

I tried to say that after applying MaxxBass the mix will have fewer "real" subbass, because Maxxbass is replacing it with it´s psychoacoustic simulations, but it still sounds like it would be there - thats the trick about this.
Now as you know Subbass is causing the most problems and starts distorting at first when compressing or limiting to high, you can now safely push the mix a few dB higher because MaxxBass took care of that.

I don´t use it because Bob Katz does - i just said it works pretty well for me most of the time regarding the original questions of this thread.

Michael Fossenkemper Fri, 12/19/2003 - 17:10

Yes, low end is one of the most difficult things to deal with in mastering. depending on the style of music, the fundamental can be anywhere from 40hz to 250hz. Most of the time it's just a monitor problem at the mix stage either revealing to much or little below 100hz or so. I have used maxxbass with good success on a few occasions when it's just really bad mixing. but 9 times out of 10 a really good eq before a broadband really good compressor sounds much better and truer.

AudioGaff Sat, 12/20/2003 - 00:55

In reguards to Maxbass, "psychoacoustic simulations" is BS marketing speak, what specificly is being done? Is this just a fancy algorithm for removing sub bass but with additional processing of harmonic freqs targeting in the bass range? Seems like it might also be doing some sort of dynamic eq and/or band splitting with a variable eq curve based on low freg content?

anonymous Sat, 12/20/2003 - 05:29 has a actual deeper explanation with analyzing. It is actualy achieving this while adding harmonics above the original bass that makes you believe you hear the original bass - known effect from church organs when smaller churchs actually struggled for the sound of the "big" churchs they where simulating the tones that can´t be reproduced by their pipes because of size-limits with 2 smaller pipes putted into a calculated harmonic relationship.

anonymous Mon, 12/22/2003 - 13:47

It's basically the same effect as BBE Sonic Maximizer's low end treatment - introducing harmonic distortion in the 80-125Hz region to give an audible bass enhancement. Waves MaxxBass does take this a step farther by attenuating the sub-bass.

Personally, I'd rather just use a parametric, but that's me. MaxxBass has never been much use to me on two-channel mixed source material.