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Low End Frequency Problem

So I've been mixing my bands various demos for about a year now and had been mixing on a pair of klipsch computer speakers before I actually got into this stuff, now a pair of KRK V6s. I've done all this mixing in the same room (my bedroom) and from the first mix to the latest one, the same problem, as soon as I take the mix somewhere else and listen to it (especially car speakers) the bass drum is always way too loud and distorts the speakers if turned up to a reasonable volume.

So I'm pretty unsure as to what's causing the problem. I always mix, compress and EQ the bass drum to where it sounds good in my room (and often get compliments on it) and the problem never showed up on the computer speakers, and now doesnt show up on the KRKs. A few things that I do know are that the computer speakers had a pretty powerful sub that could handle loud low frequencies pretty well so if they were too loud the sub probably just absorbed them and played them back somewhat gracefully, and also the KRKs seem to completely drop out below a certain frequency and this is most likely where the offending bass frequencies begin so it doesn't pick up.

My other thought is that my room might have a lot to do with it. I don't know what kind of room modes I have but I'm starting to think my room might be bass deficient and so I'm overcompensating without knowing it.

Anyone have a similar problem and find the answer? Or any possible other things I should take in to consideration?



Pro Audio Guest Thu, 08/26/2010 - 22:44
Try a lo cut in the bass drum. There can be a lot of rumble below what you really need in the sound. Start at 20 hz with a gentle slope, maybe 12bb, and then move the frequency up slowly until you feel it loses punch. Then go back down slowly until it fattens up again. Now you can experiment with slopes and frequencies, but you are in the ball park. Do the same with the bass. Actually I do lo cuts on every track, to free up headroom.

soapfloats Thu, 08/26/2010 - 23:22
Both Neil and Remy have wonderful advice for you -
I would know, as my near-cube of a room is a nightmare for modes and nulls.
Just be advised that it's not necessarily as simple as slapping in some bass traps willy-nilly.
That probably would help, but a good room test will tell you where the problem frequencies are, and allow you to treat more properly.
Also consider your monitor placement and mix position in the room. Sure, you sleep there, but aren't you willing to move the furniture to get a better mix? You may find adjusting placement, position, and other furniture will make a big difference, BEFORE you treat.

Finally, in addition to the "standards" as reference, it's a good idea to spend some time w/ a quality, major recording that is in the ballpark of what you want to sound like.
Know how Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, and sound like on your monitors in your room, and you'll save a lot of time and frustration.

Hope that helps

amishsixstringer Thu, 03/15/2007 - 12:41
You're exactly right. Your room sucks. Don't feel bad. Most rooms are HORRIBLE for low end. You need some bass traps in a bad way. How close are your speakers to the wall? Keep them at least a foot away from the wall. It's not that your room is bass deficient or whatever. The deal is that you have modes AND nulls in your low end. THerefore you probably have a null somewhere around 40-70Hz (which is pretty common) that you over compensate for with your mixes. When you go to a place that doesn't have that same null as your room, those frequencies will be overwhelming. That's why you can't tell on either set of speakers...because they're in the same room. You really need some bass traps in the many as you can get. Then you'll start to understand.


Pro Audio Guest Thu, 03/15/2007 - 12:50
Right now we're doing nothing but tracking so I havent put the money into treating my room for sound yet.. I was going to do that in a few months when we were done.

Anyway, I always thought bass traps reduced bass frequencies that were inaccurately loud due to reflections. Wouldn't this just help you to not mix the bass too low? How would this help a you hear a lack of bass in a certain frequency?

amishsixstringer Thu, 03/15/2007 - 13:02
That is a horrible missunderstanding that MANY people have. Bass traps dont' KILL bass. Most people actually will say that they hear more bass in a properly treated room. Bass traps EVEN the bottom end out. They don't cut it. It's not like an EQ. You're masking your nulled frequencies with the overwhelming modal frequencies. The frequencies that were nullen before DO EXIST. You just don't hear them because they're cancelled out by themselves bouncing in the room. Therefore, if you trap those frequencies as well, they will not cancel eachother and your null will actually get more percieved volume.

If you're tracking instruments in that same room...guess what? You're even worse off now. Now say you have a build up of 125Hz in your room. You track in that room. All your instrument tracks now have a build up of 125Hz. Now you go to mix in that same room. You're going to have a really..umm un-flat perspective of what is really happening.

RemyRAD Fri, 03/16/2007 - 01:14
Bierce85, there is another problem that you are having.

Before I start mixing any sessions, regardless of control rooms, whether it's my control room or somebody else's, I always have to start with a reference of some sort, to get my ears prepped. What reference are you using before you begin your mixing?? Right. I didn't think so?

I use a series of CDs that are very well known by major recording artists such as Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, TOTO, Steely Dan, et al the old stuff and some of my own recordings which ain't shabby. I really love and respect George Massenburg, Roger Nichols, Bruce Swdien. I know them all and have spoken with them numerous times. I don't however pick their brains about recording technique. For that, I just listen and try to envision what is being done. I use those recordings as my references and not some kind of rap crap with ridiculous, keyed, 60 hertz oscillator bass notes. So if I make my recordings sound like those well known, finely executed recordings, there's no problems, regardless of rooms or speakers. Now making your recordings sound like those recordings is a big order and not necessarily attainable, without the proper knowledge, technique and experience, not to mention the proper equipment. It's not like most people can sit down and create a platinum mix with fast food hamburgers. But it is simpler, when its simpler. And for that, you must also realize that little speakers just cannot produce the kind of bass that larger speakers with larger cabinets can. So when your bass sounds tight and thin on those little speakers, you're probably in the ballpark.

Formerly tight and thin. Now, almost 52
Ms. Remy Ann David