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Pflumpf (spelling?) of bass drum a result of soft clip?

I'm trying to get that smooth high frequency pflumpf (did I spell it right?) of the bass drum in professionally mastered songs. Is it just an artifact of a really expernsive volume maximizer with soft clip? Or of tape saturation? Do my ears deceive me that the soft clipping is also a bit wider in the stereo field?

I tried to recreate it by automating a few decibles of high end EQ boost every time there was a spike in bass volume. In other words, every time my single-band compressor triggers from a bass peak, a decible or two of high EQ is added only for the duration of the gain reduction with the same attack and release setting of the compressor.

In the end, though, it didn't sound the same, although a little closer to the sound I'm hearing in the pro stuff. Any hints?


MadMax Sun, 04/30/2006 - 05:01
I'm in Graham. Just down 87.

The sound I think you're describing, is a combination of channel EQ, gain(saturation), and an analoge "artifact" from the compressor.

I don't suspect it's from the mastering process as much as the responsibility of the mixer... If it's only the kick that's supposed to have the plumpf, then it would be almost impossible , (high frequency component), to achieve in the mastering stage without it being all over the entire mix... but I could be plenty wrong.

Do you have any analog insert points? If so, gimme' a shout and maybe I could bring a couple of comps by to see if that's indeed what you are lookin' for.


Pro Audio Guest Sun, 04/30/2006 - 15:21
Thanks for all the help. Here's the weird situation... I'm in Costa Rica for another few weeks, but I'll be back this summer, so maybe we could meet up then. I have a friend who just built a studio in Chapel Hill, so maybe we could all go get coffee one day.

Also, everything I do is 100% digital (poor college kid + Reason 3.0 = the closest I'm gonna get to making decent-sounding music). So the challenge is getting that analog sound right from the start. You're right that in the mastering stage the effect is added over the entire mix, but at least to my ears, it sounds pretty good. I feel like it brings focus to the kick while at the same time letting it sit nicely in the mix.

I've been remastering the song "Running" that's linked in my profile, and I used this kick technique in it. How does it sound to you (or anyone else reading this thread...)?

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.headchem…"]Running In Fall[/]="http://www.headchem…"]Running In Fall[/]

Michael Fossenkemper Mon, 05/01/2006 - 06:26
How much gain is happening on the high end with your technique? I feel that I hear it pump on the high end. You can try using it only in the middle channel, might reduce it. I still feel you are missing the bigger picture though. I think if you worked a bit more on your overall eq you would achieve more of what you are looking for. clear away some of the cloud and open it up.

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 05/01/2006 - 09:22
Here's a little more detail on how my method works. I have the original audio, and a duplicate with a high shelf gain of 6 dB and a really wide stereo field. The EQed audio is silent except during the bass peaks, where gain of the normal audio is reduced 2-4 dB, and is increased by the same amount in the EQed audio.

Now that I listen to it, I definitely hear a little high pumping. Are you recommending I add to the mid range, instead of the high end in this technique?

I've tried playing with the master EQ, but it doesn't bring that fluffly sound of analog distortion I think I hear on bass peaks in professional songs.

Michael Fossenkemper Mon, 05/01/2006 - 19:44
I would still work the eq some to clear it out a bit. Bring the frequency down that you are expanding and try it in M/S mode. Just expand what's in the center and not on the side. Also don't do so much. Try it, see if you can hear what it's doing to the vocals and whatever else. Sometimes you loose site of what it is doing to the overall picture. I still feel this is better tackled in the mix, but... at least it's a good exercise in what to listen for.