keeping your basses clean & big

Discussion in 'Production' started by JimpaDirt, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. JimpaDirt

    JimpaDirt Vettvilling

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    I'm having some issues with my basses and getting them sounding clean... I'm using a lot of distortion over and over while resampling and they obviously add some unwanted peaks. They mostly appear in the higher freq range as it seams. And I tend to always want to boost the highs as I feel like it adds 'energy' to the sound. I know how to go about and surgically eq out the peaks but my problem is that when you take these parts away from the sound it looses a lot of this 'energy'.

    So I'm wondering if anyone has some kind of magic trick up their sleeves that they would be willing to share? ;) Cheers!
     
  2. Psychoholic

    Psychoholic Quantum Cunt

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    compress the shit out of it?
     
  3. JimpaDirt

    JimpaDirt Vettvilling

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    Yeah.. well then those peaks that weren't all that bad just pops up and it's the same thing all over again. And I'm not that fond of compressing my stuff too much. It kind of makes your bass just sound flat and boring instead...

    Maybe I should just only use sine waves without any distortion and spare me all this trouble
     
  4. Psychoholic

    Psychoholic Quantum Cunt

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    Have you tried split frequency thingies yet? I split my basslines in 3 busses, one is low freqs only one is mid freqs and one is top end. Then tweak that shit, and I only distort the highs and mids to keep my lowend clean, then in the end I put them all together with a lil tad of compression to make it feel as one thing again. You could try that if you havent tried it before. It gives you lots of control and room to work with.
     
  5. JimpaDirt

    JimpaDirt Vettvilling

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    Yeah man I'm actually doing that already! But now that you mentioned it I got an idea.. perhaps I should low / hi pass my different tracks again to prevent the interference caused by the different kinds of distortion used on the lows / mids. I've always put my filter first in the FX chain, that might have been a bad idea?
     
  6. lostnthesound

    lostnthesound Burns Easily in the Sun

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    Don't be afraid to chop/roll-off/shelf a good amount of that high end. When you first do it, your ears will respond by convincing you that you've lost some of the definition/energy of that bass sound. The thing is, there is a high probability your ears have become "use" to hearing the hi frequencies and will tell your brain that their absence is causing more harm than good. But before you "undo" that edit, bounce a copy of the tune and play it on a couple different audio systems.

    I've found that sometimes taming that hi-end shit will not only open up space for other elements in the mix, but actually make the overall bass sound become a bit more clear & thick in the overall mix.

    This is certainly not a "rule" and will of course depend on the type of bass you're going for (amongst other factors). However, sometimes it's a good idea to ignore the first impression your ears tell you about the sound until you've tried the mix on other sound sources and/or have given your ears a bit of rest to prevent fatigue. I have often run into the problem where I think a vocal sounds too quiet in the mix, yet upon playing it back on a variety of systems it ends up sounds just right.

    If the above doesn't work, a bit of subtle low pass automation may tame the high-end while providing a bit of movement as well.

    Cheers.
     
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  7. JimpaDirt

    JimpaDirt Vettvilling

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    Thats a new way of looking at it! I'm certainly gonna play around with it... Perhaps I've always found it obvious to have those higher freqs just being there in my basslines.

    Great post, lost!
     
  8. Mr Fletch

    Mr Fletch aka KRONIX

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    Do you frequency split each time you resample? If not then I'd suggest doing this as each time you resample and add to the FX chain you will be boosting and dipping various frequencies. I created an audio rack within ableton specifically for splitting. So each time I resample, I simply throw on my saved freq splitter and it's automatically split into 4 bands (most people do 3 but I like to do 4).
     
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  9. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    how much distortion are you applying? its easy to over do it, if you are layering up your distortion, less is more (i often only use 5-10% on inital layers), aim for texture rather than all out crunch, it'll build up naturally, use things like Phase to add more texture in between your distortion layers

    and use EQ to sculpt the sound, but dont crank your highs up to much, distortion is adding hi-freq energy already, a gentle boost in the mid range is often all thats needed, watch out for the 150-500hz, thats where you get muddyness, be gentle with your EQ unless you find big spikes - if the sound is getting weak after you EQ, then you need to switch EQ tactics, wide gentle EQ rather than sharp surgical points

    and most importantly make sure you kick has lots of space in the mix, this is one of the biggest hurdles I notice people having when layering up for filthy sounds, they over compensate for muddyness and kick crossover by boosting the highs, when they should be tweekin the lower freqz...sometimes you have to think outside the of the freq range you think needs working on, and think about the sound as a whole and how its interacting with other sounds like kicks/snares etc :) av fun!
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
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  10. JimpaDirt

    JimpaDirt Vettvilling

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    I usually do it only once per bassline, after I've completed the filter movement of the sound to give it the 'polish' with fx and then bounce and give it some light compression and bounce to the final thing. Unless im unhappy with something, then I might just layer it up with a reverbed version or do something like that before the bounce. But that might be something worth giving a shot.

    Miszt.
    when starting to process my bass I tend to use one distortion plugin, followed by a modulator (phaser, flanger, chorus and such) and repeat that.. The amount of distortion of each plugin is intended to be subtle and used to maintain the 'power' of the sound. But as they get stacked a lot in the fx chain it might be adding up to much mud to the sound. Perhaps I should try to not be as hasty and spend more time bypassing stuff and listen with and without certain plugins and see what's messing with my sound.

    About the EQ thing.. I'm gonna try and experiment a bit with my eq style and see if I might find something that's working out a bit better for me. I'ts too easy to get stuck in patterns!


    Great responses, this is a lot to take in so I'm probably going to come back and read this trough more than once! Thanks :)
     
  11. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    I recon you are probly just layering up to many fx in one go, and then trying to compensate by over EQ'ing, its easily done, I switched my method about 2 years ago, and it helped massivly - i dont resample any more, its an awsome way to work, but i prefer to keep things live so i have more control - now I may have 4-10 channels of bass sounds (or more when i'm in experimental mode!), each slightly diffrent, or very diffrent, whatever I feel is needed, each one may have only a few FX on them:

    filters (in the synth) > distortion > modulation > saturation/color > EQ sculpting > (saturation/distortion) > compression > gentle corrective EQ and High/Low filtering

    and thats about it, maybe a few bits extra here and there if i feel like it needs it

    once I have my main sound sorted, i often duplicate it, and then either tweek the FX for a subtle texture change, or rip bits out and replace them with sumthing else, always remebering to re-do the corrective EQ - layering things up like that really helps to fatten the sound up, without having to bounce down and loose the ability to tweek things if its needed later....and it almost certainly is needed, the more layers you add, the more carefully you have to tweek things

    Having layers like that, means you can EQ each channel so that it fits only into a certain frequency range, so you can have all your layers filling the space up, and, well, fat as fuck, and completly under control - this doesnt neccesarly mean hard cutting the low or high freqz, it could just be for eg having one channel with a 1db boost @ 1khz and a 1db cut @ 1.5khz, and another with a 1db boost @ 1.5khz and a 1db cut @ 1khz, and then a final one with a boost at 400hz - arbitrary numbers btw, experiment to find what works best

    Once I have a big fat sound nicely layered up, then i work on surgical EQ on the whole group of bass channels, you can either group them, or route into a single channel, wotever your DAW allows you to do - just dont over do it, Its always worth checking the harmonic octaves of any freq you EQ out (just double up the Freq) - often harmonics can be the sneeky culprit of muddyness and over compensation, espcially lower down (kick area, snare area and the mud zone around 300hz +/- 100hz)

    sometimes you might find that you cant eq the group only, so you need to go back and tweek the EQ on each channel with surigical or gentle methods
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  12. subprime

    subprime Dysjoint

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    Ok. Miszt may have covered it but this here jumped out. Definitely you should be checking your sound after every (every!) plugin that you add to the chain to see what frequencies are being added. Obvious case is distortion adding all sorts, bit crushing adding horrible treble but every plug really, like I have some analogue modelled things (eq, compressor) that add massive rumble frequencies to the low end. And then things like reverb and delay you might want to heavily eq the wet signal but keep the dry unaffected. In general with each plug in just be super critical and think "Is this effect really enhancing the sound/bringing out a unique character?" Spend longer tweaking fewer plugins before throwing new ones into the chain. You know if you keep mixing coloured paint together trying to make a super colour you will always end up with shit brown.
     
  13. JohnDoe

    JohnDoe New Member

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    How do you distort your basses? I normally use a dry to wet ratio between 70/30 to 50/50 when it comes to distortion. That solved the most problems of Bass-grouchiness I had in the past...
     
  14. ScourgeAtl

    ScourgeAtl New Member

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    Distortion is an additive process meaning it will add harmonics especially in the high end. So, before this additive process, if you do a subtractive process (EQ), you can achieve better results. You can basically low cut your bass around 2-3khz before you start going to town with distortion. Apply distortion of choice. Then, add phase, chorus, maybe another EQ etc to the top to really polish it off. When you low cut it, it will sound shit, but it give you a lot of room to add distortion (in stages!) and avoid that harshness in the high end.
     
  15. xiu

    xiu Member

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  16. tewky1

    tewky1 Well-Known Member

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    I had this same thinking which led to me now having the Filter/EQ that does the splitting at the end of my chain. I sometimes have it at the start of the chain as well. Thinking about that, could be merits to both having the one at the start and not having it. If you dont have it, you may add extra harmonic content to your end filtered sound, by getting artifacts from the ranges outside of your filter freq split. I will probably start to experiment with that see if it has an real effect on things.
    But to my thinking, having a filter at the end of the chain is good practice and gives you the required Freq range you want in your sound.