Mix down and mastering drum n bass


May 28, 2008
what is the best way to mix down your drum n bass tracks, and how to you make the bass stand out clearly. but manage to keep the drums so clear aswell. i understand about compression on the drums and eq etc. but how do you reverb weach drum so that it sits nicley in the track and what other effects can you use to do this ?

dj-mowgli-k in swindon


VIP Junglist
Mar 24, 2002
Halfway between the gutter and stars
what is the best way to mix down your drum n bass tracks, and how to you make the bass stand out clearly. but manage to keep the drums so clear aswell. i understand about compression on the drums and eq etc. but how do you reverb weach drum so that it sits nicley in the track and what other effects can you use to do this ?

dj-mowgli-k in swindon

I dont use reverb. I mostly use breaks as a start for my beats and they dont need that continuity that reverb offers, a funk break is always a funk break, it has colour already.

But the few times i've used verb on drums (all of them together, a bus channel verb, not individual hits) it has been a short decay and mixed very very low. If your drums are more complex, be generous in cutting the highs out of the verb because it will only make the top end unclear, masking the transients in the decay.

The Hex

Mar 2, 2009
Denver, CO
side chaining is one way to help make room for both the kick and bassline. im not sure what program you are using to mix your tracks but im sure on the internet you can find a TON of hints and tips on side chaining for whatever program you are using.

also, something that helps me with the kick is completely killing everything below 30-40 hz. i may be wrong but anything this low you probably wont hear and it will just make things muddy. you also might want to do this with the bass. it all really depends. if you get an analyzer, it will really help you find all those frequencies that you have too much of. you will probably find that you have way to much low end.. at least thats what i always end up with. if thats the case than attenuate those really low frequencies.

hope some of this helped :)


Chef 'n' Bass
Oct 26, 2008
London, UK
as suggested by The Hex, a 30Hz cut is a must. It stops inaudible subsonic fequencies from taking up headroom in your mix.
if you are on Reason, whack an MClass EQ on the master and swith on the 30Hz cut (eternally useful button :) )
Also, in dnb there isn't really enough space in the mix for reverb on your main drums.
A touch on your hats, rides can add some sparkle and space though.



Mastering Engineer
Apr 25, 2009
London UK
Well as far as mixing goes it comes down to choice of sounds and a keen ear for balance. The bass sound is key you could have a bass sound with many harmonics easily moving into the mid range or you could have a more pure type of bass such as a sine wave or 808 type "sine" type bass. Very difficult to advise directly when it comes to mixing the tracks without hearing them really. A good deal of this will be eq and trying to ensure that the sounds chosen do not clash too heavily with other elements and have their own sense of space in the spectrum. Again reverb is a nice effect to add to snares and hats (not normally kick drums as you do not want to muddy up bass frequencies that reside in the kick drum and may smear and lose further definitiion in your bass line.)

Mastering at home if honest, is not really possible unless you have full range monitors, serious acoustic treatment, high quality and accurate ADDA.I do not want to be a killjoy as in the DIY music culture we are in everyone wants to do the whole job and whilst that enthusiasm is admirable it is not the best for the music normally. To be able to master you need to hear exactly what is in your mix otherwise it is little more than guesswork.A lot can be said for an independent persons objectivity, that coupled with years of listening skill makes a big difference to the end results, it cannot be underestimated.

Anyone can of course add eq and put a limiter on a master bus, these tools exist in any and every DAW, but that is not mastering by default.Mastering is knowing what is there, making good judgement on the best tools to use and correcting and enhancing, thats where the magic's at.


Barry Gardner
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Ray Sparra

Jan 22, 2011
something which no-one mentioned yet is your gain structure, leave your channel faders relatively low and don't try to push them too close to zero, it will squash your dynamics, -15-18 for your bass and -12 for your drums, if you are using less channels making minimal dnb, a bit higher, using a lot of complicated layered drum patterns bit lower, helps with the definition and space of your mix, when your mix is "balanced"use your master fader to bring the level of all faders up or down, leave the master fader on zero to begin you can push your master fader way over zero if it doesn't show clipping at the end of your mix, will sound alot more spacious and clear, I'm not an expert, I read it in a book about mixing, as for mastering best leave that to the pros imo, if your going to release something, try not to put a compressor on the master and leave 3db headroom


Jul 6, 2005
I would say the less EQing and compression you have to do to a sound, i.e. Bass sound......the better!

Its all about choosing high quality sounds in the first place......this is something that can be overlooked, and will have newbie producers sat there for hours trying to 'polish a turd' !.....

If your interested in someone else mastering your drum and bass for you, check out my recently relaunched mastering site : TEKMASTERING


New Member
Jan 30, 2015
Sidechaining kicks is one thing but I'd suggest creating a clicky sidechain track for both kicks and snares since the latter forms the the backbeat and largely holds evertything together. Aswell as the usual highpass filters a hf lowpass on some of the percussive elements can stop the hi-end sounding too busy.

Processing bass is a matter of opinion, assuming you've got some sort of combined bass/sub patch or you've just bussed things together. I would suggest a two band multi split around 100-120 (this is where many club systems crossover) and processing the sub at first independently, I swear by VOS ThrillseekerLA as a bass maximizer but Voxengo LF-MaxPunch is also good. Uless you are expecting to play on Valve or other sub-orientated systems you can probably roll off 35Hz and below with a 2-pole filter. For the upper-bass, which may also serve as the lead, all manner of plugins will be of use. Some light chorus, a little delay, EQ, compression and most importantly some saturation/distortion. You may not need all of these and may find the order wrong but these are the basics. Additionally some kind of stereo spread on the upper-mid frequencies can really bring it to life, be careful to keep it mono or narrow below 300-500.

Other instruments such as pads can benefit from having a nice full frequency range some gentle saturation can add allsorts of extra harmonics, especially in chord patterns., finally an appropriate highpass will be unnoticable in the mix but clear space for the all-important bottom end.

As for other sounds, well it depends on the song, a little degradation can imbue an old-skool flavour. Some fuzzy saturation can add a barely imperceptible dirt to the mix.

While there's nothing wrong with using reverb and delay inserts depending on the sound, these work better on the return tracks by helping parts fit into one distinct place.

With all bass on one buss you can better maintain a consistent level with compressions and some EQ.

Pads, synths and effects can be bussed together, be aware that the long tones of pads may lead to slow but clear amplitude changes in melodies.

Compressing drums with multiple subtle compressors has become increasingly popular recently, while it can help smooth the mix and accentuate the percussive elements, it also offers the oppurtunity to use several different processors each with their own benefits (the extreme pleasant colouring of DC82 and the uber-clean transient oreserving Ktelnikov for example.) If your beats still ain't big enough, i suggest a limiter on the kick (MLimiter fits the job), while a well layered snare/clap will benefit from some harder compression.

I could probably go on but I think I've covered a fair bit here.


Jan 12, 2013
when your mix is "balanced"use your master fader to bring the level of all faders up or down, leave the master fader on zero to begin you can push your master fader way over zero if it doesn't show clipping at the end of your mix

I would suggest to never never ever push master fader over zero - I advise not to touch it at all. Simply leave as is and level it up when mastering. Gaining up the master fader fks up with your perception of the actual gain going on.

Besides, if you want to push up levels when you're happy with the balance, just group everything and push the faders up if possible, or use auxes, VCA channels, whatever. Far more safe than touching the master fader.


New Member
Aug 23, 2017
Ok, guys. I trust you since what you are sugesting make sence and I do practice the same techniques. So, I have a track that I dont want to mix and master by my self couse I over listened and can't trust my ears. It is kind of a liquid.. so voice is included. So who is offering a fair deal for the service?

Optimal Prime

Specialising in the arts and crafts of Drum & Bass
Apr 4, 2013
Manchester, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
I was thinking the same thing Interruptor mentioned when originally reading the info on using the Master to make up gain and generally I don't really touch it at all, but rather create a buss where every channel can be routed to. Usually I create two groups channels where the first acts as a way to just make sure I have control of what is going into the second, although there are usually input gain controls on channels for this. I then master with the group bus and the only things I add to the main stereo master channel are analyser plugins. This means I can easily monitor the information from a reference track as well as my own as the reference channel would of course not be routed through the buss groups at all, but rather occupy the same master out as everything else.

I've been watching a useful video tutorial called Faderpro with Keeno which has been quite useful to watch, and while most of the tips and tricks are second nature to me, I enjoy seeing things that might differ from anything I've thought about before. One was regarding sidechaining, but rather doing it to compress the reverb associated with the sound you are applying it to. In his example he adds a small amount of reverb to his snare bus, quite short in length, and later adds a sidechain compressor to the reverb used as a send effect which is triggered by the snare itself. It has the effect of allowing the snare to push through with its initial transients and body, but allows for a subtle tail of verb to pass through as the signal of the snare dies away, keeping the snare cleaner in the mix while it is striking at its loudest. Of course the reverb if applied too much could then get in the way of other instruments independent of the snare itself, but it's a great way to work with reverb.
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