My sub bass always suppresses the rest of the mix

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#1
Hey everyone.
I noticed that during production, as soon as I bring in a sub bass (simple sine wave mostly) it tends to suppress the rest of the mix, especially the drums, a lot. Even if it's low passed at 80hz and rolled of at about 30hz - I can't really have a loud, powerful sub bass in my productions because it tends to fight my drums so much.
Any advice? :)
 

thedjnifty

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#2
Firstly there's not much point in rolling off a sine wave or sub at 80hz, it'll most likely just result in different notes being different volumes (regardless of resonance) which is not good.

You're much better off making room for it by high passing your kick drum, or perhaps sidechaining your sub to your kick drum (there's all kinds of info out there on how to make these 2 elements gel)

Lastly, what I think is often a problem for people in that they want their sub bass to be too loud. Unless you're mixing on a decent setup with decent monitors the likelihood is you're gonna want to push your sub bass louder than it really should be. The best way to make sure you're not doing this is reference a few tunes you know sound wicked on any system (not just your setup), and use them as a guide to set the level of your sub bass. It might not sound loud enough to you... but if the sub bass in the tracks you're referencing is roughly the same kind of level, then you know it's right.

Also remember that this is a SUB, so on systems that lack bass it's always going to be pretty quiet (it's meant to be!), so don't confuse it with maybe a low mid bass which might pack a lot more punch on these kind of systems simply because they CAN reproduce these frequencies a lot better and louder than a pure sub.

Hope this helps, any questions just ask!
 
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#3
i used to get this problem all the time - i used to think it was my daw cause when i added sub in fruity it used to suppress the other areas (then when the sub breaks the other areas jumpout) then i switched over to logic and the problem subsided. very strange but in that time ive learnt that you seriously dont need volume for a sub, i used to leave them at a whole 0.0 db at the time just cause it sounded so good in headphones - seriously if u turn it down it will warble on a proper system no matter how low it is, my subs are now a lot lower in the mix than the rest of my instruments, also i wouldnt roll off at 80, i usually hi to 30 and then cut at 90-110 ish to leave room for kick thats all it needs. another thing is that when listening to and listening out for sub your ears quickly begin to surpress those frequencies anyway, take your headphones off or speakers- have a break then go back and listen again, then turn down and repeat. its literally just levels !
 

Mania

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#4
in a fully gain-staged mix, subs tend to be around -10 to -9db. Make sure youre cutting the drums at ~80hz, and also in an untreated room a sub can sound like its overbearing the mix.
 

Trpt

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#5
Either your sub is too loud or your kick has frequencies that conflict with it.

Since you're running FL, use the excellent "Wave Candy" plugin set to Spectrum mode. You'll see immediately if you have a problem with your kick infringing the sub's frequency range.

Don't forget to make the plugin window full screen or it'll be hard seeing anything.
 
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#6
Thanks for all the tips, definitely gonna try that next time!
I already sidechain my sub to the kick so it doesnt conflict too much, as well as I high pass my kick at ~60-70Hz.
 

RUSSLA

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#7
Are you mixing with a limiter on?

I always start with sub and drums, with the sub, kick and snare fundamentals peaking around the same point, then add elements from there.
 
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#8
I am using the Maximus plugin (FL Studio) on my master, which acts as a multiband compressor and limiter, as far as I know. Without mastering my drums peak at around -8db, the bass at -10db and the sub at around -18db.
 

RUSSLA

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#10
Yeah seriously your levels are whacked cos of that MB pressor. I personally can't get on with having anything on the master, just makes life more difficult and gives problems like the OP.

Plus why is your sub 10db quieter? I've never in my life seen a pro mastered tune in a spectrum analyiser with the sub below the drums
 

Dark Lizardro

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#13
Yeah, but if i take it off, it sounds pretty weak and amateurish. :/
You'll take it off only at this stage of the mixing process. Then, after the proper mixing is done you'll go to the next stage, where you'll put it again and tweak it properly.

When I make some songs, I try to reference it with a commercial song of the same genre, specially when it comes to the lower frequencies. You should try it as well.
 

tewky1

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#14
Maybe you need to look at compressing elements in the mix rather than the mix as a whole, you really want the unprocessed mix to be as fat as possible. If you ever get tunes picked up they will want it unprocessed.By the sounds of it your are using settings that would more heavily compress your master. Watching a seminar on mastering, it was suggested that a ratio of 1.2 to 1 was more than enough, with minimal reduction. Also if you mix into a compressor, every little change you make probably requires that you go in and have to tweak your settings on the pressor. If you just want to make it louder while mixing, use a gain plugin to make up the difference between your peak and 0db. Let your meters tell you where you peak is, and push it enough so that the peak is -1, and still in the clean zone, with 0db reduction from any limiters.

Volume can and does mess with me, leading me to be pretty anal(giggity) about listening to the mixdown at all sorts of different volume levels, before I commit to it.

I know guidelines are frowned upon in some ways, I picked up a tip from a fracture video, he says to get your peak for your drums, then mix in your bass, and you should be adding roughly 3db to your peak level, so if your drums are hitting at -10db, when you mix in the bass, a rough idea is to have the meters hitting -7 with the bass mixed in. I find it a good guideline to follow, but then yur tweak it to fit better from that point. Helped me tremendously, as before I would mix with just ears, and I was way off.

Also for your bass, I can be quite brutal, but iit always help the drums poke out a bit more, I just put in a steep notch into the bass, wherever the kick and snare are hitting.
 

sam the dnb man

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#16
Yeah, but if i take it off, it sounds pretty weak and amateurish. :/
Then you're doing it wrong. Mastering is meant to enhance a good mix. Not fix a bad one. I always leave my master dry. I will always group sounds to busses and process them though. Get your levels right and make sure each sound has their own sonic space. If it still sounds weak try adding a hint of overdrive to some sounds or try parallel compression.

Once you have this right, bounce down your final mix and open it in a new project. Then do whatever you need to do to enhance your mix further whilst referencing with tunes by the likes of Icicle or whoever.
 

RUSSLA

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#19
I definitely should!
Thanks for all the comments guys, I think we can close this, gonna spend a lot of time getting my mixing right from now on! :)
you'll be so much better off for it! the pain that is about ensue tho... Always do mixdowns on fresh ears; play the track the whole way thru, take notes, then tick everything off the list. come back a week later so on so forth etc etc etc rah rah rah
 
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#20
Some great insight on mixing sub bass in here, I realize I have been doing the same thing with having maximus on my master with muddy bass that overpowers my tracks on a good sound system!
 
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