After the mixing better bass episode I had a few people ask how to get a good sub, so this week I will show you how easy it can be. If you combine this tutorial with the aforementioned episode you will be shaking windows in no time. Although I also touch on the idea that its not always just pure SPL we should be considering when designing the bottom end, just because you might not hear it doesn’t mean you cant FEEL a more interesting texture.

Note we are talking about SUB-bass here (roughly below 80hz) not the more audible (mid) bass at say 80hz – 200hz as such we would expect it to be layered in with with other bass/lead sounds.

Caution: You can have too much of a good thing. Cranking up 30hz so you can feel it on your monitors might seem nice at first but can make your bass sound flabby, unfocused and lacking punch. It will also reduce the perceived loudness achievable.

 

Sub-bass can be one of the hardest elements to mix correctly with out good monitoring and room treatment so I suggest a frequency analyser and headphones to make sure you know whats going on down there.

 

Also don’t forget we still have our competition to win a TC Electronic Impact Twin, just check out thedspproject.com/win for details!
  • gucci

    Thanks Rupert! I’m having some trouble with EQing the mid rangey part (you already had it EQed in this video). If i try to take out all the sub from it, i tend to lose some of the lower mids, which should be prevalent in a sound like a reece. Any tips on that? Also, when I try to add the kick, things get more complicated. How much sub can a kick have? Can it have some sub or none? Do you eq it? Alter the release time? Sidechain it? All of the above?  

  • n4Sphere

    Hey Rupert!

    The new podcast has an download error on iTunes subscription. The ULR is not available. 

    You’re doing a great work
    Thanks
    Daniel

  • Anonymous

    Doh, technical difficulties afoot. Thanks for the heads up man ill try get this sorted…

  • Anonymous

    There are no hard and fast rules as different bass notes / kick samples will have different dominant frequencies, its also a creative decision as to which you give more dominance in the mix. 
    As far as loosing some mid range I would advise you mix it with in the context of the rest of the tune. While it might sound like its missing something when solo’d it might sit right when the other parts are filling out that range.As for sub on the kick this again is a creative decision and you have a few options. You can still get punch at say 90hz with out having to go too low or you can use side chain compression to push the bass down a little. Also you can write “call and response” type sequences where the kick and bass dont play at the same time.

    Hope that helps :-)

  • Andrei Aldea

    Hey Ruppert,

    Do you ever side-chain compress that sub-bass similar to how the mid-bass may be already? Would you use similar compression settings or would you tame the sub-bass with a higher threshold and lower ratio? I guess it just comes down to taste and experimentation. I’ve been using the “high-pass everything except the kick and part of the bass” technique for a while now. I can’t really say that my tracks lack punch or energy, some could benefit from more “growl” in the low end (70hz or so and under). How will this interfere with my kick? I like to filter most of my bass lines around 70 or so, so I give the kick breathing room for the main punch.

  • Anonymous

    Yes I do use side-chain a fair bit to push the sub down to make room for the kick, I normally lean towards a lighter ratio / threshold as I am not a fan of that hard pumping sound although some people love it.
    As for how adding 70hz will effect you kick all depends on the kick, as much as I would like to provide them there are no hard and fast rules at it does change depending on the content. Also how big you want the kick to be will effect how you mix it. 
    But have a look on a spectrum analyser where the kick is naturally peaking and work around that as to where to cut your bass.