Different basslines and problems with muddiness

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suhler
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Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by suhler » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:36 pm

Hey everyone,

How do you guys make tracks in the deep Techno or House genre? When you just have a kick and a bassline, you already have problems with muddiness. But if you want to make the track really deep and add more basslines, it seems that the problems with the same frequencies can`t be solved through eqing, etc.

Is there a way to work around that problem? Or can you really only have one bassline?

Richie Witch
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Richie Witch » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:46 pm

If EQ'ing isn't working for you, here are some other ideas:

1) Use a sidechained compressor to duck one out of the way of the other. This is usually ducking the bassline with the kick drum, but sometimes it works better to do it the opposite way.

2) Use mid/side processing to spread the bass to either side of the kick drum, leaving the kick in the center.

3) Change the bass riff so that the bass notes fall in between the kick drum hits, or vice versa.

You can use these in combination too to create really great separation.
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Stromkraft
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Stromkraft » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:46 pm

Richie Witch wrote:If EQ'ing isn't working for you, here are some other ideas:

1) Use a sidechained compressor to duck one out of the way of the other. This is usually ducking the bassline with the kick drum, but sometimes it works better to do it the opposite way.

2) Use mid/side processing to spread the bass to either side of the kick drum, leaving the kick in the center.

3) Change the bass riff so that the bass notes fall in between the kick drum hits, or vice versa.
4) Marry the kick and the bass with Corpus, effectively making them one thing.

5) Compress the bass so that it breathes with the kick. Don't think levels, think your music and what is says and experiment with attack and release.

6) "Side-chain" the EQ, ducking only for those frequencies the kick needs. I used Envelope Follower with EQ8 the other day for this, but there are proper EQs with real side-chaining. If the track is very straight I guess you could use something like auto-filter too.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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suhler
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by suhler » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:50 pm

Thanks for your replies. But I might not have posed the question right ;) Muddiness with the Kick and a Bassline isn`t that much of a problem, but thx for your suggestions.

I was wondering if you could have two competing Basslines on different tracks play at the same time. A problem which I thought could perhaps have been solved through landscaping or some other trick you guys might have known about.

But I got the answer in another forum, that Basslines can`t be panned or the like because low frequencies can`t be registered by the ear like that. It`s apparently near impossible to mix two Basslines because they will always interfere with each other.

Grandmasterbird
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Grandmasterbird » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:45 pm

Don't trigger 2 baselines at the same time, think call and response. There's simply isn't room, unless one is doing low mids, the other sub bass of the same pattern for example, it might sound weird if they are playing 2 different bass lines

Stromkraft
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:59 am

suhler wrote:It`s apparently near impossible to mix two Basslines because they will always interfere with each other.
Not impossible. They can be played at different pitches, use different overtones that makes one more characteristic than another, and you can EQ them differently. What you want is some kind of layered basses, which is very possible, though you need to make a choice per section on which one is going to dominate if you want this to be somewhat listenable. You can switch roles mid-playing with automation.

I can see several solutions including all of the above suggestions, so it surprises me you think these are not applicable here. Why wouldn't they be as they are all about letting 2 instruments co-exist in the bass frequency region? It doesn't matter if one of them is a kick or if the second is bass or another kick.

If this is going to be musically meaningful is up to the composer, you, and the mixer, also you I presume?
Last edited by Stromkraft on Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Stromkraft
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:07 pm

Grandmasterbird wrote: it might sound weird if they are playing 2 different bass lines
Maybe this is the idea? In order to come up with the idea to use 2 basses I assume there is a musical idea behind this.
In DnB they are mixing multiple bass lines quite often, sometimes very cleverly and usually using one or several of the suggestions given so far. Probably many more specialized ones too. Much of what I know about bass comes from Dub Reggae, Dub Techno, early Techno and DnB.
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Grandmasterbird
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Grandmasterbird » Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:44 pm

Stromkraft wrote:
Grandmasterbird wrote: it might sound weird if they are playing 2 different bass lines
Maybe this is the idea? In order to come up with the idea to use 2 basses I assume there is a musical idea behind this.
In DnB they are mixing multiple bass lines quite often, sometimes very cleverly and usually using one or several of the suggestions given so far. Probably many more specialized ones too. Much of what I know about bass comes from Dub Reggae, Dub Techno, early Techno and DnB.
That's news to me but hey if it works then it works, there are no hard and fast rules etc! but if you're wanting to play 2 baselines where the same notes trigger at the same time that also occupy the same frequency range then you're going to need to do some tweaking to get it to work.

Edit- unless you're using 2 basslines or more to create harmony/chords?! Bass guitarists do this.....
Can you post some examples?

TomViolenz
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by TomViolenz » Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:00 pm

Grandmasterbird wrote: That's news to me but hey if it works then it works, there are no hard and fast rules etc! but if you're wanting to play 2 baselines where the same notes trigger at the same time that also occupy the same frequency range then you're going to need to do some tweaking to get it to work.
Edit- unless you're using 2 basslines or more to create harmony/chords?! Bass guitarists do this.....
Can you post some examples?
That wouldn't be two bass lines (more like layering of one) and is not what we are talking about as I understand it.

What I would like to know though is what sort of bass lines are we even talking about? It's a very wide term.

Surely combining a sub bass line derived from kick samples with a 303 bassline should be no problem for anyone. Same with just general synth bases.

But if we are talking about two bass lines basically of the same concept, then yes frequency space has to be created. Either by side chaining, EQing, or much better, by timing and note differences. In a call and response fashion.

H20nly
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by H20nly » Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:49 pm

Stromkraft wrote: 4) Marry the kick and the bass with Corpus, effectively making them one thing.
Interesting... how do you do this?

Stromkraft
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:23 pm

H20nly wrote:
Stromkraft wrote: 4) Marry the kick and the bass with Corpus, effectively making them one thing.
Interesting... how do you do this?
The basic technique for adding subs with Corpus is described in Dubspot's video Ableton - Creating a Sub-bass layer w/ Corpus- Dubstep and the only thing I do beyond this I'm either bussing the kick and the bass together and apply the subs there or typically more often I use parallel processing. I have actually not done it with Corpus, I use Waves LoAir, but the principles are the same. I love Corpus for similar tasks like adding woody character on toms.

This is not a technique that fits all material and the bottom end does get a bit undefined if the bass line is very busy. I use it mostly for when the kick and bass patterns are near each other in frequency as well as rhytmically and are filling in a simple pattern. Usually this is combined with side-chained EQ ducking or side-chained multi-band compression.

The basic (or bassic :P) idea when combining bass intense sounds is always that one will leave room to the other, so side-chaining or riding the EQ is vital. Only one bass sound can dominate the bass region at one specific point in time, you have to make the choice, but automated dynamic processing means the roles can be switched.

All of this is for when you have a specific vision for the bass. It's not the standard practice (I believe). Which is what makes it interesting.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Stromkraft
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:34 pm

Grandmasterbird wrote: but if you're wanting to play 2 baselines where the same notes trigger at the same time that also occupy the same frequency range then you're going to need to do some tweaking to get it to work.

Edit- unless you're using 2 basslines or more to create harmony/chords?! Bass guitarists do this.....
Can you post some examples?
Well, I thought I made it clear that in most cases one bass sound need to leave room to the other, but if you're using side-chained EQ for instance, it will sound as if there are two basses playing, though one of them will duck the frequencies the other need but only when the other bass does need it.

I don't use 2 bass lines very often, if at all, so I don't have a specific example for you and I'm not that much into DnB these days so no specific examples there either, but I've been into several studios where people did stuff like this for very different reasons. Last time we had something like this with 4 different basses we made them one. I'm much for simplicity most of the time.

Again, none of what's been mentioned is strange. It's always a question about what the patterns are and which part of the frequency spectrum is occupied at a specific beat and time frame.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:32 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Stromkraft
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:39 pm

TomViolenz wrote:
Grandmasterbird wrote: Edit- unless you're using 2 basslines or more to create harmony/chords?! Bass guitarists do this.....
Can you post some examples?
That wouldn't be two bass lines (more like layering of one) and is not what we are talking about as I understand it.

What I would like to know though is what sort of bass lines are we even talking about? It's a very wide term.
yes, it would be very interesting to hear the musical reason for wanting to do this. I'm thinking battle of the bassists! :P

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Grandmasterbird
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Grandmasterbird » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:11 pm

@stromkraft- yes I understand the concepts but I think I misunderstood what you meant by multiple baselines!

Grandmasterbird
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Re: Different basslines and problems with muddiness

Post by Grandmasterbird » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:24 pm

TomViolenz wrote:
Grandmasterbird wrote: That's news to me but hey if it works then it works, there are no hard and fast rules etc! but if you're wanting to play 2 baselines where the same notes trigger at the same time that also occupy the same frequency range then you're going to need to do some tweaking to get it to work.
Edit- unless you're using 2 basslines or more to create harmony/chords?! Bass guitarists do this.....
Can you post some examples?
That wouldn't be two bass lines (more like layering of one) and is not what we are talking about as I understand it.

What I would like to know though is what sort of bass lines are we even talking about? It's a very wide term.

Surely combining a sub bass line derived from kick samples with a 303 bassline should be no problem for anyone. Same with just general synth bases.

But if we are talking about two bass lines basically of the same concept, then yes frequency space has to be created. Either by side chaining, EQing, or much better, by timing and note differences. In a call and response fashion.
Yes this is where the confusion has come in, the original guy was talking about techno, and without getting into debates about the genre there is mostly (in my mind at least) just the one baseline driving the track with maybe as you rightly said, another element in a higher or lower frequency also doing a job. But as the original guy was talking about muddiness and different baselines I came to the conclusion that he was trying to play more baselines than was needed etc etc.....

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