Bass layering/panning

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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mwlad17
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Bass layering/panning

Post by mwlad17 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:10 pm

this is seriously a question I cannot get an answer on...after watching several youtube videos and reading too many forums...for the bass line (really in any track), I keep hearing "MUST BE IN MONO" but any vid you watch or listen to many different types of music, the only part I can truly say is mono is the sub bass...are the mid/high basses then panned left and right? or maybe even in stereo? I have tried to watch some "in the studio" videos along with tutorials and rarely if ever do I see any mono bass other than the sub-bass, and even then, a lot of them seemed to have kept it in stereo...and layered basses seem to sound WAY better than trying to build a multi-voiced/multi-oscillator bass out of one patch, if that's even the correct way to describe it...I was recently working on something and had the bass in stereo without realizing but it honestly sounded really good, I threw in the utility and made it mono, and while nothing disappeared, it obviously just sounded too centered for my test...the sub bass, yea, i want that in the middle, but should higher bass layers be panned? to me it sounds a whole lot better...just wondering if there are some opinions...thanks guys

Shift Gorden
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Re: Bass layering/panning

Post by Shift Gorden » Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:19 pm

Good question! Ultimately it's up to you as an artist!

Yeah, there is a school of through that says "bass" should be in mono...but what is "bass?" A sound or a frequency? You like the sound, you tested it in mono (smart) and it still sounds good. I think you've covered your basses (total pun intended). I think the main reason for mono bass is due to a lot of club systems being mono.

Sometimes stereo bass just adds mess to the mix - especially when you've got a lot of high to mid panning/stereo. But if you think it sounds good then boom! I've heard plenty of good tracks where the bass sound has a huge stereo field! These tracks typically feature the bass as the main melodic element, mind.

You can get plugins (you can even make one in Ableton) which is a mono-maker. Essentially you tell it to mono everything below a certain frequency. These work really well on tightening up a mix and ensure you subs are in mono and anything above the dialed is allowed to be in stereo.

mwlad17
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Re: Bass layering/panning

Post by mwlad17 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:40 pm

yea i'm talking like 200 or 300-1k being essentially "not" in mono...basically to add character more so to the actually bassline rather than the feel of the bass...as I said, that sub-bass saw and kick are obviously going to be in mono to keep the heart of the mix going...but I hear bass lines in tons of pro tracks and they've got, you know, some of those super saws panned or wide in stereo that are part of the bassline (again, that "hum" is def mono, I understand that)...and in attempting to watch tutorials, even many on constructing tracks from scratch, I just almost never see them mono their entire basslines...is that just not appropriate engineering and they're just "producing" at this point? truly I'm asking, I honestly don't know...just that the basslines I hear (and I come from more of a classical music, up through rock background before getting into edm) definitely sound, on the mid-higher end (higher being not all that high obviously) being stereo...or if they are mono, they're duplicated to each side

ZaBong69
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Re: Bass layering/panning

Post by ZaBong69 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:37 am

mwlad17 wrote:yea i'm talking like 200 or 300-1k being essentially "not" in mono...
Hi,

bass frequencies - all the stuff under 160-200hz really, usually are kept in mono so that (a) you have the full energy from both speakers in stereo and (b) any phase cancellation happening on mono playback systems does not take away the energy on the deep end. You can check this by playing your track in mono - does it still bump and have a clearly defined bass? Then you are fine...

In some styles - bass heavy electronica - you will find lots of crazy stereo bass, but it's safe to say that the stereo part of these basses are only in the higher frequencies. If you apply stereo effects to your bass synth (e.g., programming a synth patch with panned OSCs, or applying stereo effects such as reverb or delays), a sensible approach is to filter everything below 200khz-300hz from the stereo part of the patch. For instance, if you drive your bass into a stereo delay return FX, put an EQ after it that cuts the lows from the delay. Or, use any stereo patch as a bass, but filter the lows and layer a second, clean mono sub bass under that, a method that I heard is as old as disco :)

If you are as lazy as me, try one of the stereo processors that do the monoing of the sub frequencies automatically, such as A1 Stereo Control (http://www.alexhilton.net/A1AUDIO/index ... reocontrol) which is free.


Best,

K

mwlad17
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Re: Bass layering/panning

Post by mwlad17 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:59 am

Za that's exactly what I'm talking about...and I think that's what I hear on a lot of modern tracks...there are these other oscillators/patches that i definitely hear in stereo that are following or identical really to the bass line...then the hum of basically that octave down sub bass sine wave (maybe saw too) is the one in mono...basically low pass the hell out of that and high pass the higher frequency portions...I guess this is almost more a musical question cuz when I say "bass" I'm not just talking about anything below 150 or so, I mean the bass line itself...which, as I said, some layers seem to be stereo and/or panned to give that wide impression while having The heart of the bass in mono

yup yup
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Re: Bass layering/panning

Post by yup yup » Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:06 pm

If you are going to press your tracks to vinyl it is best to keep your 'Bass' mono. Plenty of info out there on this...

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