How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
clayton.dickmann
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:43 pm
Contact:

How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by clayton.dickmann » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:32 am

When I compare my tracks to professional tracks, they lack that hard hitting, clear low end that most professional tracks have. I have been able to learn to make fuller sounding tracks - especially in the mids and uppers - and have been able to get a decent bass, but I still lack the bottom line low end that defines most tracks and gives them their punchiness. I have tried EQing (boosting the sub bass around 50-100hz) and layering multiple bass sounds (one around 50-90hz, one around 100-200hz) as well as compression. I also have the low end tracks cranked up in volume, maybe too loud?

Any tips on how to get that clear, booming low end would be much appreciated!

Tarekith
Posts: 17704
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Re: How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:04 am

Sometimes on the low end simpler is better. It's amazing how many great sounding tracks use just a simple sine wav as a bassline. A touch of saturation and overdrive can do wonders to help things be a bit defined in a mix, just a tiny bit though to where it barely starts to be heard.
Tarekith
Ableton Forum Administrator
InnerPortalStudio.com - Professional Audio Mastering

clayton.dickmann
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:43 pm
Contact:

Re: How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by clayton.dickmann » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Tarekith wrote:Sometimes on the low end simpler is better. It's amazing how many great sounding tracks use just a simple sine wav as a bassline. A touch of saturation and overdrive can do wonders to help things be a bit defined in a mix, just a tiny bit though to where it barely starts to be heard.
Thanks! I'll give this a try.

clayton.dickmann
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:43 pm
Contact:

Re: How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by clayton.dickmann » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:15 am

Also, when it comes to EQing, can some one help me understand how decibels fit into this. Obviously, I know decibels are a measure of sound, but I've ready many things that talk about working within a "Box" of space. For example, this article (The first graph which is multi-colored):

http://equipboard.com/posts/mixing-tips

I get the idea of not having competing frequencies, but what is it showing when it shows synths above pads with regard to decibels? Does this simply mean to make synth sounds louder than pads? Also, why is the max number on the decibel axis zero?

Pitch Black
Posts: 6451
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2002 2:18 am
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Contact:

Re: How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by Pitch Black » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:12 am

Tarekith wrote:on the low end simpler is better.
I've always believed you can have it as low as you like, and as loud as you like...

AS. LONG. AS. IT. IS. PURE.


I mean... it's gotta be a sine wave somewhere in the bass, no? For ze powah! As you begin to depart from a sine wave, you're getting into questions of definition and idenification of the bass notes. Not ze AKTUAL POWAHH!



'scuse me
RMBP i7 2.8GHz | OSX 10.14.6 | Live10.1.15 | Fireface800 | Push 2
https://soundcloud.com/paddyfree

G-Pop
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue May 01, 2018 2:05 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA
Contact:

Re: How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by G-Pop » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:39 am

clayton.dickmann wrote:Also, when it comes to EQing, can some one help me understand how decibels fit into this. Obviously, I know decibels are a measure of sound, but I've ready many things that talk about working within a "Box" of space.
OK FREQUENCY WRANGLING 101;

I've been at this music thing for most of my life.
The basics I'm going to give you here are pretty solid I think;

Frequency; in Hertz (Hz/Khz) That's the tone range of the instrument or voicing you're going to EQ.
GAIN/cut in Decibels; (Db) That is the VOLUME of the frequency, track or instrument you're going to MIX.
You boost or cut frequency ranges to EQ an instrument, synth, pad, bass voice... whatever. "Decibels" is just
a measuring tool to tell you how much you are boosting or cutting (tracks OR frequency ranges.)

EQ'ing (sp ?) is all about making the voicing, instrument or sound what you want it to sound like.
Mixing is making all the sounds, voicing, instruments and tracks "work and play well with each other!"
Are you with me so far? Problem; (What already?) Yes. What you do to either effects the other.


But get that above into your head.
"Gain" adds volume in decibels, and tenths maybe. AKA "Boost"
LOWERING GAIN anywhere is called "CUT" and (duh) reduces volume.

Now, as for the "box" I think the guys talking about "dialing in" the "frequency Space" each major
frequency range (instruments) of a song "lives in." This is EQ'ing. "Lift and Separate."
Get rid of "mud" in the mix. It's mostly caused by frequencies overlapping and fighting for
the same "space" or "Box" ... if I understand it right.

Mental Exercize

OK, Sub-BASS and BASS frequencies are very low of course, and tend to sound best (live) TO ME between
60hz-100hz (sub) and for BASS 100hz-350hz (?) and that's a very big ? there... Every "space" is
dependent on your ears. But the idea behind killing the MUD in a mix and making any instrument or
sound stand out is finding this "sweet spot" freq. range that YOUR sound lives in and "trimming the
excess lows and highs around it. Confused?

Imagine you have a 16 band "slider type" Equalizer on every track, one instrument to a track of course.
(Anything else is too much of a challenge for me.) You can use the sliders to eliminate or "cut" the
0-50hz range and like magic, SOME noise and mud MAY disappear. No sub? CUT farther up, second slider.
Now, obviously you can continue on this process until you start losing SOUND YOU WANT, ok? When it
starts to get "thin" sounding you're cutting too much. Now for BASSment part deux;

The "other side" of the BASSment ;P , the high end of the "bass realm." Guess what you do?
Start cutting out everything (sliders) above 1Khz, because, well, that ain't bass' "house." OOPS! The
nice higher end bass qualities disappeared? Boost 'em back. When you're done EQing your bass "realm,"
you've cut out many frequencies that can cause the bass section to be muddied, work the speakers too hard,
so that mids and highs are "stepped on," and you've brought the bass "section" of the sound spectrum out,
given it "presence and prominence" and helped with your NEXT jobs;

Doing the same thing to the Low-Mids, the High-Mids and the highs. Now you're a "Frequency Wrangler!"
Now, during this time you will be boosting or cutting the levels of individual tracks to "work and
play well with each other" on the mixing console of your DAW.

There is much more to it but if that doesn't answer your BASIC questions I suggest you read up
on some common mixing and (later) Mastering techniques to help your tracks sound "polished."
Two books I can recommend, under $10 for the Kindle each, and both by seasoned pros;

"56 Mix tips for the small studio" by Amos Clarke
"Audio Mastering Secrets" by John Rogers

Obviously MIXING COMES FIRST; Every serious pro I've ever heard speak on either or both demands a good
MIX OVER ALL (95% of the real work) to Master... so, that's where the priority is, BUT, I got great
info and less bored reading them both concurrently while working on projects MIXING. A lot of the
stuff John talks about applies to MIX as well as mastering, since he readily admits to having to tell
clients what to do to bring him a worthy MIX to MASTER... if you get that.

Half Art, half science, all tough, somewhat complicated and responds to nothing but honest work.
THAT is the task you have taken on! Clear, Crisp, and separated freq. range "spaces" give you the
clarity, ok? Decibels are just like "the gas pedal" if you will; You step on it or back off AS NEEDED.

Hope this helps!
G Pop 8)
Live10std. Win8x, 8G ram, Scarlette 2i2[1stGen] & ASIO[2ndGen]-KorgN5, M-audio MIDI, various guitarz!
Without skillz, we're all just Monkeys with Shotguns!

daizok
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:05 am

Re: How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by daizok » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:48 am

Tarekith wrote:Sometimes on the low end simpler is better. It's amazing how many great sounding tracks use just a simple sine wav as a bassline. A touch of saturation and overdrive can do wonders to help things be a bit defined in a mix, just a tiny bit though to where it barely starts to be heard.
Yep, Fanu did a few nice and simple videos on this, useful.

https://fanumusic.com/how-to-give-your- ... aturation/
https://fanumusic.com/sub-bass-tip/
https://fanumusic.com/production-get-yo ... ass-right/

G-Pop
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue May 01, 2018 2:05 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA
Contact:

Re: How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by G-Pop » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:49 am

clayton.dickmann wrote: http://equipboard.com/posts/mixing-tips

I get the idea of not having competing frequencies, but what is it showing when it shows synths above pads with regard to decibels? Does this simply mean to make synth sounds louder than pads? Also, why is the max number on the decibel axis zero?
@ Clayton;

LMAO! I hope this isn't too late...
I gave you a "Mixing 101 mini-series" and never answered this question!
Well, to me it would seem the author seems to place pads LOWER IN VOLUME
than synths and it could be just nomenclature... My "Pads" and "Synths"
both come from a synthesizer. Usually My Korg N5. OR, Live... (Synths too!)

UN-officially then, I THINK when the author says "Pads" he is referring to
"background fill" (tasty!) whereas "Synths" I take to mean "strings," and
other more prominent sounds usually reserved for drama, not fill.
Hope this makes sense. ... Now;

Why are synths shown ABOVE pads possibility part 2;
They (sort of, usually) occupy some of the same FREQUENCY space in "The Box."
So for the graphics sake it may have nothing to do with the volume in db.
[whew!]OK...

0db... Ahhhh the "Deathly Hallows!"
OK, 0 db is the LIMIT of the peak (loudest) sounds any DAW is programmed to
receive and reproduce WITHOUT "CLIPPING." Clipping is BAAAAAD... It's noisey,
pops and clicks, distortion from hell. The "Zero Decibel" line CAN BE CROSSED...
But you don't want to.

LIVE can boost to 6db over the zero line. And if your recording is low volume,
many people MIGHT do that. I tend to edit the clip and boost the volume in the
clip until it approaches THAT TRACK'S 0Db line.

The Master channel should Ideally be 2-3 db UNDER the 0db line when your mixing
is done. Why? You need "headroom" for Mastering. You'll need to read up on your
fundamentals to understand why, but I believe Lives "Tribal Elders" would nod
approval in stoic serenity at this "recommendation."

To quote someone here who chastised me for doing this; (and I deserved it!)

THERE IS NOTHING (good) OVER 0db!!!
Loudness comes from Proper Mixing and Mastering.

As always, hopeful to have been helpful;
G Pop
Live10std. Win8x, 8G ram, Scarlette 2i2[1stGen] & ASIO[2ndGen]-KorgN5, M-audio MIDI, various guitarz!
Without skillz, we're all just Monkeys with Shotguns!

clay
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 1:35 am

Re: How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by clay » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:39 pm

the best thing ive found to get similar low end to tracks i like, is to use analysers.

something like Reference is a good start
https://www.masteringthemix.com/products/reference
it level matches your track to the reference and you can isolate frequencies and compare them. it shows you where your track is louder or softer in the frequency range you choose, also shows you punch. its a good visual way to see this especially if your speakers aren't in a treated room.

and if you really want to get into low end and compare lots of frequencies I would use ISOL8 in combo with Reference
https://www.tb-software.com/TBProAudio/ISOL8.html

so you compare your track to the reference track but only listen to certain freq ranges solo'd eg below 60hz for sub or between 60-150 for bass. you will quickly see where your track is lacking or sounding similar, compared to your reference. this type of approach helps your ear to focus and hear why the tracks you like sound good.

its amazing how close you can get when you focus in on specific frequency ranges and compare when level matched :) then it comes down to having suitable sounds, arrangements and learning how to mix using compression eq etc. hope this helps.

Shift Gorden
Posts: 779
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:45 pm
Location: Oklahoma City
Contact:

Re: How to get clearer low end that shines through the mix

Post by Shift Gorden » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:38 pm

G-Pop wrote:
clayton.dickmann wrote:Also, when it comes to EQing, can some one help me understand how decibels fit into this. Obviously, I know decibels are a measure of sound, but I've ready many things that talk about working within a "Box" of space.
OK FREQUENCY WRANGLING 101;

I've been at this music thing for most of my life.
The basics I'm going to give you here are pretty solid I think;

Frequency; in Hertz (Hz/Khz) That's the tone range of the instrument or voicing you're going to EQ.
GAIN/cut in Decibels; (Db) That is the VOLUME of the frequency, track or instrument you're going to MIX.
You boost or cut frequency ranges to EQ an instrument, synth, pad, bass voice... whatever. "Decibels" is just
a measuring tool to tell you how much you are boosting or cutting (tracks OR frequency ranges.)

EQ'ing (sp ?) is all about making the voicing, instrument or sound what you want it to sound like.
Mixing is making all the sounds, voicing, instruments and tracks "work and play well with each other!"
Are you with me so far? Problem; (What already?) Yes. What you do to either effects the other.


But get that above into your head.
"Gain" adds volume in decibels, and tenths maybe. AKA "Boost"
LOWERING GAIN anywhere is called "CUT" and (duh) reduces volume.

Now, as for the "box" I think the guys talking about "dialing in" the "frequency Space" each major
frequency range (instruments) of a song "lives in." This is EQ'ing. "Lift and Separate."
Get rid of "mud" in the mix. It's mostly caused by frequencies overlapping and fighting for
the same "space" or "Box" ... if I understand it right.

Mental Exercize

OK, Sub-BASS and BASS frequencies are very low of course, and tend to sound best (live) TO ME between
60hz-100hz (sub) and for BASS 100hz-350hz (?) and that's a very big ? there... Every "space" is
dependent on your ears. But the idea behind killing the MUD in a mix and making any instrument or
sound stand out is finding this "sweet spot" freq. range that YOUR sound lives in and "trimming the
excess lows and highs around it. Confused?

Imagine you have a 16 band "slider type" Equalizer on every track, one instrument to a track of course.
(Anything else is too much of a challenge for me.) You can use the sliders to eliminate or "cut" the
0-50hz range and like magic, SOME noise and mud MAY disappear. No sub? CUT farther up, second slider.
Now, obviously you can continue on this process until you start losing SOUND YOU WANT, ok? When it
starts to get "thin" sounding you're cutting too much. Now for BASSment part deux;

The "other side" of the BASSment ;P , the high end of the "bass realm." Guess what you do?
Start cutting out everything (sliders) above 1Khz, because, well, that ain't bass' "house." OOPS! The
nice higher end bass qualities disappeared? Boost 'em back. When you're done EQing your bass "realm,"
you've cut out many frequencies that can cause the bass section to be muddied, work the speakers too hard,
so that mids and highs are "stepped on," and you've brought the bass "section" of the sound spectrum out,
given it "presence and prominence" and helped with your NEXT jobs;

Doing the same thing to the Low-Mids, the High-Mids and the highs. Now you're a "Frequency Wrangler!"
Now, during this time you will be boosting or cutting the levels of individual tracks to "work and
play well with each other" on the mixing console of your DAW.

There is much more to it but if that doesn't answer your BASIC questions I suggest you read up
on some common mixing and (later) Mastering techniques to help your tracks sound "polished."
Two books I can recommend, under $10 for the Kindle each, and both by seasoned pros;

"56 Mix tips for the small studio" by Amos Clarke
"Audio Mastering Secrets" by John Rogers

Obviously MIXING COMES FIRST; Every serious pro I've ever heard speak on either or both demands a good
MIX OVER ALL (95% of the real work) to Master... so, that's where the priority is, BUT, I got great
info and less bored reading them both concurrently while working on projects MIXING. A lot of the
stuff John talks about applies to MIX as well as mastering, since he readily admits to having to tell
clients what to do to bring him a worthy MIX to MASTER... if you get that.

Half Art, half science, all tough, somewhat complicated and responds to nothing but honest work.
THAT is the task you have taken on! Clear, Crisp, and separated freq. range "spaces" give you the
clarity, ok? Decibels are just like "the gas pedal" if you will; You step on it or back off AS NEEDED.

Hope this helps!
G Pop 8)
OP, G-Pop makes a great point about cutting instead of boosting to reduce mudiness. It's amazing how some well placed cuts can open the bottom end up!

Post Reply