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Traditionally, bass is usually in mono...
Old 1st June 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Traditionally, bass is usually in mono...

...but what if you've seen a 'pro's' hit track's stems and the bass line has a slight side image.

In terms of club/house music - where kick/bass is pushed hard, why would someone do that? The kick is in mono dead center, and the bass is maybe "wrapped around it?" Stereo is always implying directionality, and we all know a sub bass isn't best as directional and can phase easily...

I really doubt this is an amateur mistake on a pro track. Or something that was changed in mastering. Just trying to learn a little more and see if there's a reason to break the "sub bass always in mono" rule.
Old 1st June 2011
  #2
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Tarkovsky's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
There are no hard and fast rules. Having said that, it's probably that the guy's inexperienced. You get plenty of 'pros' who really don't give a damn or have a clue. That or they just liked the sound of it that way.

Pros can get away with not having the low end monoed because they'll get their tracks played in clubs with decent sound systems.
Old 1st June 2011
  #3
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There are a few main reasons for keeping the bass centered:

1.) If it's panned/uneven, it could mess with the vinyl pressing (obviously not relevant nowadays if your track is never going to go to vinyl... but this was a fundamental factor in the recent past.).

2.) It will hit harder in the club if centered.

3.) Due to perception of equal loudness, the lower frequencies will contain the majority of the headroom/energy of the mix, so whacking this off to one side creates a lopsided energy distribution.

(Essentially, factor 3 is the cause of factors 1 & 2!).

4.) Phase; if you have a wave in positive amplitude at the same time as a similar frequency is in negative amplitude, they are going to cancel each other out, and result in weaker bass.


However, there are no fixed rules.

One common trick might be to have stereo width in the higher (more perceptible) frequencies of the bass... but have all frequencies centered below say 200 Hz... this way, you think the bass is stereo (and have the spacial perception of the bass sitting 'around the kick' as you say... but none of the issues listed above, as the subs are actually centered.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
If there are any panned elements, you'll probably find that it's in the upper frequency ranges. Basically from something like what Simonator described.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #5
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Phase is basically the biggest bass killer. In fabric room one they've put all the subs under the stage in a massive array to ensure there's a single wavefront of bass. One of the reasons it sounds amazing in there.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #6
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golden beers's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
There are a few main reasons for keeping the bass centered:

1.) If it's panned/uneven, it could mess with the vinyl pressing (obviously not relevant nowadays if your track is never going to go to vinyl... but this was a fundamental factor in the recent past.).

2.) It will hit harder in the club if centered.

3.) Due to perception of equal loudness, the lower frequencies will contain the majority of the headroom/energy of the mix, so whacking this off to one side creates a lopsided energy distribution.

(Essentially, factor 3 is the cause of factors 1 & 2!).

4.) Phase; if you have a wave in positive amplitude at the same time as a similar frequency is in negative amplitude, they are going to cancel each other out, and result in weaker bass.


However, there are no fixed rules.

One common trick might be to have stereo width in the higher (more perceptible) frequencies of the bass... but have all frequencies centered below say 200 Hz... this way, you think the bass is stereo (and have the spacial perception of the bass sitting 'around the kick' as you say... but none of the issues listed above, as the subs are actually centered.
5) humans cant tell what direction deep base is coming from
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
That reminds me of the club track Epicenter by VNV Nation. It has got a super-wide stereo bass sound. If you convert the track to mono the bassline practically disappears. Sounds great in stereo, though, and I suppose the kick makes up for the loss of bass. So "anything goes"...

I usually put the bass and kick dead-center and spread everything else out in the stereo field. I'm way too inexperienced to try anything unconventional. You've got to learn the rules before you can break them.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers ➑️
5) humans cant tell what direction deep base is coming from
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #9
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Tarkovsky's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waxavub ➑️

Well you really know sweet **** all don't you. As someone who works as a sound engineer, I can also tell you that this is generally considered to be true. We often do use stereo subs in a large live setting (+1000 people), but that's more often to do with sound dispersion and has nothing to do with stereo image.

What happens is that with very long waveforms the ears have difficulty spotting phase and level differences between left and right.

I'm sure if you'd have though about this for a minute you might have remembered that almost all monitoring systems that come with a sub use just one sub that mixes the low end from L + R. I've known people run a reverse phase sub at the other end of the room, but this was always mono.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
humans cant tell what direction deep base is coming from
Van Gogh maybe...heh

i'm thinking this is all "relative" to the size of your environment because i can sure tell outside where bass is coming from but not so much in my house on my stereo...
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stinkyfingers ➑️
Van Gogh maybe...heh

i'm thinking this is all "relative" to the size of your environment because i can sure tell outside where bass is coming from but not so much in my house on my stereo...
Not true. The reason you can tell where bass is coming from outside is because it's often part of a more full range sound. If I was just to play a 40hz sinus at you, you wouldn't a ****ing clue.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #12
OMU
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers ➑️
5) humans cant tell what direction deep base is coming from
In bigger rooms/halls it's more likely they can. That's why many mastering engineers (they use mid-field monitoring) prefer to have two subs. It's a very debated subject.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #13
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Praxisaxis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
There's still no good reason to have bass off to one side, intentionally anyway.

If you're thinking about the thick, wide presence of bass on modern electronic stuff like wobbly bass aka dubstep, keep in mind what we're calling bass here often takes up a huge slice of the frequency spectrum, much more so than an electric bass in a standard rock band. There's octave doublings and intentionally massive sound (ie top end), if nothing much else is going on in the mix it can afford to use up that much space.

In that case (and simonator already mentioned this) they might do something like split it to two tracks, a high pass on one and a low pass on the other, and turn the highs into stereo with the regular mechanisms - delay, flanger, or whatever it is they do. At least, this would be a much better option than stereo-isng the whole bass part, for all those reasons simonator mentioned.

Another instance when bass is not centre is when an acoustic group is recorded and the bass doesn't happen to be sitting in the middle, and it is left that way on the recording. But that's a different thing altogether; but again any stereo effect is coming from the mids and highs that instrument is producing.

Off topic but worth mentioning: We're not very good at hearing direction for very high frequencies either. I can't remember the exact figures, but I think it gets gradually worse over 5 kHz, give or take (could be a bit off the mark with that). But don't do a tonne of stereo effects and panning on that end of things either. In audio, if it is present but it doesn't make a difference to the listener then it's wasted - amplitude, bandwith, etc.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #14
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stinkyfingers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarkovsky ➑️
Not true. The reason you can tell where bass is coming from outside is because it's often part of a more full range sound. If I was just to play a 40hz sinus at you, you wouldn't a ****ing clue.
wrong, but whatever...
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers ➑️
5) humans cant tell what direction deep base is coming from
It comes from the direction of the speakers.

BOOM BOOM!
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #16
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Quote:
wrong, but whatever...
Have you ever tested it? You should try (because it isn't wrong). It's surprising how quickly we do lose the direction when you only keep the very low frequencies.

This is a pretty easy thing to rig up a test for.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #17
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
The bass is "traditionally" mono because when tracks were printed on vinyl stereo oscillations of the turntable pin, on low frequencies, would break it.

In my opinion mono gives more punch to the sound and only skilled producers should deal with stereo bass / subbass.

There are several mastering plugin's that turn the stereo low freqs in mono
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonance5 ➑️
There are several mastering plugin's that turn the stereo low freqs in mono
Sonalksis Stereo Tools is good for this (and a great plug in general.).

The problem is, if your stereo bass is phase cancelling itself, this will not be fixed by making it mono on the master; if anything, it will exaggerate the loss.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis ➑️
This is a pretty easy thing to rig up a test for.
tests are for people who doubt their abilities...

you would have to be a fool to think all people hear the same...
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Waxavub's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarkovsky ➑️

I'm sure if you'd have though about this for a minute you might have remembered that almost all monitoring systems that come with a sub use just one sub that mixes the low end from L + R. I've known people run a reverse phase sub at the other end of the room, but this was always mono.
I had better throw away my B&W matrix 801 monitors that go down to 20hz and get a proper sub/sat system.

and il be sure to get something THX approved
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
The directionality of bass in a stereo setting is actually correct there is a lot of science and testing involved there. I would read up on it before attacking that guy. (ever wondered why there are so many 2 monitors and ONE sub systems yet TWO sub systems are not common (studio monitors here, not PA)

Even if P.A.s have multiple Sub bins on either side they are bridged mono in most situations

They aren't talking about you can tell if bass is infront of you or behind you directionality, but between left and right in a room (not headphones) there is truth there. Check the calibration directions in two satelite plus a sub systems by most manufacturers (see Blue Sky's for example) The sub doesn't have to be in the middle in a smaller room, in the corner sometimes works. Stop arguing, start reading and then come back to this forum.



Also bass is mono in electronic music historically mainly because it has to be for vinyl. Thats what happens in the Vinyl mastering process, otherwise the needle can jump out of the groove and cause itself to skip. 50hz alternating hard panned bass wouldn't play, it would sound like your kicking the turntable. Also if your music is being played in clubs then the system almost always is once again bridged mono below a certain crossover point

Its common for dance music bass to be stereo - but the actual low frequencies are mono - whilst the upper harmonics are stereo, that is fine. The listener would think that the whole bass line is stereo, because that is what it seems to be, but technically the actual low frequencies are mono.

Listen to Claude Vonstroke - Big N Round - from 1:35 in for a cool stereo bass part, which pans all around, but technically the low bass element of the sound is actually mono.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 10 years
Think about the physics of it for a second. It makes sense that longer wavelengths would be harder to localize.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bensaddiction ➑️
The directionality of bass in a stereo setting is actually correct there is a lot of science and testing involved there. I would read up on it before attacking that guy. (ever wondered why there are so many 2 monitors and ONE sub systems yet TWO sub systems are not common (studio monitors here, not PA)

Even if P.A.s have multiple Sub bins on either side they are bridged mono in most situations

They aren't talking about you can tell if bass is infront of you or behind you directionality, but between left and right in a room (not headphones) there is truth there. Check the calibration directions in two satelite plus a sub systems by most manufacturers (see Blue Sky's for example) The sub doesn't have to be in the middle in a smaller room, in the corner sometimes works. Stop arguing, start reading and then come back to this forum.



Also bass is mono in electronic music historically mainly because it has to be for vinyl. Thats what happens in the Vinyl mastering process, otherwise the needle can jump out of the groove and cause itself to skip. 50hz alternating hard panned bass wouldn't play, it would sound like your kicking the turntable. Also if your music is being played in clubs then the system almost always is once again bridged mono below a certain crossover point

Its common for dance music bass to be stereo - but the actual low frequencies are mono - whilst the upper harmonics are stereo, that is fine. The listener would think that the whole bass line is stereo, because that is what it seems to be, but technically the actual low frequencies are mono.

Listen to Claude Vonstroke - Big N Round - from 1:35 in for a cool stereo bass part, which pans all around, but technically the low bass element of the sound is actually mono.

I record Bass Mono, I take a stereo bass track send to a MONO Buss (as in center the pan position on PT stereo Buss)...heh
Old 1st June 2011
  #24
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golden beers's Avatar
 
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all i can say is the guy teaching the masters degree in sound design at london central school of speech and drama would tell you, as he did me that you cant tell where DEEP base is coming from. he then proved it by humping a sub around our rehearsal space.

also why do you think we have 5.1 surround sound with the .1 being the sub.

this would include the monitor system i had the pleasure of using at the royal academy of music in their 'project studio' worth Β£250,000. they had a surround system, the same system that they used to mix star wars episode1 on. guess what, again. 1 sub. does it matter where you put the sub? yes. can you tell where the sound is coming from? no
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #25
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Waxavub's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers ➑️
all i can say is the guy teaching the masters degree in sound design at london central school of spech and drama would tell you, as he did me that you cant tell where DEEP base is coming from. he then proved it by humping a sub around our rehearsal space.

also why do you think we have 5.1 surround sound with the .1 being the sub.

this would include the monitor system i had the pleasure of using at the royal academy of arts in their 'project studio' worth Β£250,000. they had a surrond system, the same system that they used to mix star wars episode1 on. guess what, again. 1 sub. does it matter where you put the sub? yes. can you tell where the sound is comming from? no
And im sure he used a SINE WAVE for the demonstration.
Try using a real musical signal with a transient

and Skywalker sound/THX is the entity that started the myth in the first place, so using the location where star wars 1 was mixed as an example is a tad biased.

yes, bass should be mono. especially in electronic music.

but the statement "humans cant tell what direction deep base is coming from" is false.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 10 years
Transient...OK, use a (short duration) Square wave...lol

Also READ THIS Note: OMNIDIRECTIONAL.

Quote:
"Since low bass frequencies are omni-directional, you can usually place your subwoofer just about anywhere in your home theater room, with good results. Just like with other types of speakers, placing your subwoofer near a wall will generally result in more bass, and placement near a corner, where three room boundaries come together, will get you even more. Keep in mind that even though the bass increases as you place the sub near a wall or corner, the quality of bass may be slightly "boomier" and less controlled so aim for a spot where you get a compromise between quality and quantity of bass."

WIKKI Subwoofer
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Ministry were known for f******g around with the stereo image vs low frequencies too.If you listen to "Dark Side Of The Spoon" you'll notice some songs taking the concept even further:taking elements like drums & bass & pushing them into towards the left(!) area while leaving vocals centered.I doubt of course they ever intended their songs to be played in Ibiza but i don't know if the album was ever pressed on vinyl.

Theroen Paul Thesseling, a very talented & experienced bass player that has performed with various Death Metal bands these days records...in stereo.He uses 2 bass rigs, with different settings on each & pans them like guitars.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #28
Oli
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waxavub ➑️
Try using a real musical signal with a transient
Transients involve higher frequencies.
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #29
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli ➑️
Transients involve higher frequencies.
Fourier synthesis, a MUST to understand...lol
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #30
Oli
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexDaCat ➑️
Fourier synthesis, a MUST to understand...lol
What are you trying to say exactly?
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