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Equalization for limiting
Old 25th February 2021
  #1
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6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Equalization for limiting

Kia ora from New Zealand!

I have a question for you. I'm finding that people like my mixes as they say the kick is always hitting etc. But I think this is because I just am balancing the mix so that the kick is significantly louder than most of the other instruments (not more than the vocal of course). When it comes to mastering/limiting the kick is getting crushed and loses any of the punch and weight it once had. There is obviously a skill to getting mixes to sound loud and punchy without having the kick and bass so loud. So my question is:

1. Are you EQ'ing very carefully and severely in the low end to try and take away as much energy as possible whilst keeping punch? Or am I asking the wrong question here?
2. Do you mix with a limiter on the master?

Thanks a tonne,
Alex
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Old 26th February 2021
  #2
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djswivel's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexvdbroek ➡️
Kia ora from New Zealand!

I have a question for you. I'm finding that people like my mixes as they say the kick is always hitting etc. But I think this is because I just am balancing the mix so that the kick is significantly louder than most of the other instruments (not more than the vocal of course). When it comes to mastering/limiting the kick is getting crushed and loses any of the punch and weight it once had. There is obviously a skill to getting mixes to sound loud and punchy without having the kick and bass so loud. So my question is:

1. Are you EQ'ing very carefully and severely in the low end to try and take away as much energy as possible whilst keeping punch? Or am I asking the wrong question here?
2. Do you mix with a limiter on the master?

Thanks a tonne,
Alex
Thanks for the question Alex! This is a common issue, and there isn't really one way to solve it, but I'll get into a few of the things I try to do.

First, is make sure you've got a hi pass filter on everything in your mix other than your kick and bass. You'd be surprised how often plugins will add low frequency information that might be low and subtle, but across a whole mix, these things add up. So make sure your instruments, vocals and FX - essentially anything that shouldn't fill those low frequencies, have the bass rolled off. This gives the maximum amount of room for your kick.

Next, try sidechaining your kick to your bass. Sonically this may not always be what you want, but use a fast attack, and quick release if you don't want any very audible pumping. Of course be aware of where your threshold sits. You can easily go overboard here. Play around with your attack and release to figure out the setting that will glue your kick and bass together best. You can also of course side chain the kick to other instruments like synths, guitars, drum loops, or even vocals. This will create even more separation and allow your kicks to really shine, however this often comes with the byproduct of that pumping sound which may or may not be what you want. That's entirely a creative decision for you, and I often aim for subtlety here.

What these few things will do is give your mix maximum room for the kick/low end, which in turn means you won't need to turn the kick up so loud to cut through.

Another thing to think about when having your kicks cut through is, how are they EQ'd? I tend to favor kicks that fill the frequency spectrum. So I look for kicks with a good punchy low end, but also some higher frequency attack. And if I have a great kick without the high frequency attack, very often I'll add it with a another sample that's just a click high frequency sound. Sometimes I'll add it only in the choruses if I want more of a subby kick for the verses, but this is song dependent. Here's a video I did which may offer some additional help.

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Old 3rd March 2021 | Show parent
  #3
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alexvdbroek's Avatar
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Thank you! Some good solid advice there.
Peace,
A.

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