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Kick and Bass A volatile relationship?
Old 14th September 2012
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Kick and Bass A volatile relationship?

Im so tired of the bass and the kick giving me a hard time. I can blend everything else with work, but still nothing as painstaking as the kick and the bass. I have read engineering books that say engineers will sometimes spend hours on just their relationship. Am i not putting in enough time or..... Here's a sample of a song i did and produced and mixed all inb (which could be another issues but heh) anyway if you have any thoughts.....shoot


Thanks


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Old 14th September 2012
  #2
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
I just use complimentary EQ techniques for the kick and bass and i use it for allot of other instruments, like guitar and pianos and anything else that takes up the same frequency ranges.

Read up on complimentary Eq techniques. Then take what you learn and use it in your mix

CJ
Old 14th September 2012
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Looking it up now CJ thanks. This is killing me. Lol
Old 14th September 2012
  #4
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Sidechaining is key. You could eq all you want but if the bass and kick drum are sitting close too each other in the frequency range than all the eqing in the world ain't gonna help if your kick isn't cutting through the mix.
Old 14th September 2012
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
I sidechain a bit but always saw it as a technique for different genres. Is it effective in hip hop or used often?
Old 14th September 2012
  #6
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🎧 10 years
I side-chain kick and bass all the time.
It's only very noticeable when you do it to extreme like most techno music do.
If you're only ducking 3-6dbs it's not that noticeable... with the right attack/release settings, of course.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noidea. ➑️
I sidechain a bit but always saw it as a technique for different genres. Is it effective in hip hop or used often?
Extremely useful. Just don't over compress or you will get that ducking effect, which you probably don't want. But with the right settings you should be able to get that kick drum to cut through the mix without any noticeable pumping effect on the bass.
Old 14th September 2012
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Try to high-pass the kick to about 60-80Hz, giving it more punch and leaving room for the bass to occupy the sub region. I don't think most hip-hop engineers are side-chaining, they tend to let the kick be more midsy so it translates.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StringBean ➑️
Try to high-pass the kick to about 60-80Hz, giving it more punch and leaving room for the bass to occupy the sub region. I don't think most hip-hop engineers are side-chaining, they tend to let the kick be more midsy so it translates.
Depends on what kind of hip-hop you are doing. 90's hip-hop was never a problem cause the bass was mostly in the sub region, while the kick would have that more thuddy sound in the lower mids. But bass tones have become more aggressive in hip-hop and tend to sit higher the mix while the kick drum is now in the sub regions. Either way a little sidechaining could only help in trying to clean up your low end.
Old 14th September 2012
  #10
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🎧 5 years
Unrelated sort of but what range (of dbs) is ur bass at? I know it's song dependent but mine usually is -15 to-10 is that loud for bass and my kick is about -10 to -6???
Old 14th September 2012
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Also I'm gonna experiment with sidechaining some tonite.
Old 16th September 2012
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Good stuff.
I don't disagree that some sidechaining would help but I think the problem on the first two tracks is the kick drum samples.
UNDer's kick is high, has a kind of smeared attack and also has a definite pitch. I think it's a pretty cool sample but the kick and bass line are sharing most of the same hits so its hard to tell where one starts and the other begins and the pitch of the kick is fighting some of the bass notes.
I like the pitch of I Wonder's kick but it also lacks attack - it def could use a bit of a tip.
Try a compressor with a slow attack and med release. Transient Designer would whip that drum into shape in no time :-)
WayUp's kick is much better - it's got a great vintage feel but unlike UNDer it's punchy and doesn't have too much sustain (I think you should try a similar samp on UNDer) of course it doesn't hurt that WayUp's kick is the dominant low end player in this tune with the bass weaving in and around it.
Good luck!
Old 16th September 2012
  #13
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🎧 10 years
Like others have said, side chaining is very useful.

I also use a brickwall limiter on my bass buss. Seems like the transients of the bass is also playing a big role in the bass/kick relationship.

my 2 cents
Old 16th September 2012
  #14
DAH
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🎧 15 years
I never sidechain
Old 16th September 2012
  #15
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If you find that you must sidechain your bass for your kick to be heard clearly, then you need to fix your kick and your bass. Seriously. I only sidechain off the kick if I'm going for an effect.
Old 16th September 2012
  #16
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🎧 15 years
You have to determine how much information do you really need from your kick drum for it to hit appropriately.

It goes back to what you hear in solo versus what you really "need" in a mix.

Sometimes that severely bandwidth limited vicious hi pass and low pass is what you really need to make your kick hit the right way.

If the bass takes precedence over the kick drum then decisions need to be made about how much bass can you preserve for your kick drum. Do something goofy like hi pass your kick at 200 before you compress it and see how "present" it is after the fact. If its still hitting pretty solid but the bass is still where she needs to be then you know that you don't truly need all the low end of your kick to make it hit.

Unless you have a particular bass sound you are going for like a midrangey rock/funk bass, then try to find that spot where the bass can receive a cut so that Mr. Kick can punch thru.

I like gentle amounts of short release sidechaining on bass lines even if the kick is not supposed to be dominant. That small degree of micro-reduction just helps to pull things together a bit more. I normally don't play with any side chain settings until my 2 buss compressor is in place. The way the 2 buss compressor contours the overall groove of the song directly correlates to how I set it.

But seriously see if you really need more than 20 to 400hz on your kick or bass. You'll know right away if you went too far.

Peace
Illumination
Old 16th September 2012
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Noidea.'s Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Castell ➑️
Good stuff.
I don't disagree that some sidechaining would help but I think the problem on the first two tracks is the kick drum samples.
UNDer's kick is high, has a kind of smeared attack and also has a definite pitch. I think it's a pretty cool sample but the kick and bass line are sharing most of the same hits so its hard to tell where one starts and the other begins and the pitch of the kick is fighting some of the bass notes.
I like the pitch of I Wonder's kick but it also lacks attack - it def could use a bit of a tip.
Try a compressor with a slow attack and med release. Transient Designer would whip that drum into shape in no time :-)
WayUp's kick is much better - it's got a great vintage feel but unlike UNDer it's punchy and doesn't have too much sustain (I think you should try a similar samp on UNDer) of course it doesn't hurt that WayUp's kick is the dominant low end player in this tune with the bass weaving in and around it.
Good luck!
Thanks alot I'm going to take all this in and see what I can do.
Old 16th September 2012
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Noidea.'s Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov ➑️
You have to determine how much information do you really need from your kick drum for it to hit appropriately.

It goes back to what you hear in solo versus what you really "need" in a mix.

Sometimes that severely bandwidth limited vicious hi pass and low pass is what you really need to make your kick hit the right way.

If the bass takes precedence over the kick drum then decisions need to be made about how much bass can you preserve for your kick drum. Do something goofy like hi pass your kick at 200 before you compress it and see how "present" it is after the fact. If its still hitting pretty solid but the bass is still where she needs to be then you know that you don't truly need all the low end of your kick to make it hit.

Unless you have a particular bass sound you are going for like a midrangey rock/funk bass, then try to find that spot where the bass can receive a cut so that Mr. Kick can punch thru.

I like gentle amounts of short release sidechaining on bass lines even if the kick is not supposed to be dominant. That small degree of micro-reduction just helps to pull things together a bit more. I normally don't play with any side chain settings until my 2 buss compressor is in place. The way the 2 buss compressor contours the overall groove of the song directly correlates to how I set it.

But seriously see if you really need more than 20 to 400hz on your kick or bass. You'll know right away if you went too far.

Peace
Illumination
So you compress both in paralle? How do you side chain then or you have a few compressors?
Old 16th September 2012
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
Noidea.'s Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alxi ➑️
Like others have said, side chaining is very useful.

I also use a brickwall limiter on my bass buss. Seems like the transients of the bass is also playing a big role in the bass/kick relationship.

my 2 cents
What type of limiting? Do you squash the bejesus out or a few db?
Old 17th September 2012
  #20
szf
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Don't know why everyone advises fixing via eq or sidechain comp.
How about programming the bass sound so it doesn't f*ck with the kick..

Or just audition your kicks while the bass is playing, til you find one/s that complement the bass.

eq should be a last resort, or to just very slighly improve something that already works.
Old 17th September 2012
  #21
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illacov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Ya don't always get the opportunity to "choose" the kicks for a record if you're just the mix engineer.

To answer the other question regarding sidechaining.

Its not compressing in parallel, its like this.

Let's just say that you have the Bass and for argument's sake its hi passed at 30hz and lowpassed at 300hz.

You have the regular compressor on the track (this is if the bass ain't compressed or dynamically static already)

Maybe some additional EQ post compression to accentuate something else I like about the bass.

So now I have this final instance of say ReaComp and its set to auxillary input at the detector (for sidechaining purposes).

I'll set the attack at something really fast like say 3ms and then I'll have the release set at 20ms to 50ms.

Ratio might be 4:1 or 2:1 and the threshold set to do maybe 1 to 2db of GR.

Then on the kick channel that I want to be hi passed at maybe 60 to 150hz before compression (use your ears!) and perhaps a high shelf set around 5000hz at -6db (adjust filter point and cut to taste).

I have whichever compressor of the day that sounds its best

then follow it with an EQ to perhaps bring something out that I like post compression or not.

Then you go into your routing and send the kick (i use pre fader sends for this) to the sidechain input on the track that the bass resides in. Enough signal to get your desired amount of GR and you should hear just the slightest teensiest weensiest drop in level when the kick hits. Its set really short so it lets more of the transient thru rather than the entire body of the kick drum. Adjusting the release time will duck the bass longer and allow more of the source through but at the expense of transparent ducking.

If I'm feeling really adventurous I might send the snare to the sidechain input too but adjust the level so it does less ducking.

There are no rules to this but don't bother wasting your time listening to things in solo all day trying to find that sweet spot. You'll think something sounds like crap in solo but then its perfect for the mix.

Getting that super solid low end (for normal systems) requires clever use of EQ, but also just using a bit of common sense if the frequencies overlap they'll be competing for space so you have to figure out which one deserves the spotlight etc..

Peace
Illumination
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
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Alxi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noidea. ➑️
What type of limiting? Do you squash the bejesus out or a few db?
1 db is usually enough for me. All you what is to catch the transients and it has to be a brickwall type of limiter other wise it'll let the transients trough.

Works for me
Old 17th September 2012
  #23
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CHAOS's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Decide who is on top and who is on bottom. (Bass frequency wise)

Sidechaining works well, but I believe it is imperative to work out initially where are those main bumps of frequency gonna go.

60hz? 100hz?

What about the top end? Is it a clicky kick or punchy bass? Should one be more sub like with round tones? Top end is a major part of defining the kick and.bass.

Also, whatever you do choose, make sure they are not the same frequency or octaves. Octaves support each other and are in the same "chord" so to speak. I tend to think of frequency like notes on a piano. If you make these decisions, sidechaining or not, you will have a much more defined difference between the kick and bass.

Good luck!
Old 17th September 2012
  #24
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🎧 10 years
Add me to the list who's never used side chaining for this. I start my mix with the kick and snare (or clap...or whatever) and vocals. Get them sounding crisp and agreeable and make everything else fit. EQ and compression is all it takes MOST of the time but I've gone as far as using extream limiting and even clipping or distortion in some cases (very lightly...just enough to bring out the attack). One of my favorite things to do on kicks is EQ them to sound like i want, throw a comp on afterwards with a moderate attack...just enough to bring out a little pop, and then throw a CMT Bitcrusher set to ultra light. You won't hear the effects of this right away if you do it correctly but it will change how the upper mids sit in the mix.

I think the mids and upper mids of a kick are often the most neglected yet the number one reason people can't get their kicks to peek through the mix. Rule of thumb. The lower the frequency, the less you HEAR and more you FEEL. I sculp my subs based on feel more than sound. Mids and upper mids give me what I need to hear in most cases.

All that said, it's far more important that things fit, at the very least, FAIRLY well together before you even begin the mix.
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
Noidea.'s Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov ➑️
Ya don't always get the opportunity to "choose" the kicks for a record if you're just the mix engineer.

To answer the other question regarding sidechaining.

Its not compressing in parallel, its like this.

Let's just say that you have the Bass and for argument's sake its hi passed at 30hz and lowpassed at 300hz.

You have the regular compressor on the track (this is if the bass ain't compressed or dynamically static already)

Maybe some additional EQ post compression to accentuate something else I like about the bass.

So now I have this final instance of say ReaComp and its set to auxillary input at the detector (for sidechaining purposes).

I'll set the attack at something really fast like say 3ms and then I'll have the release set at 20ms to 50ms.

Ratio might be 4:1 or 2:1 and the threshold set to do maybe 1 to 2db of GR.

Then on the kick channel that I want to be hi passed at maybe 60 to 150hz before compression (use your ears!) and perhaps a high shelf set around 5000hz at -6db (adjust filter point and cut to taste).

I have whichever compressor of the day that sounds its best

then follow it with an EQ to perhaps bring something out that I like post compression or not.

Then you go into your routing and send the kick (i use pre fader sends for this) to the sidechain input on the track that the bass resides in. Enough signal to get your desired amount of GR and you should hear just the slightest teensiest weensiest drop in level when the kick hits. Its set really short so it lets more of the transient thru rather than the entire body of the kick drum. Adjusting the release time will duck the bass longer and allow more of the source through but at the expense of transparent ducking.

If I'm feeling really adventurous I might send the snare to the sidechain input too but adjust the level so it does less ducking.

There are no rules to this but don't bother wasting your time listening to things in solo all day trying to find that sweet spot. You'll think something sounds like crap in solo but then its perfect for the mix.

Getting that super solid low end (for normal systems) requires clever use of EQ, but also just using a bit of common sense if the frequencies overlap they'll be competing for space so you have to figure out which one deserves the spotlight etc..

Peace
Illumination
thanks for the very detailed info. Reading it all of it over and experimenting oh and, you're an engineer and you dont have gigs of kick drums to replace bad ones with ! what! goof

Edit: If you shelf a kick at 500 or so like you said how do you get it to cut through the mix with out that "beater" Frequency? or am i missing somthing?

Last edited by Noidea.; 17th September 2012 at 10:34 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
Noidea.'s Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHAOS ➑️
Decide who is on top and who is on bottom. (Bass frequency wise)

Sidechaining works well, but I believe it is imperative to work out initially where are those main bumps of frequency gonna go.

60hz? 100hz?

What about the top end? Is it a clicky kick or punchy bass? Should one be more sub like with round tones? Top end is a major part of defining the kick and.bass.

Also, whatever you do choose, make sure they are not the same frequency or octaves. Octaves support each other and are in the same "chord" so to speak. I tend to think of frequency like notes on a piano. If you make these decisions, sidechaining or not, you will have a much more defined difference between the kick and bass.

Good luck!
Thanks, i agree completely, i mean they tune a piano's A to a Hertz(440 or somthing lol) so you're absolutely right in your thinking. Thanks again for the tips
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
Noidea.'s Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trell Blaze ➑️
Add me to the list who's never used side chaining for this. I start my mix with the kick and snare (or clap...or whatever) and vocals. Get them sounding crisp and agreeable and make everything else fit. EQ and compression is all it takes MOST of the time but I've gone as far as using extream limiting and even clipping or distortion in some cases (very lightly...just enough to bring out the attack). One of my favorite things to do on kicks is EQ them to sound like i want, throw a comp on afterwards with a moderate attack...just enough to bring out a little pop, and then throw a CMT Bitcrusher set to ultra light. You won't hear the effects of this right away if you do it correctly but it will change how the upper mids sit in the mix.

I think the mids and upper mids of a kick are often the most neglected yet the number one reason people can't get their kicks to peek through the mix. Rule of thumb. The lower the frequency, the less you HEAR and more you FEEL. I sculp my subs based on feel more than sound. Mids and upper mids give me what I need to hear in most cases.

All that said, it's far more important that things fit, at the very least, FAIRLY well together before you even begin the mix.

So you distort kicks as well. I sumtimes distort bass to give it the upper mid. I bit crush alot of kicks for that 90's hip hop feel. what tricks do you use to stop the clashing in the mids? is there a sweet spot for each or totally dependent on the Record?
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter ➑️
If you find that you must sidechain your bass for your kick to be heard clearly, then you need to fix your kick and your bass. Seriously. I only sidechain off the kick if I'm going for an effect.
Chris...a while back you put up your mix of B Soulz - Scorpio.

I don't have it in front of me right now but I believe the song had a kick with a strong low end, and also has a bass line that share the same frequency. If that wasn't done with side chaining, how were you able to get the kick and bass so tight?

I'm hearing this in a lot of songs. If you listen to Three Six Mafia's Mafia Niggas here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq6d37k1PhA....the kick and bass on the first bar of every loop share the same note but there is no clashing. If you check the peak frequency of the kick at 1:48 when the bass is dropped, it has the same peak frequency as the bass right after the kick hits at around :24. But when they're both hitting together at the beginning of the bar, there's no clashing in this song. I'd really like to know what they did there.
Old 18th September 2012
  #29
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Great thread, thanks!

A little tip could be to use saturation, nls, kramer tape, decapitator, hls etc. to make the instruments pop more in the mids. and something like filterfreak for the subs and highs.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #30
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47radAR's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noidea. ➑️
So you distort kicks as well. I sumtimes distort bass to give it the upper mid. I bit crush alot of kicks for that 90's hip hop feel. what tricks do you use to stop the clashing in the mids? is there a sweet spot for each or totally dependent on the Record?
Totally dependent on the record. Distorting the bass, yes...I've done that as well but it's very rare and usually when the bass is too smooth in texture for the song.

I usually do a boost/cut check centered around 100 - 125hz too. In some cases a boost OR a cut there can be magic on a kick. Moderately narrow Q.
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