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Why is music these days so bass heavy?
Old 21st April 2016
  #1
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Musician's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Why is music these days so bass heavy?

I was listening to a newly bought cd from a great belgian artist (Selah Sue) in the car and the bass was so pronounced that I thought the bass was set to max on my radio and treble to minimum.
Only to find all was set to normal. I HAD to pull the bass all the way down to be able to listen to it to a more normal comfortable level overall.

This and the loudness is ridiculous.
Radiostations pimp the audio like hell, but on CD I expect normal (!) levels.

Now, I wanna try to understand this.
Suppose I would like to use one of her tracks on the CD as a reference...
WTF to make of it then??

Is this because we live in an era with ultrasharp tweeters (highs) in every low/small to midend speakers (from restaurants small in the ceilings to big in the clubs) that pimped bass compensates for it in the overall sound?
Or are people so craving for extraordinary subs and bass these days??

Really, it makes no sense to me at all.

What do y'all think?
Old 21st April 2016
  #2
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aaronsmith's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician ➑️
I was listening to a newly bought cd from a great belgian artist (Selah Sue) in the car and the bass was so pronounced that I thought the bass was set to max on my radio and treble to minimum.
Only to find all was set to normal. I HAD to pull the bass all the way down to be able to listen to it to a more normal comfortable level overall.

This and the loudness is ridiculous.
Radiostations pimp the audio like hell, but on CD I expect normal (!) levels.

Now, I wanna try to understand this.
Suppose I would like to use one of her tracks on the CD as a reference...
WTF to make of it then??

Is this because we live in an era with ultrasharp tweeters (highs) in every low/small to midend speakers (from restaurants small in the ceilings to big in the clubs) that pimped bass compensates for it in the overall sound?
Or are people so craving for extraordinary subs and bass these days??

Really, it makes no sense to me at all.

What do y'all think?
there are two reasons, more and more people like this low end hip hop sound, but the main factor i think is that songs are being mixed or mastered on incorrect setups and speakers, so they boost the bass to compensate for lack of sub frequency
Old 21st April 2016
  #3
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician ➑️
I was listening to a newly bought cd from a great belgian artist (Selah Sue) in the car and the bass was so pronounced that I thought the bass was set to max on my radio and treble to minimum.
Only to find all was set to normal. I HAD to pull the bass all the way down to be able to listen to it to a more normal comfortable level overall.

This and the loudness is ridiculous.
Radiostations pimp the audio like hell, but on CD I expect normal (!) levels.

Now, I wanna try to understand this.
Suppose I would like to use one of her tracks on the CD as a reference...
WTF to make of it then??

Is this because we live in an era with ultrasharp tweeters (highs) in every low/small to midend speakers (from restaurants small in the ceilings to big in the clubs) that pimped bass compensates for it in the overall sound?
Or are people so craving for extraordinary subs and bass these days??

Really, it makes no sense to me at all.

What do y'all think?
Caveat: Listening to the lossy encoded audio stream from YouTube, not the CD.

There is indeed quite a bit of bass but to me it sounds like it is mixed as dance music / dub / Hip Hop / etc. In that sense the bass itself isn't _too_ excessive.

That said, it does sound as though there is saturation used on the master to achieve part of the loudness. This (or whatever it is that is adding the harmonics to the low-end) makes the bass a bit muddy and interferes a bit with mid frequencies. Depending on the playback system, this could be exacerbated to the point of being annoying.

Alistair
Old 21st April 2016
  #4
Gear Guru
It just may be a crappy mix. It wouldn't be the first one.
Old 21st April 2016
  #5
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
A lot of people enjoy massive bass and buy systems to reproduce it ... is this just another complaint about the new generation music?
Old 21st April 2016
  #6
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🎧 5 years
Import the track into your DAW and use trim plugin or clip gain ( PT ) to reduce anywhere from -6 to - 9 db. Or use the volume fader and drop around the same amount if wanting to use as a reference for mixing. I choose the first method with clip gain being I mix in PT.
Old 21st April 2016
  #7
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🎧 15 years
Why is bass so loud? Because it SHOULD be
Old 22nd April 2016
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Don't know about this particular track, so can't comment on it but,
generally speaking there are several factors that contributed to
the progressive increase of low end pretty much across all generes.

Altho one thing you'll notice nowadays is how wildly
different the low end content is not only between genres but in the same aswell.
I just finished an EDM mix the other day and the 3 refs
I was given, all in the same genre, had massive difference in sub content specifically, and that is both an arrangement as well as a mixing choice.
(there are specific sub genres, or trends if you will, that are actually "built" around 1 or 2 subby elements to be the very core of the track)

But anyways, one reason is of course the fact that subs are not just common but the norm, 2.1 pc speakers, home theater systems, cars.. everyone has as multiple systems with subs nowadays.

Another is hip-hop and EDM undoubtely influenced
other genres, and engineers working on different genres started to "leak" sounds, mixing trends and techniques, and I think that's a good thing.

I myself, as I'm sure many other engineers, not only happen to but enjoy to work and switch between different genres, different projects on the same day or week, and the "contamination" between genres, I feel, makes for better mixes and better engineers (altho' I do have to spend some time "decompressing" because of that massive low end difference between genres mentioned above).

Another maybe less obvious reason could be that
if subs are the norm, also are laptops and earbuds,
so, is not that we inject subs to compensate, that'd be stupid of course, but because lows/subs are not being reproduced on those systems
we, engineers, did have to make sure the subby elements were still audible in such systems, so overall those elements that used to play maybe more of a "supporting role" like bass or kick, became more upfront and to balance out, they also got more power in the low end.

Finally, it's simply just a trend, people love low end,
$hit I love me some low end myself, when mixed
well, unfortunately some times, on bad mixes, the midrange is what
suffers and/or is being overlooked,
and regardless trends and genres, music lives in the mids son..
Old 22nd April 2016 | Show parent
  #9
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UnderTow's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retinal ➑️
I was given, all in the same genre, had massive difference in sub content specifically, and that is both an arrangement as well as a mixing choice.
Not to mention the key of the track!

Alistair
Old 22nd April 2016
  #10
WAD
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
tbh I think it's more to do with the medium people listen to music on. Vinyl can't handle bass all that well, so once CD's and now streaming took over, we could start to indulge in the bass frequencies.

Vinyl. Don't believe the hype.
Old 22nd April 2016
  #11
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nevefreak's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician ➑️
I was listening to a newly bought cd from a great belgian artist (Selah Sue) in the car and the bass was so pronounced that I thought the bass was set to max on my radio and treble to minimum.
Only to find all was set to normal. I HAD to pull the bass all the way down to be able to listen to it to a more normal comfortable level overall.

This and the loudness is ridiculous.
Radiostations pimp the audio like hell, but on CD I expect normal (!) levels.

Now, I wanna try to understand this.
Suppose I would like to use one of her tracks on the CD as a reference...
WTF to make of it then??

Is this because we live in an era with ultrasharp tweeters (highs) in every low/small to midend speakers (from restaurants small in the ceilings to big in the clubs) that pimped bass compensates for it in the overall sound?
Or are people so craving for extraordinary subs and bass these days??

Really, it makes no sense to me at all.

What do y'all think?
lot of people using bass harmonic plugins and using lots of EQ.
Lots of samples, VI.
Old 22nd April 2016
  #12
Deleted 1846071
Guest
Actually I hear a lot less bass than, say, 90s rap, hip hop, and alternative. Less low mids too.

Most recent pop is pretty finely chiseled, and there aren't a lot of low lows because it eats up loudness headroom. Even when sub lows are present, they are subtle in volume.

A few big hits of the past couple years: Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson, Love You Like A Love Song by Selena Gomez, Shake It Off by Taylor Swift...

The bass is extremely well controlled in all of them. It is rare these days to hear the big prominent bass of, say, Ghetto Supastar by Pras, or Smile by Lily Allen.
Old 22nd April 2016 | Show parent
  #13
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon ➑️
Why is bass so loud? Because it SHOULD be
Jeeeese! Bass players!
Old 22nd April 2016
  #14
Deleted 9d8db46
Guest
"If the bass is too loud, you're too old."

(I'm 63. And I think the bass is too loud)
Old 22nd April 2016
  #15
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🎧 10 years
Competition and gradual habituation is another factor that might play in. If the song before your song was really V-eq sounding, yours will sound nasal, thin, non intense and boring in comparison. It's the song people will start talking again over. The previous song takes the day.

Songs and mixes sounds more, and more, and more the further into time we get. Because we all try to be - at the very least - as powerful-sounding as you 'should' in this day and time. The few who sounds even more than that, goes off winning, and sets the new bar for the next 2 years, which people soon will consider 'how normal music sounds', and what to beat, to sound more V-eq an massive than. This escalates. Listen to a pop song of the late 60s, and to a club dance hit of today. In the 60s, technically, they could've achieved close to the same massive intensity and saturation as today too.

Movie music is a great example of that. Superman 1978 was a great movie with the music sent chills up our spines when the superman theme came on. And it did in the right spots. 10 years later, because people get chills off that, people are making music that sounds like only 'those moments'. A scene where a woman walk casually to the grocery store, will soon have 100-man orchestra and 24 piece hero hornsection over it. It's kindof what the Superman films of today is starting to sound like. Say, an everyday character feel a bit confused/sad because of something their spouse just said, requires epic dark men's choir with 500 singers singing to most languishing ode to .. existence itself, with 20 second tail on the reverb.

People always learn what others like, and then we strip away all that silence and non-central low-key music that made a few moments so hugely great. Now, we just do the 'what's great' part. Compared to nutrition, we know what people think taste the best, so we cut out everything else, and boost that which people say is the best. We end up with a diet of 99% fat and sugar.

Last edited by Sk106; 22nd April 2016 at 06:00 AM..
Old 22nd April 2016
  #16
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🎧 5 years
I think it mainly because people can

Back in the day tape recorders rolled off the extreme lows and vinyl couldnt handle it

Now with full bandwidth, high dynamic range digital record and playback you are able to include all the low and sub information

Of course, just because you can doesn't mean you should, but you know how humans are...BTW same with the live sound, except in cases of genres where it is appropriate I hear way too much bass in almost every concert I attend these days
Old 22nd April 2016
  #17
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Whack Doofa's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I think SteveGTR and Retinal kindof nailed it. As far as I can tell it's more a case of there being far lower bass rather than there being masses more than there used to be, although that has crept up overall as a trend too.

A friend played me "West End Girls" by The Pet Shop Boys last week and I was looking at his stereo trying to work out where everything under 100Hz had gone. Of course it was never there to begin with. It had obviously been mixed and mastered specifically for vinyl.

Nowadays even Β£20 computer speakers come with a little subwoofer, and speaker design has improved dramatically over the years. To be honest I like bass heavy stuff. Joe Barresi's mixes are awesome and are just loaded with sub! The only concern I have about low end these days when mixing is trying to leave a little room so that when they crank up the Bass or switch on "Loudness" it doesn't all turn to distorted mush.
Old 22nd April 2016
  #18
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Spede's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Here's a track from her latest album on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/1l9aqpdEIkXwLSwIJR47XA

There's certainly bit more bottom end than you'd hear on a track like this. Yet it seems to be an aesthetic choice instead of some kind of limitation (bad mixing, sample bass etc.): The bass sounds like P-bass going to SVT and 8x10.

However often these hyped bottom ends are paired with sparkly top ends; here instead the top end is more "vintage".
Old 22nd April 2016
  #19
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Because

Old 22nd April 2016
  #20
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drethe5th's Avatar
I think that part of it is just what you said in your original post.

The technology of crystal clear highs can push things to be overdone an sharp on the ears, and adding bass may be more of an issue of balance for the way our ears want to naturally hear things.

Theres also been a technology shift.
Full sized radios and stereos used to be the STANDARD of how music was listened to. Even with mobile devices, the initial headphones were over ear mini speakers. Now people are listening on small ear pods, and cellphones or blue tooth speakers. The decision could have been made to make things more pronounced on a smaller device.

The opposite also happens. People abandon all requirements of bass and start pushing extreme mid and high frequency shelving, low cut mixes because they are able to be perceived as louder and more clear on small devices. So rather than a musical/engineering decision based on overall EQ and taste, the current EQ moves can be made specifically to effect the perception of volume and furthered by the use of compression (aka: loudness wars).

If you can compress lots of high frequency sounds, you can make things ULTRA loud, and if the songs are being played though an iPad, Cell Phone or Blue Tooth Speaker, that's a good thing from the consumers perspective because he isn't enjoying the full sound spectrum anyway. More mixes are also being done from a mono approach, because the small portable devices (Tablets/Phones/BT Speakers) are mono. To spend time focusing on a great stereo presentation of a song, and not have it translate in its nuances and details is somewhat a waste of time for the engineer, and overlooked by the consumer.
Old 22nd April 2016
  #21
Gear Guru
I hear far less bass than 40 years ago. I mostly just hear kick drum these days. Apparently it's become the lead instrument in many modern mixes.
Old 22nd April 2016 | Show parent
  #22
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UnderTow's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
I hear far less bass than 40 years ago. I mostly just hear kick drum these days. Apparently it's become the lead instrument in many modern mixes.
I think "bass" is short for "bass frequencies" in this discussion rather than "bass instrument".

Alistair
Old 22nd April 2016
  #23
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Jaybird's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Bass is the new loud to cover up the overall lack of musical skills of the artiest. I cant say preformers because I cant tell what actual instrument they play.

"It sounds bad"
"can we add more bass" ?
"Sure"
"yeah much better"
Old 23rd April 2016 | Show parent
  #24
Deleted 9d8db46
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
I hear far less bass than 40 years ago. I mostly just hear kick drum these days. Apparently it's become the lead instrument in many modern mixes.
Thank you for saying this!
And looking over topics on this site, it's obvious . . . the obsession with kick drum mics, making room for the kick in the mix, etc.
"Dude, my kick chain is - vintage U47 tube into a Shadow Hills Equinox, then Pultec EQP 1S and through a dedicated Crane Song HEDD 192".

Old 23rd April 2016
  #25
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6 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
The big low end of some modern records is amazing. Arctic Monkeys' AM comes to mind.

It definitely has to be done right so that it has power and doesn't drown out the song. But I do love me that big bottom.
Old 23rd April 2016
  #26
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Sk106's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories, Grammy for best engineered album 2013. Some real heavy bottom end, distorted even.
Old 23rd April 2016
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Just in case nobody has said, it IS

ALLABADABASS.


IvanSC, bass player of this parish.




P.S. I 'm 72 and still LOVE to feel my trouser legs flapping when I play.
Old 23rd April 2016
  #28
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soundebler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Think it is very good to have prominent bass , the low end off Third World - Now That We 've Found Love is very nice
Old 23rd April 2016
  #29
Deleted 9e29a36
Guest
A trend in anything is bad news in my opinion. I've always wondered why more people didn't want to express their independence in thought, dress, and music.

Take the 70s, for instance. Some chicks looked hideous in halter tops but wore them nonetheless.

Same with music, some music seems well suited to bass-heavy mixes but these days, some producers would add thud to Grandpa Jones' banjo work.

I've always been beholden to mid-range frequencies, since that where most of our ears sensitivities lie, but there again, that's just a personal preference.

Last edited by Deleted 9e29a36; 23rd April 2016 at 04:08 PM.. Reason: Wrong conjunction.
Old 23rd April 2016
  #30
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Sharp11's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Technology also allows for trends - digital recording and mastering allows for much more bass information than was ever possible during the all-analog era I grew up in, especially wrt vinyl, which was always rolled off at around 60 hz.
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