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Thread: kick/bass approach

  1. #1
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    kick/bass approach

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    Since my last thread ("panning mono tracks for stereo mixdown" below)generated a lot of response and led to a bunch of good info being posted as well as some equally interesting tangential side discussions,all continuing to contribute to my developing understanding of different aspects of the recording process,I figured I'd post a new thread on a subject which was touched on in the previous thread that I'm currently involved in working out an approach to-

    getting the kick drum and bass part to work together "hand in glove" in the mix- and especially in terms of each other....

    There's a lot of good info available online about this going into detail about things like EQ'ng them in relation to each other;cutting/boosting in a complementary way to avoid masking -I've been studying a lot about things,copying down the info and applying it to what I do ....

    But there's still a gap between what I want to achieve and the results I'm getting so I decided to post this and see what people's feedback would be...

    I spent some time today getting a good bass recording w/EQ + compression settings I liked..but even though I had a concept for the type of kick sound to use w/it and worked on coming up w/EQ/compression for what I thought
    would be the right combination,the result didn't work as I'd hoped
    ...so I took a break from 4/5 hours of listenening to the kick part for the track I'm putting together( (right around the time the fallout from working on getting the settings for it started to produce a simulated "standing next to a jackhammer without earplugs "effect) and posted this...

    I guess it takes a while to be able to judge beforehand whether the sound you have in mind for each will actually work together.once you record them...the bass sound I'm using is one I like for the track,I want to keep it but every kick sound I've tried to fit it hasn't been right for it...

    The track is @ 96 BPM and has a kind of urban/dance feel to it.. the kick/bass part is one of the focus aspects of it....the bass duplicates the kick pattern in places and fills in rhythmically around it in others..so I I have to get this right...

    Probably the reason I"m having difficulty with it is that I've been spending time working on getting different kick sounds and gone from thinking in terms of kicks that have a strong lower-mid sound w/some higher mids to set up the beater effect to trying to get the stereotypical" muffled thud" rap/hip-hop kick sound without much upper mids and w/more of the 50>100Hz frequencies...this just didn't work w/the bass sound ....at present I have a reworked version of this kind of kick sound recorded that has a lot of punch to it, I'm going to try layering it w/one w/more mid-beater range frequencies and see if this works...

    I'll be heading "back to the drawing board"but before I do I wanted to ask the forum community for any ideas/experiences re-this....

    In specific,what kind of kick/bass pitch relationship do people use?The bass part for this track is a melodically simple one w/just the root pedal of the chords used played....and as a result the kick pitch has become a factor -which I'm thinking shouldn't be the case as once the track is put together the kick pitch won't be as evident and the percussive effect will be more mportant in the mix...

    As always any and all feedback appreciated....
    Last edited by smg; 08-07-2018 at 19:24.

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    First off, I feel your pain. This is the hardest part of a mix by far. What is your monitoring system?

    In general, if my bass is beefy like a motown type thing I'll go for a thinner kick, and visa versa. You can only do so much with EQ so picking the right samples that compliment one another is the first step. I think your idea of trying different sounds and then taking a break is a good one. Do that enough, and you'll begin to hear what's working. Your ears are evolving each time you go through the process. Only you will know when it's right, but if you post the clip, we can offer our opinions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nola View Post
    First off, I feel your pain. This is the hardest part of a mix by far. What is your monitoring system?

    In general, if my bass is beefy like a motown type thing I'll go for a thinner kick, and visa versa. You can only do so much with EQ so picking the right samples that compliment one another is the first step. I think your idea of trying different sounds and then taking a break is a good one. Do that enough, and you'll begin to hear what's working. Your ears are evolving each time you go through the process. Only you will know when it's right, but if you post the clip, we can offer our opinions.
    A total + 1 to this^

    I have learned over time that it is not possible to get it right every time without a past of getting it wrong.

    Be patient. It takes time to train yourself to know what to expect an outcome to be at the start. Hope that made sense...
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 9 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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    Ha! I was just reading about a similar problem on another site's older posts - - Getting a "tight/punchy" bass recording | Recording Pro Audio Community

    You may not be looking for this particular type of sound, but this may help in other areas.
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
    And, uh, oh - hire a decorator to come in here quick, 'cause... DAMN.

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    Couple of thoughts: Genre is almost always going to determine what is the frequency dominant instrument in a particular area(sub, bass, low mid, etc)so a reference track that has a similar sound you are going for is super helpful. Secondly, one of the best ways to have an interesting and dynamic track is to automate changes so that in different song sections the dominant bass sound changes from say kick to bass and vice versa. Decide which should be the feature in that particular part of the song at specific parts of the song and mix accordingly. Thirdly, dance music often uses a subharmonic synth triggered by the kick that comes and goes during the song so if you are going the dance beat route don't try to make it just the kick sound alone. Fourth, is don't forget you can use sidechain compression to "duck" either instrument depending on the requirements of the arrangement, again changing what ducks what through the song adds dynamic movement/interest. Lastly, one often forgotten concept: our ears can be fooled so that if we decrease the volume of the sound quickly after it is introduced, our brain brings the level back up, which means slight volume drops after the first note in a bar , etc can give you space for another instrument to poke through without changing the perceived volumes/mix.
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    1. Decide whether the kick or the bass is the instrument that drives the song
    2. Get the sound you want out of that instrument
    3. Make the other one work with it.

    One of the things that will help with the bass sound is getting the midrange right. Bass doesn't necessarily have to have a ton of low end that will fight with the kick. You can easily have the low end of the kick at 50hz and the low end of the bass at 100hz, for example.

    A lot of the clarity of the bass will be in the 800hz range. That is the part of the sound that helps the bass cut through the mix.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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  8. #7
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    Hey thx everybody for replying to this...much appreciated....

    I'll reply to peoples' posts in more detail a little later on but a few things from just reading through the posts-

    First off though,yesterday I went back + listened to things again for a while,checked the levels of what I had on the Tascam and figured some things out about what was going on..

    When I put the track together using the approach I've described over here in earlier threads - setting the tracks up on the keyboard workstation sequencer + the drum machine going through some little speakers, I was focusing on getting the rhythmic sync as precise as possible...i.e.I had the kick/hat up in the mix so I could hear how everything worked timewise....+ I worked on this 2/3,days till I had things where I wanted ....so I got used to hearing the mix this way...and the speakers I use out of the ZOOM RT223 drum machine aren't great for bass response so the kick sound is all highs/beater sound etc....

    Then I recorded the keyboard mix into the Tascam to use as a reference track to set up the drum mix tracks(recording each component of the kit to individual tracks then mixing them down to stereo mix track etc as prev described here...)and I realized what was throwing me yesterday was the difference between how I'd been hearing the mix prior to moving things onto the Tascam and the headphone mix I was listening to yesterday( as opposed to the sound through keyboard speakers/off little speakers from Zoom.I'd gotten used to...

    Both the new bass sound I set up on a track as well as the "muffled thud"kick sound listened to along w/the reference mix track produced a new mix that was completely different sounding than what IId gotten used to hearing over the time period I put things together...the changed bass sound as the beginning of the rest of the track instruments transferred to individual tracks and developed w/EQ/compression etc made the mix reference track sound different and after the time I spent getting it right led to an unsettled reaction...which will change once the rest of the Iinstrumental parts are on individual tracks and I can set the mix up again....

    Most important though was the difference between the way I'd been hearing the kick through the speakers which made the sync processes easy and the new kick sound which was completely different and had so much body to it that it completely changed the way the track(complete mix as heard on Tascam made up of one track w/new bass,one w/new kick and one w/mix off keyboard) sounded,no snare on 2/4 or 16th note hihat recorded yet to make the complete mix work as it had before starting to transfer things...

    So I realized I'll have to get used to working w/things and scale back a little my ingrained tendency to react judgementally to things when they're in the process of development...

    To get to the replies to the thread a little-

    Monitor- wise I use some cans w/a good frequency response between 20Hz-20k as well as some speakers with adjustable bass/treble -these are probably 60Hz>16k or something.. I check the mix/tracks individually as I'm setting it up w/the controls both in the middle as well as boosted where they sound like the headphone mix ....also I check the mix through the keyboard speakers re-"translation focus"-I plan on working more w/this i.e. checking mixes through the Samson S curve by boosting/cutting different ranges to simulate whar programs like Soundways Reveal do i.e. 2-5 k...

    This AM I spent some time reviewing where I had specific kick/bass reference tracks so I can find them easily and use them as go-to examples w/these processes..coincidentally I saw the reply above about this when I got online and checked the replies...

    I really appreciate the tips about different types of music using different approaches and the suggestion about making different parts of the song have different bass/kick mixes...

    Thx for the link- checked it out..good info /forum...posted there a month back...

    Info about what kind of bass sounds work w/specific kick sound approaches like some of the replies had is especially of interest right now as,since I'm just getting started w/these recording processes (after just using a little handheld digital recorder to make demos of the material recorded off the speakers out of the ZOOM/keyboard speakers mix described above),I have a lot of ideas about different types of sounds for each instrument developed and stored internally reactive to things I've heard over the last couple of years while I developed the material that I'm now getting into seeing how to get w/the EQ/compression settings etc and invariably this leads to situations like what I experienced yesterday i.e.getting intended sounds for instruments that don't work together...

    Again couldn't emphasize enough how the fact that people replied gave me the important sense of having a community to run things by,a definitely necessary component of working on things...thx again to everyone...
    Last edited by smg; 08-08-2018 at 10:16.

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  10. #8
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    Progress report -tracked layered kick pitched an octave up w/a different sound to give it some mids/beater sound and mixed them w/this one up in mix ,think I got a better effect overall..glad I decided to keep the othe one from yesterday as it conttibuted to the overall impact of the kick...added SN + mix is starting to materialize...now on to the hihat...always much better when things move along instead of having to spend too long on something trying to get the intended result...have too much material to get bogged down w/something...

    One thing to mention-I'm glad I got the Samson- the snare had a ringing high pitch overtone audible and I was able to find out just where it was (315-400 Hz bands) instead of wondering what to do about it like I used to before I got it....gives you a sense of competence/ability to deal w/amorphous things in an empowered way...after a while of messing w/things while continuing to hear it I checked different bands and there it was,boosted the range and could hear it clearly...
    .

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    The first time you get a live snare to sound "like a record" is kewl.
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    Well the drum track is on there now and fortunately the kick isn't the focus anymore... .I have two different sounding kicks on adjacent tracks panned just L/R of center and can tweak the kick sound either way levelwise -whether I want more thud or more beater/mids in the drum mix...now I have to take care of a couple of new concerns(tomorrow!!)with the way the open hihat sounds in the mix ...too short a duration or something...think it's cutting out a hair before the closed.hihat comes back in on one and sets up a groove-destroying effect...and the crash cymbal has to be re-EQ'd or something so the attack won't have too many lows....

    Both yesterday and today I set a cutoff point for working on the track since its been about 4/5,days now ,and just practiced some keyboard stuff...think I need to gradually get used to dealing w/a shift to 24-7 recording focus ....takes a mindset/approach that is a little different than just playing music/composing etc.
    .

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