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  • Too much bass after mastering

    So my band sent our songs to a mastering engineer. Got the Reference CD back last night, and it's balanced, full-sounding, all that.

    But the bass - particularly some of the lower notes in the bass guitar - seems accentuated by the compression. Some of the lower notes really ring out like never before.

    Now, to be fair, some of the bass that we recorded were screwed up and I did the best I could to salvage it, but it is what it is.

    But regardless, I never had the low notes pop out like that before, and yes, I had even mixed with a gain optimization program (Max DUY) on the Master Fader, taking it off before bouncing to disk.

    Strange. I'm going out to the desert for a couple of days, starting this afternoon, and what I'll do is drive around and listen to it a few times and gain more perspective.
    Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

  • #2
    Have you taken your room out of the equation yet? Headphones?
    __________
    Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
    Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
    Jesus

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Lee Knight
      Have you taken your room out of the equation yet? Headphones?


      Speaking of 'rooms'. I have a Ford Focus with a factory stereo voiced for 'urban' music, that is, bass in yo face, boyee!!!!

      Anyway, with hip hop and rap it just sounds great. You can feel the kick in your chest (when it's cranked) without a loss of clarity (that's with the eq flat). On the other hand when listening to anything else from rock to talk, I have to reduce the bass by a couple notches or I get crazy resonance which makes everything sound like mud.

      This actually works to my advantage as I have yet to hear a more bass-hyped system (other than club PAs) and if it is somewhat clear in the car, I knwo it's good to go (from a bass perspective anyway).
      Will Chen Trio | FrugalGuitarist.com | FG on Facebook | Forum

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      • #4
        No, I haven't done taken my room out of the question yet I played it once on my boom box in the kitchen, and then another time in my car.

        But the low notes of the bass didn't leap out before on either of these two things.

        And neither the car or the boombox oddly accentuate other music like that, so that's why I'm concerned. But as I said, I'm gonna sit on this for a little while so I feel like I can fully evaluate it.

        This is surprising since I've had stuff mastered before, and if anything, the bottom end was "smoother", the resonances more tamed. So this comes as a bit of a surprise.

        Maybe somehow all that "squishing" from mastering is somehow accentuating the low notes....
        Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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        • #5
          I'd compare your Mastered Final to other commercial releases with a spectrum analyzer to see if your guy got it wrong. Har Bal is good to use for analyzing as well.
          __________
          Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
          Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
          Jesus

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          • #6
            I had even mixed with a gain optimization program (Max DUY) on the Master Fader, taking it off before bouncing to disk


            I bet your ME loved that.....
            NOT!!!!!!!!!

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            • #7
              Well Ken....this is why I'm such a fan of Har-Bal. I'd say 85% of why I use it is to smooth out resonances below 120 Hz or so. It makes a huge difference in low end "transportability" of the mix.

              You might want to look at the mastered version through a spectrum analyzer and see if the low end has average smooth distribution of energy, or it looks like the Manhattan skyline.
              The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by where02190


                I bet your ME loved that.....
                NOT!!!!!!!!!


                Nick, I wrote:

                "I had even mixed with a gain optimization program (Max DUY) on the Master Fader, taking it off before bouncing to disk."

                In other words, i sent the mix through the Max DUY just to see what it would sound like heavily "gain-optimized" so I could kinda hear what was happening, and then I took it off before bouncing the mix to disk (mixing down, in other words).

                I wouldn't submit a mix to an ME that was already "pre-squished".
                Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                • #9
                  Well... I got tired of hearing about this hairball thing so I bought myself a copy. (After reading this thread.)

                  It's... interesting.

                  I'm doing the reading, now.

                  My first pass with the 'intuit EQ' thing (on an old mix I already thought was pretty good) produced unnoticeable changes, which I guess is good so I threw a 'difficult' mix at it, a straght-out-the-outputs General MIDI mix of Harlem Nocturne (a pretty decent Soundfont set, about 90mB, but 16 bit, and all, and, you know, straight out the GM module [well, an old SB Live in my old desktop] with no groovy outboard gear or even plugins.

                  And there, the results were more noticeable, for sure. As someone elsewhere I think said, the 'intuit' function is perhaps more educational that usably corrective. Clearly, the place to fix things is in the mix... or what passed for it. (It was one of those saturday afternoon, idle hands projects, you know. I stumbled on a great MIDI transcription of what sounds like the Viscounts arrangement of Harlem Nocturne and thought, I wonder how good I could make this sound just by putting together a good GM set? Anyhow.)

                  Anyhow, the suggested fix ended up making the guitar sound more like a an electronic harpsichord and wasn't always kind to the sax (these are GM sounds, mind you) ... but it DID clearly illustrate what, er, harmonic balance-wise, was wrong with the mix. I still liked the original mix better because making a nice forest kind of wrecked the trees...

                  But it having the sonic 'preview' was pretty illustrative. And if I was actually working on that track, I would certainly go back to the mix and see if I couldn't get it to work out more like what Har-Bal came up with in its 'remastering.'

                  Very interesting.
                  .

                  music and social links | recent listening

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                  • #10
                    <<My first pass with the 'intuit EQ' thing>>

                    Hey Blue... I'd skip that whole intuit deal. That is new and I think it's not the direction they should be going. Just don't use it.

                    I suggest you rip a tune you like the overall sound of and study the curve. Then play with superimposing that curve against your tune for education. Then try cutting some obvious problem frequencies...

                    ...you'll soon get the gist. Intuit is sketchy.
                    __________
                    Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
                    Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
                    Jesus

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                    • #11
                      It wasn't why I bought it. I would be highly suspect of any product (even with the endorsement of you my trusted friends ) the sole intended purpose of which was to in some way 'automatically' fix your mix EQ.

                      But, you can bet, that's gonna be the the very first thing I check out, no question about it. Hey, you know, it's easy to push the button if you're putting off reading the docs. (It doesn't help that whoever wrote the documentation was obviously worried that the world was running out of paragraph breaks and he'd better use them very sparyingly. And if I'm saying that... think about it. )

                      Admittedly, I was hoping for something a little sexier in the plotting dept, but what they give you is really pretty useful. (It kills me that someplace along the line I had a sweet little 3D topo map that was very good for spotting troubles. I think it was part of Cool Edit 96 -- but really it's lost in the haze of time.)


                      But I do have to say -- the 'intuit' mode gave me something to think about -- even if I didn't like how it turned out. I'll definitely be toying with it more.

                      For me, it takes a while to get a sense of the sound and quality of an EQ. When someone says of an EQ plug or device, "I could tell it was a great EQ right off the top." I think to myself, they think they've got a lot better ears than I know I've got. (Then, my ears have been through a serious lot. Almost everybody's got better hardware than I have.)
                      .

                      music and social links | recent listening

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by UstadKhanAli


                        Nick, I wrote:

                        "I had even mixed with a gain optimization program (Max DUY) on the Master Fader, taking it off before bouncing to disk."

                        In other words, i sent the mix through the Max DUY just to see what it would sound like heavily "gain-optimized" so I could kinda hear what was happening, and then I took it off before bouncing the mix to disk (mixing down, in other words).

                        I wouldn't submit a mix to an ME that was already "pre-squished".


                        Correct you are, my apologies.

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                        • #13
                          UstadKhanAli, Did you take the original mixes to a reputable ME?

                          Not to be cruel but there are a lot of people with some software based limiters, like MAXIM and MasterX claiming to be MEs because they can make things loud.

                          That said - for the future, make sure you are dealing with low-end in your mixes by using High Pass Filtering on instruments that do not need the lower frequencies.

                          In pop/rock/metal type mixes this would mean putting HPFs on things like the guitars, drum oveheads, high-hat, keys, vocals. You would need to tune the filter to the point that leaves the "essence" of that particular track while cleaning up the mud range and bottom end.

                          I run HPFs on most everything including bass, but you need to have monitoring that reproduces the low frequencies acurately.

                          Hope that helps, Oh and if the ME you used is a friend, this was not meant to be a cut on him/her, its just such a common occurence in the industry today. - Sean
                          Sean Farrington
                          Band:Profit Founder
                          www.bandprofit.com
                          Turning Your Passion For Music Into Profit

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                          • #14
                            <<Not to be cruel but there are a lot of people with some software based limiters, like MAXIM and MasterX claiming to be MEs because they can make things loud.>>

                            "It's not just the gear, it's the ear."
                            The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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                            • #15
                              Well Ken....this is why I'm such a fan of Har-Bal.


                              What is that ?

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