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Rich_Speller

Too Much Bass and not enough PUNCH!

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Now you see...with a lot of my mixes i end up with too much bass and not enough punch. Are there any tecniques that can deal with my problem?? I think it maybe the monitors i use which give me a slightly distorted view. Compression has always been a bit of a blind spot for me i tend to ignore it and hope for the best...I try to use a graphic eq over the whole mix to take out some of the bass, this sometimes works. When using a compressor pover the whole mix are there any standard settings that should apply? Basically i need to liven up my entire mix could anyone give me some tips??

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Please thake a visit to my site if you wish...there are a few examples there. It wont be there for long im afraid as i want to change the layout, etc and have cancelled my contract with my URL supplier (they are a bunch of W@*

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Now you see...with a lot of my mixes i end up with too much bass and not enough punch. Are there any tecniques that can deal with my problem??

 

Yes! Low cut EVERYTHING (run a low cut / high pass filter on ALL tracks)!

 

Low cut bass and kicks at 20-30 Hz, low cut everything else between 100 and 200 Hz. That way, the deep end won't get muddy, and you will have clear and punchy bass.

 

And you need to learn using a compresser - practice makes perfect, just fiddle around and try different things.

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You don't mention what kind of monitors you use, so maybe they emphasize bass. But I've found that in most of the cases, it's the room acoustics that are the problem. It's hard to get a good bass response out of a room unless it has been acoustically designed and treated. In the average room, you'll find so many deep cuts and heavy boosts at certain frequencies it's almost impossible to do a mix that presents bass properly.

 

Another consideration with EQ is to take out a bit in the 300-400Hz range to remove "mud." This leaves you with bass, and midrange on up.

 

If you do need to cut bass, shelving is one option but also consider adding a VERY steep shelf starting at about 40 Hz, and a slight dip at 100Hz with a parametric stage.

 

But really, you'll always be fighting your mix unless your acoustics are in order.

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BT made a couple of pretty insightful observations on this very topic in the last issue of EQ mag. The ones I remember are dumping 500 hz on just about everything, and using hi pass filters on everything in the mix except the kick drum and bass guitar (or synth) If you can solo out tracks in the mix, kill the kick and bass, then find the mud in the rest of the mix, and get rid of it. I know it will make the toms and guitar sound like {censored}, but once u kick the low end stuff back in, it all sounds normal again, just less muddy. It's funny how that works, but it does work.

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Rich, I've played bass for 34 years. Cut back the bass and emphasize the mids. The mids cut through the mix.

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I do like HPF's... I normally set them at 120 Hz or so (up or down from there, depending on the individual instrument) except for bass and kick. That will cut down on a lot of extra junk "down low" that you just don't need and that will only muddy up your mixes.

 

On Bass and Kick, like to carve out a seperate EQ area for each to "live in". For me, Kicks usually need some 60 Hz info going on for the fundamental, and I normally go for a bit of boost in the 1.5 - 3.5 kHz area to bring out more beater attack if I need that. I used to track kick with a RE20 up close and a LD condenser out in front of the kick a couple of feet, but lately I've been substituting a Yamaha Subkick in the place of the condenser and tracking that and the RE20 to seperate tracks... I can get more of the fundamental just by bringing up the Subkick track, and more attack by bringing up the RE20 track a bit. I really like that combo. :)

 

For bass, I try to dial in the bottom somewhere between 80 Hz and 125 Hz, and note definition usually can be increased by bringing out a little of the 800 Hz (or thereabouts) range. Sparkle is usually a bit higher up - in the 1.5 - 3 kHz range, but be careful that you don't go for the same frequencies on the kick and bass at the same time, or you can lose definition between them.

 

On compression, try a bit slower attack time - just enough so that the initial attack of the note can slip through before the compressor "grabs" the note - you'll get better attack / punch that way. :)

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Oh, and I agree with Craig about the 300 - 400 Hz band... too much buildup there can give you mud too, but to my way of thinking, that's the "low mids" and not really the "lows". :)

 

And of course, the importance of a good monitoring chain (room, amps, speakers and converters) can not be overstated. Definitely check out Ethan's Acoustics forum over on www.musicplayer.com for some great advice on how to treat your room on a limited budget - properly applied compressed fiberglass board is your friend. :D

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Could it be your monitors aren't good at producing low bass?

 

It's a common problem in mixes that if the low end is lacking in the speakers, the bass in the mix is turned up too much (to make the mix sound right on those speakers).

 

 

Try looking at the mix with a Real-Time Analyser. See if your bass is abnormally loud on the graph, relative to the other frequencies in the mix.

 

If that's the issue, you can either improve you monitoring setup (speakers and/or acoustic treatment for the room), or at least use the RTA once in a while when mixing to get an idea of whether your mix is balanced spectrally.

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All your ideas and experiences have helped so cheers! The monitors I am using are Absolute 2's by Spirit. Yes probably not the best. My room acoustics are not at all that good either I am sure of this.

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Then definitely take a moment to read some of the info on Ethan's forum - lots of cheap and cheerful tips can be found in his FAQ section that really won't cost you much (but may take a little DIY work on your part to put them together) but that can really make a significant improvement to your room's acoustics. :)

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Do your mixes sound bad in the control room, or translating to other systems?

 

If the former, you may need to spend more time getting sounds; different mics, placement, preamps, sources, etc. What goes in is what comes out, and the old phrase GIGO (garbage in/garbage out) applies very much.

 

Educate youself on the use of your gear more, especially compression. It can definitely be your friend come mix time.

 

When eqing, don't add what you are missing take away what you have too much of. If you find you are constantly taking away the same bands, be aware of this during tracking.

 

However, if the problem is that your mixes don't translate to the outside world well, then you have an acoustics issue.

 

Have you had your control room acoustically tuned?

 

Do you have accurate monitors properly placed?

 

These two things are IMHO the most vital to good mixes. You can have all the best gear in the world, and without accurate monitors in a properly tuned room, it's all a waste.

 

Educate yourself on acoustical room tuning, or hire a professional to do it for you.

 

From what I've read about your monitors, they don't have alot of low fq range, and many commented they are rather bright, which would lead to bottom heavy mixes. I'd recommend at least getting a second set of monitors, and set them up so you can a/b between mixes. There are several control room switchers on the market for reasonable money, Mackie Big Knob, Sampson C-Control, Presonus Central Station, etc., that allow for multiple monitor setups.

 

Perhaps it's the power behind them as well.

 

Another factor is your monitoring levels. Get yourself a $35 radio shack SPL meter, and see what level you listen at. Target a range between 70-80db A weighted. Listening at loud levels for extended periods will impeed on your hearing, and eventually cause permanent damage.

 

So, to summarize:

 

Educate yourself further when tracking, get great sounds going in without any eq or dynamics.

 

Educate yourself on control room tuning, and treat your room accordingly, or hire someone to do it.

 

Get that eq off the mix buss. Find the source of the problem and eq the source, not the end result.

 

Try to work new and improved monitors into your budget.

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Hiya Rich...just thought I'd say "howdy". I was in your fair town a couple of months back...there's another member of the SSS from Bristol I got a chance to visit, who goes by the handle of "Lakeside Studios" on the forum, and plays bass in the Shrinks and Augustine.

 

That's quite a bridge you all have there. I'm not really big on heights...but I managed to walk across it without losing my nerve.

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Compression and limiting are integral parts to pro-sound. Also what the other guys says - clean out the low end.

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