EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

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Liney
KVRist
120 posts since 11 Mar, 2014

Post Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:43 am

I know that the short answer to this is 'use your ears!', and I do intend to, but I'm just looking for some general guidance regarding filter slopes etc.

So: you have a synth created kick drum, which is tuned to note A1 (55Hz). Let's please not get into whether or not kicks should be tuned (as interesting as that is)...this kick is. It is being fed through a little processing (Saturation, Compression, EQ), so it has been dirtied up a little with a few extra overtones.

You want an edgy/aggressive synth bass sound (rather than a sub-y bass) that will sit nicely with it. Do you:

a) make a synth bass that has its root at 55Hz also (when it is playing an A - but its root is always in that octave), and then use a HPF to give space to the kick? I know that some producers definitely use a HPF when the kick is sitting below the bass, and my specific question is 'what sort of slope should I be looking at?' I use Fabfilter Pro Q, so I have access to steep and shallow slopes, and everything in between. I'm sure that you can surgically EQ everything in a mix around each other with steep slopes, but that probably doesn't sound very musical, or lacks weight. The kick's 'pressure point' stretches up to about 70-80Hz. A HPF with 24dB slope on the bass synth set at 100Hz will let some frequencies through all the way down to about 50Hz, and will attenuate some up to about 140Hz. So obviously its a balancing act between not loosing too much of the bass synth, but not masking the punch of the kick.

Again, I know there is no fixed rule, but what sort of slope would you generally use, and how much overlap would you generally allow (between kick and bass)?

b) would you use a different approach, like placing the bass an octave higher in the first place, or using a low shelf on the bass rather than a HPF...or just sidechain compression etc?

Any help much appreciated as always...

_al_
KVRist
324 posts since 28 Oct, 2014

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:12 pm

for me, that would depend on whether the bass is a single note bass, or a melodic bass (playing more than one note).

if it's single note, then i will just give the bass a small narrow EQ dip at 55z (maybe 3 or 4 db), and let them just overlap with each other. (my bass will also be a couple db lower than than the kick before i even eq).

if it's a melodic bass, then i have to think a bit more. if it's 4/4 dance music, then i will sometimes use filtershaper or similar to give the bass a highpass every time the kick hits, taking the time to create a curve so that you cant actually hear the bass being highpassed, as the gaps are filled with the kick. i will also have to create an automation lane, so i can switch to a non-ducking pattern every time the kick stops (or automate the plugin wet/dry if available).
other times i will think screw that, and just high pass the bass, and use a sine with to create a simplified version of the bass underneath, and make sure that it never overlaps with the kick.

if it's melodic bass, with a non-4/4 kick (breakbeat etc), then i will sometimes sidechain the kick and bass, with a highpass, so the kick cause the bass to filter out its sub (fast attack release settings).
sometimes i will sidechain the kick to an EQ for the same result. i think this is actually the best solution.
other times i will think screw that, and just high pass the bass, and use a sine with to create a simplified version of the bass underneath, and make sure that it never overlaps with the kick. :hihi:

Liney
KVRist
120 posts since 11 Mar, 2014

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:45 am

Many thanks _al_. The different approaches to melodic bass lines and single note bass lines is very helpful. At the moment my bass lines all fall into the melodic category.

When you high pass the bass, how much are you removing?

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VELLTONE MUSIC
KVRian
545 posts since 19 Sep, 2017 from Bulgaria

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:47 am

Not mixing engineer but dealing with same issues all the time i'd like to say
well bigger problem is when kick is layered and have many overtones and the bass go to 55hz as well and neither sidechain nor eq as single processing works 100% :)
I guess the composition have to give hint what technique to use,suppressing bass isn't rule just common situation in EDM styles ,but sometimes is opposite in styles like pop,rock,hip hop so on ...never one solution works two times same way,make 10 variations with different techniques and values of volume or loudness and see for yourself - for best results again ears hihihi :):):)

_al_
KVRist
324 posts since 28 Oct, 2014

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:23 am

Liney wrote: When you high pass the bass, how much are you removing?
this will vary, but you have to work out when it's "just enough".
there is 2 factors to consider.
1: is it enough to stop it adding noticable power and phasing to the kick?
2: can i hear that the bass is being highpassed?

so adjust the highpass and set as strong as you can, without it being an audible effect. part of this trick is to make sure that the filter slope is very tight with the kick, so when the kick stops, the bass is immediately there.
with the cableguys technique, this will be a case of adjusting the envelope shape and the depth, until you got it right.
with the sidechain technique it's a case of using fast attack / release, and adjusting ratio.

from there you need to make sure the kick is not getting magnified too much from the reduced sub, so use an analyser and check that every beat in your 8 bar loop is peaking roughly the same db at 55hz.
if not, and you cant highpass anymore without it being heard, then you can just go with it, and merge the kick and bass on another track, and give them some compression (i use multiband).
but personally i find i'm usually able to highpass it enough to be acceptable.

also, try not to get over worried about this. i've heard some very popular tracks that suffer from the uneven kick problem, and i've also heard people say that they like the effect, as it adds an organic feel to the music.

Liney
KVRist
120 posts since 11 Mar, 2014

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:18 am

Thanks once again for your answers. I'll dive in and get my hands dirty by trying a few things out, but having this guidance first is very useful. I like the notion of trying to high pass the bass without it being too noticeable, but just enough to allow the kick to punch.

_al_
KVRist
324 posts since 28 Oct, 2014

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:20 am

Liney wrote: I like the notion of trying to high pass the bass without it being too noticeable, but just enough to allow the kick to punch.
Ok, but be aware, i was talking about carefully editing the envelope in the time domain, not the frequency domain (which obviously is still important)
:phones:

hyperbits
KVRer
8 posts since 8 Jan, 2019

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:16 pm

Some great answers in here already! I’ll add some other thoughts.

First I want to talk about headroom. Since your kick and bass can be some of the loudest elements in your mix, how you treat your kick/bass relationship is very, very relevant to your overall headroom. Why is that?

Transient Clashes
This happens when you have multiple transients (your kick, plus an 808, plus a synth stab, etc.) all happening at once. This creates buildup in the low end, causing unwanted distortion. You can fix it by avoiding multiple, loud transients from happening at the same time.

How do you make sure that your kick and bass transient never hit together?

Work in Audio
This is rarely mentioned, but if you bounce all your tracks to audio (instead of using midi), you’ll get the visual feedback of the audio waveforms. This makes it way easier to see and fix issues with overlapping transients, and working in audio generally gives you way more control over your final track. I can’t recommend this enough.

Get this right, and you’ll be much closer to having loud and full sounding kicks and bass lines with plenty of headroom. How do you achieve this?

Fades
If you’re working in audio, you can zoom into the spots where you have multiple transients and add a little fade-in to your bass sounds. This will get the bass out of the way of the kick for that initial transient, allowing the kick to shine through in all its glory. The bass should be audible right after the attack of the kick. This is a VERY small fade that you’re doing. If you do it right, the attack from your bass won’t be missed.

It’s also a good idea to cut the decay of your kicks so they are as short as possible and add a nice little fade at the end. This allows your bass instrument to shine through right after that initial kick attack. Most times, you don’t really need a long kick, especially if you have driving, melodic bass lines happening at the same time.

I could go on but I don’t want to make this answer too long. If you really want to improve your kick/bass relationship, here’s a deeper post on this subject: https://hyperbitsmusic.com/how-to-achie ... ationship/

Cheers!

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
2904 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:28 am

hyperbits wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:16 pm
Transient Clashes
This happens when you have multiple transients (your kick, plus an 808, plus a synth stab, etc.) all happening at once. This creates buildup in the low end, causing unwanted distortion. You can fix it by avoiding multiple, loud transients from happening at the same time.
This is a very interesting advice, but I don't quite see the relationship between the two. How transients (short sounds with high frequency) can cause issues in low end?
http://djwarmonger.wordpress.com/
Tricky-Loops wrote: (...)someone like Armin van Buuren who claims to make a track in half an hour and all his songs sound somewhat boring(...)

hyperbits
KVRer
8 posts since 8 Jan, 2019

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:17 pm

Also interesting perspective @Dj Warmonger! I never viewed transients as limited to high-frequency sounds. Something like an 808 or a kick or a synth stab certainly can have low end + high-end transients, so I was bucketing them all together.

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Touch The Universe
KVRAF
3459 posts since 2 Oct, 2008

Re: EQing Kick and Bass around one another (kick sitting below) - specific question(s)

Post Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:50 pm

I'd just like to add don't forget about the high end of the kick. I'm finding my kick and bass fit better together when I eq a lot of the highs out on the bass, even a highshelf down to 500hz -6db. It works well for psy goa, especially if I have complex layers or leads and other stuff going on. I kind of want the bass thrown in the back ground and not have it fill out the entire frequency spectrum like I used to do. It sounds good when its kick and bass solo but it eats too much headroom.

Some tracks I don't even bother though and it still sounds good :hihi:
High Quality Soundsets for Lush-101, Hive, Electra 2, Diversion, Halion, Largo, Rapid, Dune II, and Spire.
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