How to layer bass frequencies?

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Juljan
KVRist
124 posts since 3 Apr, 2014

Post Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:35 am

Hi there,

recently I tried to layer two different basses which ended up right here ...

So: I have one bass playing long legato notes on the one side, on the other a more rhythmic eighth note one. Firstly, I just had the short one but I found out that it could be more massive by another bass (which should be longer so that I get long low frequencies). I then realized that both basses together are not bad but it felt like it could be way to much. Otherwise cutting resulted in a poor result, like anything was missing.

Do you have any tips (and also in general) how to layer bass frequencies properly?

Thanks! :phones:

- Juljan

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
23435 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:03 pm

Juljan wrote:Hi there,

recently I tried to layer two different basses which ended up right here ...

So: I have one bass playing long legato notes on the one side, on the other a more rhythmic eighth note one.
Do you mean you have the two basslines panned hard left & hard right? Usually you would have your bass (& kick) dead centre.

So far as layering two basses goes, I would have one of them as a sub , tuned at least an octave below the other.

Juljan
KVRist
124 posts since 3 Apr, 2014

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:38 pm

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Juljan wrote:Hi there,

recently I tried to layer two different basses which ended up right here ...

So: I have one bass playing long legato notes on the one side, on the other a more rhythmic eighth note one.
Do you mean you have the two basslines panned hard left & hard right? Usually you would have your bass (& kick) dead centre.

So far as layering two basses goes, I would have one of them as a sub bass, tuned at least an octave below the other bass.

No, no, no, I am sorry for confusing you. :D I just wanted to differentiate the two basses. Of course the bass frequencies are completely mono and centered.

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

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:21 pm

If you have multiple basslines playing lowest fundamental, they need to be phase-aligned. Of course this assumes the phase of oscillator can be reset for both of basslines.
If oscillator is free-running, better highpass it and add low end manually, with a sine simple patch with fixed phase.
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Juljan
KVRist
124 posts since 3 Apr, 2014

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:18 am

Thanks, I will give that a try! :phones:

SOcial3ntropi
KVRer
1 posts since 24 Sep, 2018

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:03 am

Depending on the genre you should consider not mix the low bass like below 80hz. You can play the bass with best low end to your ears and highpass the other at crossover frequency which is around 80 to 100 hz on bassheavy electronic music.

Samplecraze
KVRist
320 posts since 9 Aug, 2004

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:12 am

A technique I have had success with but it really is material dependent is to layer two basses but work the harmonics of one. I might have the low end bass at say 80Hz but I will tweak the second bass's 160Hz. It doesn't always work because what you are generally after with low end layering is er low end and only low end, but it can be a good starting point. The other technique that works is to use opposing eqs much like the Pultec design of boosting and cutting at the same frequency which then creates a small shelf bump. I have tamed a low of my bass issues just by selecting the right equaliser.

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

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:26 am

bass mud is probably result of mixing few low frequencies,not a law over 80-100 hz for bass i like two or three layears to go till 37-38hz but the kick fade so have to use sidechain or else like touch the composition,not a mixing engeneer just like to experiment.Cheerz :)

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Chris Walton
KVRAF
2161 posts since 25 Jan, 2007 from the back room, away from his wife's sight (or so he thinks)

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:00 pm

Kinda been said already, but I'll say it in a different way: Decide which one of the two should have the very low frequencies, the ones that shake the floor rather than move the body. Highpass the living daylight out of the other one (100Hz at least, but in most cases, try to corroborate roughly with a harmonic of the lowest note that's being played - use a spectrum analyzer if necessary). Then, do the usual EQing to get them both to mix (you might actually choke out all of the higher frequency stuff of the lower one).
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hyperbits
KVRer
8 posts since 8 Jan, 2019

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:29 pm

Seems like you’re dealing with a couple different concepts here: arrangement, low end management and layering.

Arrangement
First off, from an arrangement perspective, it’s not ideal to have 2 distinct low end instruments happening at the exact same time. Most times, one of the bass instruments is given priority as the low end instrument for that section in particular, and the other bass instrument is kind of relegated to a “lower priority” bass instrument, meaning most low end frequencies will be saved for the main bass instrument.

More often than not, you have to make a decision to prioritize one of those instruments as the main low end instrument. Ask yourself, “Do I really need to have 2 bass instruments happening at the same time in this section?”. Maybe you realize that the long legato instrument should actually be more of a pad, while the 8th note rhythmic instrument can be the main low end instrument, carrying the rhythm forward in the lower frequencies. Or maybe you realize that the long legato instrument should be the main low end instrument, while the 8th note rhythmic figure provides movement in the mid and high-mid frequencies. Both options can provide a good texture, and both options can work, depending on the context of the track.

Being able to make this distinction in your arrangements will make mixing your tracks much, much easier. It’ll also make it easier for your listeners to understand what each instrument is contributing to your tracks. If you choose to have both instruments compete for your low end frequencies, you’re likely to have a muddy track in your hands, which will require tons of careful mixing and sidechaining.


Low End Management

If you’re using different sounds with low end information and you want them to be audible as two separate entities, then you’ll most likely be dealing with low end management challenges. This can happen if you have a deep kick and a big sounding bass, or in your case, a long, sustained bass instrument and a more rhythmic bass instrument. You can try to make this work by using sidechain compression so that your longer bass instrument track ducks in volume each time your rhythmic bass hits. This can work if done correctly, though it may leave you with no room for your kicks.

Layering

If you want to create big sounding basses, you don’t really have to layer bass frequencies. Layering bass frequencies on top of each other again and again will most likely introduce tons of phasing issues in your music.

A lot of people get this wrong about layering: they think they should be layering similar sounds when, in fact, they should be layering different sounds so that each sound brings something different to the stack.

One layer should provide the weight/low end/thump, while another should provide the body/tonality/warmth, while another layer should bring something else to the sound, and so on. This should be reflected in how you distribute the frequency spectrum among these layers. You want to distribute your frequencies among your different layers so that each layer reigns over a different frequency range.

So, your “low end/thump” layer should be given priority over the low end spectrum, meaning the rest of your layers should have little to no information in this spectrum. Your “body/tonality” layer should be given priority over the mids, meaning the rest of your layers should have little to no information on this area, and so on.

In general, if you’re layering various sounds to create one big stack, “movement” layers tend to sit more in the mids/high-mids, so ideally your 8th note rhythmic figure shouldn’t have a lot of low end, especially if you already have another layer providing that low end.

Anyway, as you can see, layering is a huge topic which can’t be fully explained here. To learn more, I highly recommend checking out this guide to layering pianos: https://hyperbitsmusic.com/ultimate-gui ... ng-pianos/

It may be written with piano sounds in mind, but the principles apply to all kinds of instruments (drums, bass, pads, etc.). Here’s also a video of layering principles that you may find useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dysVrRj9-EA

Hope this helps!

AdvancedFollower
KVRist
175 posts since 8 May, 2018 from Sweden

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:32 am

If you layer two sounds in the same frequency range, I find you're often just making it louder without realizing it, which tricks your ears into thinking it sounds better. I typically only use one deep bass sound, and sometimes layer it with something else at a higher frequency range to add "sparkle".

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excuse me please
KVRist
86 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:10 am

Yeah, always keep an eye on your master fader, you can have a kick at -10, add another one and end up at -6.3.
Then I would make sure to get their combined output at -10 again.
You also could use eq. Experiment!

Btw my old mixes contained too much reverb, which made it impossible to get the low end right. Just saying there are many opportunities where you can go wrong.

moncholo
KVRer
6 posts since 14 Jan, 2019

Re: How to layer bass frequencies?

Post Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:50 am

I agree with others here. Not a good idea to actually layer many bass frequencies doing the same thing at the same time. Most proper mixes give the illusion that that's what they're doing. But generally, there's one track that's taking care of most of the low end range, and other tracks added on top of that one to add texture and make the bass sound more interesting.

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