How to Mix Multiple Synth Basses with Mid-Side EQ ft. Waves H EQ, Waves CLA76, Waves SSL EQ

Hey, what’s up guys? I’ve got another video for you this week.

I thought we would look at basses. I’ve got a Dance kind of Trance House track thing I’m working on. The client had three basses stacked on top of each other, and I thought I would break down how I kind of approach things like this and how I make room for three different bass lines in a song.

So I’ll play the example, and then we’ll break it down like we always do. So here we go.

[mix]

Right. Okay. So we’ve got three tracks. We’ve got a sub bass, it sounds like this.

[sub bass]

Right. Have what I consider to be the main kind of track for the basses.

[saw bass]

Then there’s this kind of glue, the mid bass.

[mid bass]

Right. And this is what they sounded like when I got them together, just the basses.

[basses, raw]

A lot of stuff stacked up together. So let’s just go through.

So sub frequencies, I don’t like to mess with these too much. Things can get dangerous when you start boosting anything below 50.

[sub bass]

So really you just kind of have to turn these things up, get them to level. I do some low passing on it.

[sub bass with low pass]

There’s some high frequency stuff in there kind of floating around.

[sub bass]

I thought I’d just let the kick drum kind of do its thing. We’ll look at the kick drum a bit too in the end.

So yeah, 12 dB per octave at about 1kHz. So pretty significant low pass filtering.

[sub bass]

Alright, cool. So that’s the sub.

Then we get to this main, and we’re doing some mid/side EQing.

[saw bass]

And I’ve never talked about that before, so basically, mid/side processing, which I’m sure you’ve heard before, heard guys talking about, that’s essentially where you can process what’s happening down the center differently than you process what’s happening on the sides.

I’m using Waves H-EQ. You flip it over to — here it’s in stereo, you just hit the button and it goes to mono M/S mode, mid/side. You can flip between two different EQ settings here for mids and sides.

So my mids are this orange curve, and you can see, we’re high passing 232 a bit, and cutting out some 330, and I’ll solo that so you can hear that.

[saw bass with EQ]

Again, so we high pass, so we’ll leave room for the sub. Then cut out some of the sort of meaty kind of high stuff here at 330.

[saw bass]

Just to make the center feel a little more subby and round.

[saw bass]

Because on the sides, we’re going to kick all of that attack and leave more of that on the edges so you get some width out of it and it spreads.

[saw bass]

So that’s what the sides sound like.

[saw bass]

High passing at 48.

[saw bass]

Then boosting a little bit of that edge, a little bit of that bite, a bit of that attack at 1,449.

[saw bass]

And this is what it sounds like in full stereo.

[saw bass]

So with the sub, and then I’ll bypass EQ on and off.

[saw and sub bass]

So it kind of spreads things out and kind of lets things get a little more separation in this little bass world.

So that’s the sub and the main, and then you’ve got the mids here. And I’ll talk about — I’ll show you the compressor settings too, don’t worry. I know you want to see that.

So here’s this mid part. It sounds like this.

[mid bass]

It gets a little more focused to the center.

[mid bass]

So we’re taking a little bit off.

So on the sides, high passing quite a bit.

[mid bass, sides]

A little bit of grit we’re boosting at 1,449 or so.

Down the center.

[mid bass]

A lot of low passing, because I want to leave room for the highs on the sides. Leave the center kind of round.

[mid bass]

It’s got a little bit of sub on it naturally, but we already have a sub bass track, so I really don’t need this thing giving me much sub.

[mid bass]

That’s what you’re going to get with that.

So that’s what it sounds — here’s what it sounds like with the main bass track.

[mid bass and saw bass]

Right. So again, if we didn’t have these EQ settings on…

[basses]

It just sounds like a mess, right? So EQ can help us separate things and organize sounds.

So as far as compression goes, I don’t really compress sub stuff. I don’t like to compress 808s either. Maybe a limiter on them to get them louder or something, but I mean, as you can see by the wav files, these things are pretty squashed as it is.

On the main track, I really just wanted to make it punchier, because it’s got so much bite and kind of a percussive kind of nature to it.

[saw bass]

As you can hear.

So we’re going all the way slow on the attack, as slow as an 1176 can be. Then pretty quick on the release. Four to one.

[saw bass]

Three to four dB of gain reduction.

[saw bass]

So with the slow attack, the transients come through, and then the compressor engages and brings the rest down so you get that punchy feel.

We all know how that works.

Mid bass, kind of the same thing. Maybe not quite as drastic.

[mid bass]

There’s a little bit of volume difference there, I know someone is going to bitch about that.

[mid bass]

But I’m too lazy to adjust the volumes.

Let’s listen to this with the drums, and then we’ll look at the kick.

[mix]

So the kick drum really doesn’t have a whole lot going on with it. As far as really subby stuff, there’s, I mean, it’s got a lot of punch and knock to it.

[drums]

Yeah, so I mean, boosting some 50 quite a bit, ducking out some 290. Boosting some 220. Er, boosting some 1.2kHz. Some attack.

[drums]

It plays nicely with the sub, which is kind of the most important thing.

[drums and sub bass]

Some compression going on the kick.

[drums and bass]

Quite a bit. As well as parallel compression too.

But that’s it, man. This lesson is more of — this tutorial is more about bass land than kick drum land.

So check out mid/side processing. You can really use it to widen some things. Kind of scoop out some sounds and move it around the stereo field a little bit. Play with that. I know a lot of guys are stacking bass sounds these days.

Personally, I would’ve left these — I probably would’ve left the sub mono. I got these from a client, so you don’t always get to choose how things are printed. I would’ve left the sub mono. You could’ve got along — you could’ve gotten away with the bass — these two mid tracks in stereo, but think about that too when you’re doing your bass stuff. Typically mono works better.

With percussive things like this though, it’s cool that it’s spread I think.

[drums and bass]

Get it really wide, just gets a wall of sound.

So anyways, that’s that. Like the video, add me on Twitter, I think I’m going to do a Q&A video soon, so submit a bunch of questions. Follow me on Twitter, post them on the Facebook wall, or you can e-mail them to me. I’ll try to get ten or twelve questions and do a vlog type video and just kind of answer some stuff people have questions about.

So do that, go check out the website, and I will see you in the next video. Later.

Mixnotes

Mixnotes

Mixnotes is a YouTube channel with tutorials on mixing, recording, business, plugins and more. We've partnered with them to feature some of their videos on The Pro Audio Files.
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