Pro Audio Files

Sidechaining Bass Like Jaycen Joshua

Hey, what’s going on? Justin here from Modern Mixing. So I’ve got another little tutorial for you today, and this one is going to be mixing your kick and your bass using some sidechain compression, but there’s a little bit of a twist to this one.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was watching Pensado’s Place, and he had Jaycen Joshua on, and they were talking about how Jaycen mixes lower frequencies, and Dave was saying he liked how his lower frequencies between the kick and the bass, they both filled up such a nice, big frequency range down on the bottom, but they didn’t step on each other.

So he was kind of curious as to how he was able to do that, and Jaycen said that one of his techniques was to take the bass channel, and then split that up into certain frequencies, so like bass lows, then bass highs, or bass mids, whatever, and he would sidechain the kick to the bass, and then only pull out the bass frequencies, so that the higher frequencies aren’t really going anywhere, so your ear is kind of tricked into thinking that the bass is still present, or still viable in the context of the record, but the kick is actually pulling it out so that the kick has room to breathe in that bottom end.

So I thought that was kind of interesting, and a unique approach to doing — you know, or to mixing your bottom end. So what I decided to do is sort of put something together where I felt like, you know, and especially in a digital sort of age, this is sort of how somebody could mimic that process, but at the same time, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so that anybody using any DAW could do this.

So you don’t have to use Pro Tools. You know, if you’re using Studio One, or Sonar, Cubase, whatever, it’s fine. You can basically do this in any DAW. It doesn’t matter. Every DAW now has the capability of sidechaining.

So what I have first here setup is I have the bass, which is the original bass track, and then I split that up, so the two blue tracks here are the bass low and the bass high, and then what I did was for the bass low, I have this R-EQ here, and I’m cutting out everything from 131 and above. So all you’re hearing is 131Hz and below, all the way down to zero.

For the higher bass frequencies, I have 179 set with this high pass filter, but it’s a more gradual slope, and the reason why I didn’t make it steeper, is when you sort of put the steep slope together with the bass — you know, the bass low and that steep slope, they don’t — the bass high and the bass low don’t seem to really gel together as to one, and don’t really sound like the original, so I was trying to be as true to the original sound as I possibly could so that when I split these two channels out, you know, it wasn’t sounding different, like I was kind of avoiding a lot of phasing problems, or any potential resonant bumps in the bottom end, like maybe at 100Hz or something like that. I wanted it to sound pretty much the exact same throughout.

So then, what I did on the bass high after that was I added this Camel Crusher, just to pull out some of those mids and highs, add some harmonics to it, so that way it stands out that much more, and if you’re listening to it on a pair of speakers that maybe won’t replicate the lower frequencies that well, then this will sort of help stay, you know — or at least keep the bass more present so that you can hear it.

Then obviously, on the lower one, I have the C1 Compressor, and I have this setup pretty harshly, because once the kick actually engages this compressor, I want, like, everything that the bass is doing to be pulled out. Well, to a certain extent. You know, you have to set your threshold. You don’t want it to be all pulled out, but you want to do it in a musical way. So I’m just turning it down, but I want it to be engaged immediately.

So in order to do that, I had to set my ratio really, really high, so in this case, I have it 50 to 1, and that’s going way beyond, you know, the average limiter ratio would be, so the next thing I did was I put a really, really fast attack, again, basically almost zero milliseconds, and the same concept. As soon as that kick hits, I want this kick to be pulled back basically that second. Immediately.

The release, I just set this up to sort of time with the release of the kick, so that way the bass is sort of wrapping itself around the kick. And again, this is all happening so fast, so the ear really shouldn’t pick that up, and if I solo the kick and the low bass, you’ll hear it sort of pumping, but when it’s in the mix, it’s sort of breathing in a very musical way.

So yeah, that’s about it, but what I did was I just wanted to show you the bass, low, and high together, what they sound like in comparison to the original bass, so that you could sort of hear that I was trying to keep the tones very original, and I just have to give a shoutout to one of my followers, and the viewers, readers, whatever.

His name is Jerry, and he tipped me off on this Shift S thing here for bass. You’ve got quick solo — or sorry, a quick A/B from one track to another track, or whatever, so if someone points me in the right direction, I’d definitely like to give credit for that. So anyways, thanks for that. So let’s check this out right now.


So it’s not exactly the same, but it’s pretty damn close, and then honestly, once you sort of mix things and play with things, and then of course, you have this distortion here, it’s not really going to make that much of a difference anyways, but I just wanted to start from the same starting point as the bass came. Then I could sort of manipulate it from there.


So next, let’s listen to the bass low and the bass high, and then I’ll engage the Camel Crusher.

[bass low and high, with and without Camel Crusher]

So you could definitely hear the bass coming through the mid-range a lot more now, and I probably should have said this before, but if you’re listening to it on speakers that can’t reproduce the low end, you’d probably be doing yourself a disservice, so I would suggest either putting on some headphones that can reproduce those low lows, or getting yourself in front of a nice pair of speakers that can actually do that, so you can hear what’s going on.

So the first thing I’ll do is I’m going to mute this bass high, because I just want to — I want you to be able to hear exactly what the kick and the bass are doing together without any other distractions going on. So let’s check that out now, and I’m going to turn the compressor off first, and then I’ll turn it on as it’s playing.

[kick and bass]

Okay, so let’s bring in the bass highs now, and then we’ll see what’s going on. I’ll mute it first, and then we’ll bring it in.

[kick and bass, highs and lows]

Okay, so let’s bring everything else in and what I’ll do is, you know what? Yeah, I’ll just play it.


So let me turn the compressor off now, and then you’ll hear sort of the difference, and then while it’s playing too, I’ll turn it back on, and then hopefully you can hear the before and after.

[mix, before and after sidechain compression]

So yeah. So it just — you know, you should be able to hear the bass is now getting out of the way of that kick, because that kick has a lot of pop to that bottom end, so it’s kind of crazy, but it just makes that kick and the rest of the drum kit just have that much more space, and without that lower frequencies being pulled out from the bass, it just doesn’t sound quite the same. There’s that low rumble frequency from the bass that just continues to live there, and every time that kick hits, it sort of meshes with that low end, and it sort of starts to get a little fuzzy, a little bit rumbly, and then of course, it makes your speakers start to do some wonky things, so it’s not quite as tight, but yeah.

So that’s it. It’s really simple. Like I said, you can apply this in any DAW. You don’t necessarily have to just use this for Hip Hop, but I know Jason does a lot of Hip Hop, so I wanted to show that in the context of a Hip Hop record. And again, sidechaining, it doesn’t just have to be confined to EDM style music. You can use this in Hip Hop, you can use this in R&B, you know, damn, you could use this in Country if you want. There’s just no limits.

We’re living in a world where there’s so many possibilities, and there’s no one way to skin a cat, so if you want to take this concept and you want to use it on a record that you were working on, let’s just say you can’t figure out that bass frequency, and let’s just say it’s a Folk record, or it’s a Country record. Sidechain the bass, who cares, if it sounds better, then it is better. That’s all there is to it.

So hopefully, I was able to help you out there, and I will catch you in the next video. Take care.


Justin Smith

Justin Smith

Justin is an audio engineer who is passionate about mixing. When he’s not mixing a song you can find him at Modern Mixing and Modern Samples.

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