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Tips for Negotiating Low End in the Production Stage

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Tips for Negotiating Low End in the Production Stage
Tips for Negotiating Low End in the Production Stage - youtube Video
Hey folks, Matthew Weiss —,, and for my new workshop series. They’re little tiny tutorials, maybe about an hour in length average, that specifically focus on individual topics.

One of those individual topics is managing the low end.

Now, in this little tutorial that I’m going to give you here, I’m going to talk about getting the low end right in the production phase, so that the low end is easier to manage when you get into the mixing phase.

Alright, let’s check this out. I’ve got my little Reggae loop going here.


Cool, and I’ve decided to add a bass line.

[bass guitar]

So nothing crazy about that, it’s just a regular old little Reggae progression.

Here’s what it sounds like together.


So not horrible, but there’s a couple of things that are pretty striking.

First is that the sound of the bass guitar itself does not seem to glue into the record, and the second thing is that when the boofier kicks hit, there’s like this sort of farty distortion thing that’s happening.

So the reason that’s happening is because each one of these little individual kicks…

[kick drums]

Has a pitch center to it.

Now, this top kick, the slappier one, does not really have a very focused tone to it, but the bottom ones, the heavier, boofier ones, they do.


And it seems to be clashing.

So the way that I’m going to fix that is I’m going to go into the sampler itself, and I’m going to go to the pitch tuner right here, and I’m going to tune it down a number of semitones until it sounds right — until it no longer sounds like it has that weird, farty distortion.

What I found was if I tune it down about six semitones, that goes away, and they feel like they lock together.



So that feels a lot better in terms of how all of the tones are coming together. We’re not getting any of that weird distortion now.

That said, I feel like the kick has lost some punch. That’s probably because the tuning between our main kick and our two kick layers has probably caused a phase interaction to no longer work constructively.

So now, they’re kind of working against each other. I could simply flip the phase, or I could go in and adjust the pitch of one of the kicks.

[kicks, adjusting phase]

And just by moving that main kick up one semitone, it already becomes way punchier, and the kicks feel like they’re now hitting together again.


Let’s try the alternative. Let’s pitch this back down to where this was, and let’s grab a trim plug-in. It has this little phase button right here. Let’s try that.

[mix, kicks phase flipped]


[mix, no phase flip]


[mix, with phase flip]

So it definitely hits a little bit harder when I flip the phase.

That said, I kind of like it with it tuned up. I think that kind of works.

[mix, kick tuned up]

Because it’s more in phase when I turn it up, when I flip the phase, it no longer makes that much of a difference, and it’s better actually without the phase flipped.


So those are some considerations when you are tuning your drums. You think about how they interact together in terms of their phase relationship, and also how they interact to the sound of the record, and other low end elements, particularly when it comes to the key of the record, just the tonality in general, sometimes it’s not even necessarily a key thing, it’s just for whatever reason, the way the tones are interacting is not that great.

So you make adjustments so that it all sounds like it belongs together right off the bat. This way, when it comes time to mix, you don’t have to do all sorts of crazy stuff to get the low end working.

Alright guys, I hope you check out that workshop series, and I will catch you next time.


Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss is the recordist and mixer for multi-platinum artist Akon, and boasts a Grammy nomination for Jazz & Spellemann Award for Best Rock album. Matthew has mixed for a host of star musicians including Akon, SisQo, Ozuna, Sonny Digital, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development and 9th Wonder. Get in touch:

FREE Masterclass: Low-End Mixing Secrets

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Discover how to make your kick and bass hit hard by cutting (NOT boosting) the right frequencies! Plus, more counterintuitive ways to get fuller yet controlled low-end in your mix. Download this 40-minute workshop by Matthew Weiss, now for FREE!

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