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Layering bass sounds and side chaining

From: Remixing a Song in Logic Pro

Video: Layering bass sounds and side chaining

Now that I've chosen my bass sound and my bassline, it's time to pulse the track a bit more by adding a secondary or supporting bassline. This might be a few extra notes with a different sound that plays off the main bassline or it might be an actual literal doubling of the main bassline. It all depends on how it flows with the primary bassline, the drums and the vocals. So let's go ahead and open up the ES1 and I will select Software Instrument and underneath the pull-down menu, I will select ES1 Stereo.

Layering bass sounds and side chaining

Now that I've chosen my bass sound and my bassline, it's time to pulse the track a bit more by adding a secondary or supporting bassline. This might be a few extra notes with a different sound that plays off the main bassline or it might be an actual literal doubling of the main bassline. It all depends on how it flows with the primary bassline, the drums and the vocals. So let's go ahead and open up the ES1 and I will select Software Instrument and underneath the pull-down menu, I will select ES1 Stereo.

Now I know the presets within the ES1 pretty well. So I am going to pull down the menu here and choose a lead sound. But I'm actually going to play it in the lower register, so it functions as a supporting bass sound. This is something that I actually enjoy doing. Just because a synth preset is categorized as a lead sound doesn't mean you can't use it in its lower register as a bass sound or vice-versa. A bass sound could be used as a lead sound.

So this is called Super Fat Moog. (Music playing) And I'm going to go ahead and play the looped 24 bar section and experiment with some supporting bass, riffs or lines or even just notes here and notes there to see how it sits in the groove. (Music playing) That seems to work well with the vocals, it's not stepping on it, it's filling in a little bit of a hole in and around the main bassline, and adding something to the groove in my opinion, it's filling it out a bit.

So let's go ahead and record that end. (Music playing) We click down here on the inspector and our 16A quantization. We can actually choose 8A Swing because it's an eighth note part, and I will go ahead and copy that and copy it again and so now we have a secondary bassline.

(Music playing) Now that's definitely working. I'm going to go ahead and show you a very exciting production trick that has actually been used for quite a few years now in remixing but it's the sound that I'm sure you've heard in tracks before, but might not know how to dial it up in your own studio.

So what I'm going to do is close the Quantization window in the Inspector, and I'm going to choose compressor here. What we're essentially going to do at this stage is called side-chaining the compressor with a kick drum. So this is several steps. First I am going to choose the compressor on the synth bass track right here. But before I dial in the compressor, I'm going to go up to the drums, and I'm going to duplicate the track. I'm going to click-and-hold and copy down the kick drum but I am going to move this track up and I will rename this kick trigger.

I will turn off the output, the physical output will be No Output. I go back to my secondary bassline track, double click on the Compressor plug-in and underneath side chain, I choose kick trigger. What is essentially happening here is that the kick drum, which is playing on every quarter note 1, 2, 3, 4, is going to trigger the compressor, and the compressor will then affect the bass sound. So let's go ahead and play the track with this setup now on the secondary bass track.

(Music playing) All I did here is lower the threshold on a compressor which means that the compressor is actually kicking in and doing what it's supposed to do at a lower volume rate. So in order to make sure that the compressor is triggering and affecting the bassline in time with our groove, what I like to do is mute out the other drum elements and the vocals as well, and just listen to the basslines together.

(Music playing) You can hear that the compressor is starting to sort of pump a little bit, but I'd like it to be a more drastic pump. So I open up the compressor plug-in and essentially, what I'm going to do here is tweak the Compressor settings and use my ears to make sure that the muaah of the bass sound is in time with the groove. (Music playing) So you have to play with the Ratio, you have to play with the Compressor Threshold, and you may have to play with the Attack which represents how quickly the compressor grabs the sound and actually compresses it.

Let's close this out, take a listen to all of our elements together with the vocal. (Music playing) So now we have a nice swell that comes in and around the main bassline and supports the vocal in a nice fashion.

As you experiment with layering bass sounds or programming a secondary bassline, always ask yourself if the new part is making the track better. Don't add parts for the sake of adding parts. It's easy to fall into that trap and then you wind up with a crowded track with elements fighting one another. If the bassline does not do the job, then move on to programming your synth parts. There's nothing wrong with having one bassline but this just gives you a little bit of insight into how to add a little more in the low end, a little more flavor and pulse your track a bit more.

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This video is part of

Image for Remixing a Song in Logic Pro
Remixing a Song in Logic Pro

35 video lessons · 6687 viewers

Josh Harris
Author

 
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  1. 16m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Using Logic Pro as a remixing environment
      4m 45s
    3. Optimizing Logic's performance and monitoring system usage
      4m 29s
    4. Working with software synths
      3m 15s
    5. Using the exercise files
      58s
    6. Relinking audio files
      1m 39s
  2. 22m 51s
    1. Setting up your session
      2m 34s
    2. Determining and verifying source BPM
      1m 30s
    3. Lining up vocals over a kick drum
      5m 36s
    4. Choosing destination BPM and time-stretching in Flex mode
      4m 30s
    5. Exporting time-stretched vocals and importing into a session
      4m 23s
    6. Thinking about your direction
      4m 18s
  3. 22m 50s
    1. Using Apple Loops
      6m 8s
    2. Auditioning drum loops
      5m 46s
    3. Layering drum loops
      4m 45s
    4. Drum loops and drum programming
      6m 11s
  4. 19m 56s
    1. Chord changes and harmonic structure
      4m 18s
    2. Getting bass sounds and programming bass lines
      8m 50s
    3. Layering bass sounds and side chaining
      6m 48s
  5. 34m 20s
    1. Choosing foundational synth parts and sounds
      11m 46s
    2. Layering synth parts
      10m 21s
    3. Lead line hooks
      5m 37s
    4. Synth candy
      6m 36s
  6. 12m 19s
    1. The importance of arranging
      2m 26s
    2. Arranging your track
      9m 53s
  7. 23m 3s
    1. Creating vocal samples and transitional sounds
      11m 57s
    2. Advanced vocal editing techniques
      5m 44s
    3. Filling holes in the arrangement
      5m 22s
  8. 47m 30s
    1. Mixing philosophies
      6m 30s
    2. Mixing drums and bass
      5m 40s
    3. Mixing synths and transitional sounds
      12m 14s
    4. Mixing vocals
      10m 36s
    5. Final touches, referencing, and mastering your final mix
      5m 17s
    6. Listening to the final mix
      7m 13s
  9. 47s
    1. Final thoughts
      47s

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