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The first step that I like to take when I sit down and construct to final mix is to mute all of the channels. Then I will highlight the eight bar section that contains the most amount of instrumentation. I unmute the kick drum, and I'll also unmute the kick trigger that will trigger the compressors because as I bring the bass in, the secondary bass sound, it is side chained by the kick drum. So let's listen to the kick drum by itself. (Music playing) It's a nice healthy kick sound. I don't feel the need to add any additional EQ.
My EQ setting on my mastering channel strip is taking care of some additional low-end boosting and I'll show you right there 2db at 61 Hertz to really pull a little bit extra low-end out. The next step is to bring the bass in, the main bass part. (Music playing) You'll notice I have two plug-ins on the bass, one is an EQ, and I'm rolling off the low end because I don't want any sub bass frequencies to fight with the low-end frequencies in my kick drum.
In other words you're going to run into problems with the low-end sonics of your mix, if you have a base pushing low frequencies of 60 Hertz on down and a kick drum pushing 60 Hertz on down. The two cannot live in that same sonic space. So I roll off with a high pass filter here everything below 61 Hertz and I bump it a little bit at 95, 4db at 95 Hertz with a Q. A Q refers to how narrow or wide the EQ curve is and I'll put this back where it was at 130, 1.3 and close it then I added a compressor and it's a conservative compression, not a lot 1.5db to one ratio and the threshold is at -16.5dB with a makeup gain of 1.5dB.
(Music playing) So you see that as the base is being compressed it's only been compressed about two to three dB. I'll close the compressor and as the base in drums or looping I'll add the other drum elements. (Music playing) So that grove is sounding really good. The blend is nice there is not too much going on a high end of the drums.
The high-end frequencies of the high hats and the crash cymbals and the transitional sounds are coming to the mix nicely. I like a little bit of a punch in the high end not too much, because things can get a little bit brittle and shrill sounding if there's too much high-end. Now I'll bring in the secondary base sound, our ES1 base sound that has the kick side changed into the compressor. (Music playing) You'll notice that this is poking into the red just a little bit 0.3dB, I'm not worried about it there's no audible distortion and most importantly we're not hitting the red on our Master fader and that's where you would really hear the distortion if there was any.
A slight portion to the one or two dB in the red is not a huge deal and I've never been able to pick up any sonic distortion when some of the metering goes 1, 2, 3 dB into the red on the actual independent tracks themselves. In addition to the side change compressor I've added distortion. Now I put that on Bus 6 and my Send on Bus 6 corresponds to my return on Bus 6 and let's just take a listen to what the distortion does in terms of adding a little bit of bite to this bass sound. I will solo out the bass and then I'll actually just solo out the plug-ins, so you can hear what the plug-in brings to the table in terms of adding a little bit of bite on the high-end.
(Music playing) Now let's listen to just the plug-in. Notice when I click on Bus 6 it brings up a corresponding return, Bus 6. (Music playing) So that set of frequencies is being added to this base and I've gone ahead and rolled off low-end in this bass as well. Because I have two bass sounds now and they need to coexist in terms of the low-end frequencies. (Music playing) So as you can hear, both bass sounds are sitting very nicely in the drum grove.
I start every mix this way the bass and the drums are the foundation. A word of caution when mixing drums and bass is very easy to muddy the mix with too much low end. I mentioned it with rolling off the low-end using a high pass filter with both bass sounds. I happen to like a healthy amount of lowland in my mixes, but there is a fine line and you do need to be aware of it. Compression and EQ are wonderful tools to dial these frequencies in and really listen to make sure that the low-end elements are not fighting one another.
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