See how the pros handle the critical balance between the bass and drums. Learn where, when, why, and how EQ should be used on virtually any instrument. Become proficient in tailoring just the right effect for each particular mixing situation. And master the key to fat and punchy sounding mixes: compression. Tune in every Thursday for a new tip!
- The Abbey Road Studios reverb trick
- Secrets to a powerful and punchy mix
- Using compression like NYC pros
- Listening tips and tricks used by the world's best mixers
- How Van Halen gets their guitar sound
- Making vocals shine
- Adding excitement to boring pad tracks
- Setting up your mix to get the best results in the least amount of time
Skill Level Intermediate
- [Instructor] One of the toughest things for some mixers to do is to get the right balance between the kick and the bass. Here's a trick that will help carve out a place in the mix for both instruments. First of all let's listen to the mix and concentrate on the kick and the bass. ("Every Day Is A Gift" by Patricia Bahia) (fun bass and kick music) Now they both sound pretty good. They're recorded well. They both have enough high end and a good amount of low end but they do overlap in some of the frequencies.
What we're going to try to do is actually carve out a place so they both sit better, have a bigger sound, and a more defined sound, and yet don't fight each other. And there's a couple approaches that we can take but the first thing we'll do is we'll concentrate on the kick. Now have a listen to it and what I'm going to do is cut the compressor in and out and you can hear why that makes such a big difference. (playful kick drum music) And you can hear it gives it just a little bit more punch and this dbx 160 especially is good at that.
You can use whatever you want but what we're trying to do is just make it punch a little bit more. So the next thing we'll do is we'll add an EQ and, again, I'm not going to get fancy with this. We'll just add the standard ProTools EQ here and the first thing we're going to do is actually get rid of some of that beach ball sound and that's usually in the 400 cycle area. (playful kick drum music) Okay, now the next thing we're going to do is actually roll off some of the deep low end and the reason for that is some of it won't actually help us in the mix.
It might muddy it up and there might be some rumble down there that we don't need. And that could be coming from machinery. It could be coming from traffic. Whatever the case we can just get rid of some of the low end and it won't bother us at all. So maybe somewhere around there. (playful kick drum music) The next thing we'll do is somewhere around one or two k we'll add just a little bit more definition. (playful kick drum music) And now here's the whole secret.
We'll go down to somewhere around 80 cycles and we'll add some down there. Now 80 cycles is important because it's kind of the resonant frequency of most 22 inch kick drums and usually that's what people are using in the studio, 22 inch, so this is a good frequency to start from. So we'll add a little bit here. (playful kick drum music) You can hear it got a little bigger. Now let's listen to the difference. (playful kick drum music) Here there's more definition.
There's a little less flop. There's a little more on the bottom. We can even add a little bit more than that. Make it sound bigger. (playful kick drum music) Now let's listen to the mix. ("Every Day Is A Gift" by Patricia Bahia) Now what we're going to do is fit our bass around there and we can do it almost without even listening because there's a couple of tricks that we'll do.
And, once again, what we'll do is add our just normal seven band EQ here and, once again, what I'll do is get rid of some of this low end. This was a bass that was taken both direct and with the mic. And usually, when there's a mic involved, we can get rid of some of the low end because could be picking up some frequencies that we don't really need. Let's listen. (fun bass music) We're losing some of the low end there but that's okay 'cause we're going to put it back in a second.
So the next thing that we're going to do is add some low end in and we're going to do it in two different places. The first thing we're going to do is go to somewhere between 100 and 120 cycles. Now, take notice, we did around 80 cycles on the kick and we're going to 100 to 120. So let's go to 120 or so. (fun bass music) What you'll find is this frequency here will actually make the bass jump a little bit more out of smaller speakers and that's what we want.
Where we cut it off at about 35 or 40 here we're actually going to go down and we're going to add some down there as well. So we'll go down to about the same place. We'll add a Peaking EQ. We'll add some down here. (fun bass music) Can even bring this up a little bit. (fun bass music) Even tighten this up a little bit. (fun bass music) Now, sometimes, we want the high end snap and we can get this here.
First of all we'll get rid of some frequencies that we don't want up there which came down to, oh, somewhere around three k. And now we'll go and we'll go to about the same frequency and we'll add some in right there. (fun bass music) Now let's listen a little bit with the rest of the track. ("Every Day Is A Gift" by Patricia Bahia) One other thing that we can do we can add a little bit at 800 cycles or so.
Sometimes this works better than this one here and 800 cycles, seven 800 cycles, sometimes it's a really good place to pick up some definition in the bass. (fun bass music) ("Every Day Is A Gift" by Patricia Bahia) Now let's listen to the kick and to the bass. Just solo it up. (fun bass and kick music) Now you can hear there's definition between them and they're competing less for space because we're EQing at different places which is the whole key.
Now on the low end we want to EQ in places that, on one instrument, where we're not EQing on the other. And, in some cases, we want to add some. In some cases we want to subtract some. You're always better off if you can subtract EQ rather than add it but sometimes the easiest and the fastest way is to just add some in different places here and you don't want to add a whole lot. In this case I'm exaggerating and I'm adding more than I normally would but you'll find that you don't need nearly as much to make this work. I can bring it back here and still make it sound good. (fun bass and kick music) So in order to balance the kick and the bass so they both have space in the mix first place a high pass filter on both channels and set it to around 40 Hertz to get rid of any rumble in the track.
This might not be needed if you're using samples or if they were recorded in a very quiet room. Boost the kick at 80 Hertz on the low end and around two k on the high end for definition. If the kick has a beach ball type of sound dip it in the 200 to 400 Hertz range. On the bass track boost in the 100 to 120 Hertz region for bottom and the one k to three k region for definition. You might also want to boost some of 50 Hz for girth and 700 Hertz for more punch. In both cases the amount of boost or cut depends upon the recording and the arrangement.
Finally, remember that in some situations reversing the kick and bass frequencies might work better. The whole idea is to get each instrument to not only add bottom to the mix but to live in their own frequency space so they don't cover one another up.
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.