Mixing Kick and Bass
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Old 20-08-2013, 09:51 PM   #1
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Mixing Kick and Bass

Just a few notes i have taken recently that have increased my bass sound.

Understand the 5 main areas of the audio spectrum

Sub
30-62hz
Bass
62-250hz
Mids
250-2039hz
High-Mids
2039-5920hz
Highs
5920-22000

You don't really want 2 sounds fighting for the same spot, so the next thing too think about is instrumentation.

Kick
Punch
80-100hz
Warmth
200-300hz
Beater
2500-6000hz

Bass
Weight
80-90hz
Warmth
100-300hz
Attack
500-1500hz

The Kick and the Bass share the same frequencies, so there are a few things you can do to help them share the same space, without causing too much conflict and phase issues.

Tuning
The first thing to do, is tune your kick drum to the scale you are playing your bass at. So if you are playing a bass-line in C Major, make sure your kick drums fundamental frequency is not outside of the C Major scale. You can see what fundamental frequency your kick drum is by using a spectrum analyser, such a the free spectrum analyser by Blue Cat Audio, and observing the highest peak. Next you can use a plug-in that alters the pitch of a note, to change it to the closest note that is in the scale, or find another kick drum sample.

EQ
Next, you may want to EQ out some frequencies for each sound.
You could...
High Cut the Bass at 30hz
High Cut the Kick at 70hz
Low Cut the Bass at around 600hz
The rest is down to warmth, if you have a warm sounding bass, then take out the frequencies between 100-300 of the kick drum, or vice versa.

Side-chain
Next you can side-chain your Kick Drum to the Bass, so that the attack transient of the Kick Drum forces the Bass to dip down in volume slightly. This way, the punch of the Kick, won't be conflicting with the depth of the Bass. To put side-chain compression simply...
Send the kick to an aux channel.
Mute that aux channel.
Put a compressor onto the bass.
Enable the compressors side-chain, and set it to the aux channel the kick is being sent too.
Now as you increase the threshold of the compressor, the bass will dip down when the kick is being played.
By increasing the ratio, knee and threshold, it will dip harder, and by changing the envelope settings (Attack/Release) it will react faster or slower.

Bus Compression
Now your Kick and Bass are working along side each other, you can "glue" the two instruments together using Bus Compression. Simply set the output of both instruments to a bus, then compress the signal using some medium settings, then adjust to taste.
Medium settings would only reduce the signal by 2-4db, and have a gain make-up of 2-4db as well.

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Old 20-08-2013, 09:57 PM   #2
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

nice~ cool basic info + frequency ranges!1
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Old 20-08-2013, 10:24 PM   #3
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

I still can't imagine taking the time to specifically tune the frequency of a kick drum. Pitching it up and down for making that 808-y bass line sure, but to get it in tune with other stuff - I just wouldn't. I don't see why it's necessary either - you can still use the next steps in your plan without doing that.

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Old 20-08-2013, 10:35 PM   #4
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

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Old 20-08-2013, 10:39 PM   #5
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oatbag View Post
I still can't imagine taking the time to specifically tune the frequency of a kick drum. Pitching it up and down for making that 808-y bass line sure, but to get it in tune with other stuff - I just wouldn't. I don't see why it's necessary either - you can still use the next steps in your plan without doing that.
I'm like you but I did drop a kick into simpler and play with it on my keyboard and found it sounding much much better a few steps up, just by hitting some other keys.

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Old 20-08-2013, 10:42 PM   #6
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oatbag View Post
I still can't imagine taking the time to specifically tune the frequency of a kick drum. Pitching it up and down for making that 808-y bass line sure, but to get it in tune with other stuff - I just wouldn't. I don't see why it's necessary either - you can still use the next steps in your plan without doing that.
It's all the little things that make the difference. You wouldn't play a tuned guitar with an out of tune bass, the principal is the same with the kick drum. I just think it sounds more pleasant. Each to there own though.
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Old 20-08-2013, 10:44 PM   #7
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

How often do you see the drummer in any band tuning his bass drum to better compliment the bass player? Usually its tuned to the desired sound - not to a specific frequency.
Now if you are a timpani player in an orchestra......

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Old 20-08-2013, 10:55 PM   #8
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

It depends on the kick. A big 808 with lots of harmonic content will sound better tuned, some kicks it doesn't matter as much.

I've read/watched a few interviews/master classes with DnB producers who tune every percussion sample in every song. *shrug* it depends, a little dissonance isn't always a bad thing.

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Old 21-08-2013, 12:20 PM   #9
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

One thing that does get me however.
Lets say i want to buss compress my kick and bass to "glue" them togeather
And i want to buss compress my drums for the same purpose
And i want parallel compression on my drums also

What kind of route do i take?
Would i leave my kick drum out of the "drums" group?
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Old 27-08-2013, 09:39 PM   #10
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

I'm not usually one to go tuning a kick drum specifically to a song, but for a snare it really works wonders. Most of the time it's not technically tuning it, just getting it to sit well with the most-used note of the song ime.

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Old 28-08-2013, 02:44 PM   #11
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

thanks for the interesting info
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Old 28-08-2013, 07:01 PM   #12
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippit View Post
One thing that does get me however.
Lets say i want to buss compress my kick and bass to "glue" them togeather
And i want to buss compress my drums for the same purpose
And i want parallel compression on my drums also

What kind of route do i take?
Would i leave my kick drum out of the "drums" group?
yeah, one or the other usually--either with the kick in the drum buss or the bass buss. All depends on what sounds best for the track.
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Old 29-08-2013, 02:27 AM   #13
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oatbag View Post
How often do you see the drummer in any band tuning his bass drum to better compliment the bass player? Usually its tuned to the desired sound - not to a specific frequency.
Now if you are a timpani player in an orchestra......
For one band that I was in, the tuning of the kick was always based around the tuning for the guitar. For instance, if the guitar was tuned to B standard then the kick was tuned to B, then other drums were tuned to work with the kick. The bass was then tuned to the range of the drums. In studio, if the tuning for the guitar changed then the tuning for the kick changed. Never sounded the same live.

2 cents...
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Old 29-08-2013, 06:30 PM   #14
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Actually if you tune a drum to a song's most oft-used note, sometimes it can actually get lost i nthe mix, especially with samples and/or MIDI synths (either synthesized or sample based doesnt matter) so it's sometimes better to at least find a complimentary note (like say A over a song in D) rather than the same one.

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Old 29-08-2013, 10:06 PM   #15
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Can i just say, Sub Bass and Low Bass sounds 10 X better as audio. So best bounce your midi bass down to audio.
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Old 30-08-2013, 12:13 AM   #16
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

was just reading through the comments on the thread and saw your song, i like the glitch. keep at it
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Old 30-08-2013, 12:32 AM   #17
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Mixing the kick and bass is probably one of the most trickiest thing to do. Good on you for doing the research!

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Old 08-09-2013, 09:44 PM   #18
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Nice thread. I like your explanation, thought out and simple to understand. I love the diagram too- I'm a visual learner.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:35 PM   #19
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Spectrum
Octave Range
General Instruments
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:35 PM   #20
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Re: Mixing Kick and Bass

Print em out n stick em on ya wall!

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