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Thread: Balancing Bass Lines w/Kick Drums

  1. #1
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    Balancing Bass Lines w/Kick Drums

    Thanks for your participation.

    I am new to production. Been on Logic for about a year and had no experience prior to that. So basically I am in the common beginners rut where I get things about 80-85% finished. It seems to be all the minutia in production that prevents me from finishing something.

    The biggest issue for me right now, is finding the balance between all things creating the low end. Can you give any tips on how to find a good balance between your kick and your bass line and any thing else that is creating low end? I sort of blindly adjust levels, trying to find a balance. But I always seem to sacrifice one for the other. If I get the punch I want in my kick I lose the fatness I want in my bass line. If I find the fatness in my bass line I lose the punch in my kick.

    I've been playing with Side Chaining and compression. Ethan Made a very helpful post regarding that in an older thread in the production forum. But still don't really know what I am doing and am et to produce with confidence a Kick and Bass Line suitable for a clubs sounds system.

    Of course any other anecdotes regarding your bass line or bass drum/kick techniques would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    The rules:

    big boomy kick? then you have to use a mid rangy bass with the extreme low end rolled off to give that kick space.(subtractive eq is your friend here)


    Subby bass? well then vice versa.. use a short kick with plenty attack and watch that decay and extreme low end (subtractive eq is your friend again)

    now to find the right sweet spot......

    play just the kick and bassline ..reach for your volume knob, hope you have really small speakers, turn the volume all the way down to off...then bring the volume knob one notch up until you can just barely hear the kick. Adjust the bassline while your at this volume until the bassline just barely sits underneath the kick. The idea here is that you should hear the bassline at this volume but it should not by any means overpower the kick. It should sit right. Now you ask why so low?

    BECAUSE if it sounds right this freakin' low then guess what? It'll sound phenomenal when it's loud.

    This is probably the simplest thing someone will ever tell you..and in reality it seems stupid..especially to people who are watching you work. But trust me...it'll change your game REAL quick in a hurry.

    Now that you've done that...there are some instances where the above technique still doesn't work because the bassline falls onto the same time as the kick. This is where sidechaining/multiband comping comes into play.

    To make a long story short..what your attempting to do is this. Whenever that kick hits and the bassline falls at the same time..your telling the comp to duck the bassline. Sidechaining will get this done for you. There are a bunch of techniques but my favorite seems to be splitting the bassline into 2 sets of frequencies. One consisting of just the low end and the other the high end. I strap the sidechained comp unto the low end so when the kick hits it'll just bring down the low end of the bassline thereby not affecting the high end. So your mind gets tricked a bit better into not noticing the amplitude dip.


    hope this helps
    DF
    Last edited by dennis f; 06-28-2010 at 02:40 PM.
    "you bust your ass to make all the money you can...thinking it solves shit...and then you realize..when and if you get there at all...you got more problems and you missed out on the one thing you can't buy or get back...your life! Spend time with friends and family...You can be broke in other ways too!...."

  3. #3
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    Thanks

    So it sounds like side chaining is not something you automatically do? You only use it when you find the two are fighting each other? Have you released stuff that had no compression in it?

    edit: Just saw this in the DRUMS THREAD, so question answered.

    Quote Originally Posted by dennis f View Post
    BTW Compression is over-rated. You don't need it on everything...trust me. You only use it as a.) a sound creation tool or b.) to control amplitude variances and if so just enough to keep it in line...not crushed(unless that's what ya want..then see a.) ) lol
    Last edited by Sal Paradise; 06-28-2010 at 03:47 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Paradise View Post
    Thanks ....
    So it sounds like side chaining is not something you automatically do? You only use it when you find the two are fighting each other?
    Correct!


    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Paradise View Post
    ...
    Have you released stuff that had no compression in it?
    the rmx of "Journey To The Sun" has very few tracks with compression on it. In fact just the vox...to tell you the truth.


    DF
    "you bust your ass to make all the money you can...thinking it solves shit...and then you realize..when and if you get there at all...you got more problems and you missed out on the one thing you can't buy or get back...your life! Spend time with friends and family...You can be broke in other ways too!...."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    CHICAGO
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    Nice! This seems to be hardest for most people including myself. Much thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by dennis f View Post
    The rules:

    big boomy kick? then you have to use a mid rangy bass with the extreme low end rolled off to give that kick space.(subtractive eq is your friend here)


    Subby bass? well then vice versa.. use a short kick with plenty attack and watch that decay and extreme low end (subtractive eq is your friend again)

    now to find the right sweet spot......

    play just the kick and bassline ..reach for your volume knob, hope you have really small speakers, turn the volume all the way down to off...then bring the volume knob one notch up until you can just barely hear the kick. Adjust the bassline while your at this volume until the bassline just barely sits underneath the kick. The idea here is that you should hear the bassline at this volume but it should not by any means overpower the kick. It should sit right. Now you ask why so low?

    BECAUSE if it sounds right this freakin' low then guess what? It'll sound phenomenal when it's loud.

    This is probably the simplest thing someone will ever tell you..and in reality it seems stupid..especially to people who are watching you work. But trust me...it'll change your game REAL quick in a hurry.

    Now that you've done that...there are some instances where the above technique still doesn't work because the bassline falls onto the same time as the kick. This is where sidechaining/multiband comping comes into play.

    To make a long story short..what your attempting to do is this. Whenever that kick hits and the bassline falls at the same time..your telling the comp to duck the bassline. Sidechaining will get this done for you. There are a bunch of techniques but my favorite seems to be splitting the bassline into 2 sets of frequencies. One consisting of just the low end and the other the high end. I strap the sidechained comp unto the low end so when the kick hits it'll just bring down the low end of the bassline thereby not affecting the high end. So your mind gets tricked a bit better into not noticing the amplitude dip.


    hope this helps
    DF
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