This can push the bass back in the soundstage, and make it sit more evenly in the mix. The attack of a note is the initial spike in volume as a finger or pick strikes the strings. The only fix is to add tons of bass traps and super chunks in the corners. You'll have choices between soft and hard. The reason is, if you dip your threshold too low with a lower ratio, you'll still end up with dynamic range variances, which defeats the purpose. This can push the bass back in the soundstage, and make it sit more evenly in the mix. Enjoy! To make the bass more punchy and percussive, slow down the attack. Vocal Compression Settings: How To Nail The Perfect Sound, Multiband Compression: The Ultimate Tutorial. Once you hear it interfering with the attack of the note, back it off some. It makes a huge difference in clarity, intelligibility, and punchiness. This will often lead you to decisions that sound great in solo, but don’t hold up in the rest of the mix. There are a variety of great bass compressor plugins available. By turning down louder notes in a performance, it will help each note play back at a more equal level. This means you should hear the attack of your bass notes come through. Step 6: Parallel compression. Many people will solo the track they're working on. For most, it's easier to use headphones and deal with the compromises. There are really only two choices for this control: You can use your compressor’s gain reduction meter as an aid to help set the release time. If your attack is too fast, you'll have a smoother and softer bass since you're squashing the note's attack down. This tutorial applies not only to bass guitar but to synthetic bass lines from a synthesizer or programmed in from a plugin in your digital audio workstation (DAW). A medium setting is good—fast enough to be ready for a quiet note, not so fast that it boosts noise that occurs between notes. Any small room, even those with plenty of acoustic treatment, will still have problems with bass. This compressor also has a bright, edgy character that tends to help the bass cut through the mix. Putting a limiter on your sub is pretty much vital as it makes every note as … Repeat as much as needed until you hit the desired level. What you can do is heavily compress a version of the track and mix it into the original. You want to be hearing it in the context of the full mix. If you want to make the bass sound smoother and softer, speed up the attack. We want to level off and reduce dynamic range, so a heavier ratio and a moderately deep threshold is better than the opposite. Tip 2 – Compress the Kick and Bass Together. You can actually time it to a quarter note or half note or whatever works based on your tempo and performance. On the other hand, softer styles like jazz and folk typically need less. Parallel compression is great for making synth basses sound thicker and beefier with subtle color and texture. If not, you may be using your best compressor pedal or racked hardware. Getting it wrong is a disaster. As well as ensure that bands aren’t mixing the sound, thus giving an individual sound level of the bass. I said upright bass but really I mean any bass track that doesn't need to be completely squashed but requires "oomph" in the low-end. • Send each of your synth bass channels to an aux input and insert a colorful compressor with fast attack and release times like the CLA-76 or dbx 160.Use a high ratio to apply plenty of compression; don’t be afraid to peg the needle if it sounds good! No worries. Ultra-fast attack times will suck the life out of a bass performance by destroying its punch and impact. The good thing is to remove to assign the COMP OFF and that this makes all the grouped bands unaware that there might be some levels beyond 0dB that we need to compress. Just Industry News, Tips, and Exclusive Deals. This can sound weird and unnatural just as much as too fast of a setting can (though the knee can smooth things out). We want minimal dynamics because we want to provide a consistent experience to our listener's ears and to their speakers while using a predictable amount of headroom while mixing. Home » Columns » Mixing & Mastering » Here. The bass is the foundation of almost every mix. This will make the bass sound flat and lifeless. Flip the compressor in and out of bypass, and add makeup gain until there is no difference in level between the two. you dont need to compress it you just need a limiter, have your sub bass playing on its own then wack a spectral anylizer on it and you will notice that some notes are quieter than others. Try it if you want to understand what happens. The easy way to do this is to use the 'Mix' knob on your compressor plugin. There's not a lot of in-between when it comes to the low-end. Pro-Tip: Don't be tempted to perform these steps with your bass in solo mode. This is not only wrong but it's not needed due to the separation between bass and sub-bass frequencies and the mid range and high-end. Waves’ CLA-2A plugin—great for bass compression! Many, like the 1176 and LA-2A, have a fixed knee. This will help you achieve a bass that sounds consistent and even—so you can craft mixes that compete with the pros. If you compress too much or have too slow of a release during sidechain compression, your bass will end up having a pumping sensation, where it seems to breathe. Try a higher ratio if the bass signal is extremely uneven, but the higher the ratio, the more it will “squash” signals above the threshold. Even if you've applied sidechain compression to make the bass duck below the kick, send it all over to the summing bus. If you don't have a subwoofer, you're going to have a hard time even hearing the sub-bass frequencies or the upper bass registry that well. He has released 4 independent albums and merchandise to global sales. So how do you achieve a world-class bass sound in your mixes? It can also alter the tone and intelligibility of the recording by shaping the initial attack of each musical note. Let me know by leaving a comment below. Otherwise, a) the very loud notes would be extremely compressed, and b) you would end up compressing all but the quietest notes, so the bulk of the bass guitar track would be compressed when it really isn't necessary to do so. This can be particularly problematic in softer, mellower styles of music, where some degree of dynamic range may be desirable. You want to hear each instrument in the context of the full mix as you make decisions. If certain notes are getting lost in the mix, while others are too loud, this is also a clue that some compression might be needed. This can make the compression gentler and more transparent. Depending on the genre, you'll want differing amounts of compression. The benefit here is that, once you've balanced their relative volumes, you can control them as a group on one fader. You can mute the kick drum if needed for now. The real volume variance will come from the string attack we allow through. Some compressors will offer independent control over the knee. In general, these artifacts are a sign that you need to back off on your threshold or ratio. This may mean that you need to work on other parts of your mix first and come back. This will add solidity to the bass and help it sit better in the mix. If you’ve turned the threshold down very low but you still can’t hear certain notes, turn up the ratio. Proper compression (among other things) is often an important part of the process. Now load up your DAW and get to work! At this point you can put the compressor in bypass mode to see if the volumes are similar between the un-affected and the compressed version. As for bass guitar, watch the release time. Now we want to consider the same concept for the release time, which is, in simple terms, how long the compressor waits to stop compressing once the volume dips back below the threshold. There are some other things that can be interfering with your progress that I'd like to point out. The goal is to let the attack shine through and then immediately begin compressing. Because our ears are not particularly sensitive to level variations, it’s easy to over-compress—be careful. As well as ensure that bands aren’t mixing the sound, thus giving an individual sound level of the bass. I'll walk you through it and show you what's too much and what's just right... Compressing bass is a fundamental part of any mix, and getting it right means having a great foundation to a song with well-balanced energy and an intelligible groove. Next, adjust the attack time while listening to the front end of the bass notes. Remember—you’re trying to make the bass fit with everything else, so you need to listen to everything together in order to make the right decisions!
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