Sub bass

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zielvis
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Sub bass

Post by zielvis » Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:56 am

Hello Everybody,

I'd like to ask You for some advice. I made a song (later transformed to a remix of another tune) which features a bass line which is kinda "sub"... I'm not familiar with the style but I think it has a dub flavour to it.

What worries me is that it sounds completely different on different speakers - and I mean DIFFERENT. On my AKG K240 headphones and my stereo's speakers (which are my "monitors" at the moment) everything is fine, the bass is low, solid and even sounding. But when I listen to it on my iPod headphones or computer speakers (a decent "home theatre"set), some notes almost dissapear. It's not like the overall sound or timbre is different, SOME NOTES are different - that confuses me a lot.

I don't have an idea what it can be caused by. I'd be grateful if You could take a listen and suggest something. The remix can be heard here: http://www.acidplanet.com/artist.asp?PID=1046415&t=6625

I will appreciate all comments on my work too of course.

Thanks in advance,

Marcin
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Post by premieklovn » Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:22 pm

Thats because your iPod headphones and your computer speakers can't reproduce a good sub bass I believe. The notes are not different its just that your ears can't single them out like when you got good monitors. On my Korg MS10 I use a very subby bass sound and if we play at a venue with bad monitors I sometimes hear wrong tones even though I'm playing the right ones. It's quite confusing. Psychoacoustics are confusing.

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Post by zielvis » Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:33 pm

premieklovn wrote:Thats because your iPod headphones and your computer speakers can't reproduce a good sub bass I believe. The notes are not different its just that your ears can't single them out like when you got good monitors. On my Korg MS10 I use a very subby bass sound and if we play at a venue with bad monitors I sometimes hear wrong tones even though I'm playing the right ones. It's quite confusing. Psychoacoustics are confusing.
Yes, that's my guess too. It's just so strange that I had to ask if there can be any other explanation. I even have an impression that the bass makes the whole recording pumping when played on worse speakers...

The question which comes to mind is: how to achieve a low bass sound which will be reproduced (hopefully properly) on poor equipment? I was thinking about adding a unisono line with more bright, detailed or simply higher tone - will it help? Maybe if I could find a good balance between the two it would still be "sub" but less demanding on the speakers?

Thanks for Your reply :)
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Post by premieklovn » Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:43 pm

zielvis wrote: The question which comes to mind is: how to achieve a low bass sound which will be reproduced (hopefully properly) on poor equipment? I was thinking about adding a unisono line with more bright, detailed or simply higher tone - will it help? Maybe if I could find a good balance between the two it would still be "sub" but less demanding on the speakers?
Well I'm no studio sensai but try it out and if it works out thats great. Unfortunately I can't listen to your track because I lack some sort of plug-in.

There's probably some studio superman on this forum who can give you the answer ; D

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Post by zielvis » Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:46 pm

premieklovn wrote: There's probably some studio superman on this forum who can give you the answer ; D
I'm sure there is ;) Thanks
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Post by JSRockit » Tue Nov 06, 2007 2:32 pm

I'm no superman... but computer speakers and headphones have a limited frequency range and cannot reproduce subs well or even at all. The key is to monitor on many systems...some with subs, some without...until your mix sounds good everywhere. While you will never get the sub bass on iPod headphones or cheap speakers...you can still make it sound good with good bass in the frequency range those speakers can handle.
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Post by zielvis » Tue Nov 06, 2007 2:52 pm

JSRockit wrote:IWhile you will never get the sub bass on iPod headphones or cheap speakers...you can still make it sound good with good bass in the frequency range those speakers can handle.
Yes, seems obvious. But what's the trick: EQing? Playing an octave higher?

Those questions (especially the latter) sound stupid, but at the moment I can't imagine how to make bass sound really low and at the same time audible (or at least less lound but even sounding) on small headphones or speakers. :?:
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Post by th0mas » Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:28 pm

I would think the solution would be to have both a 'sub' bass part as well as a higher frequency bass part that is picked up by the lower gear. I've seen a lot of professional stuff like that.. you get some bass notes and stuff on your ipod, throw it on your hifi and there's rumbles you never knew existed

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Post by JSRockit » Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:38 pm

zielvis wrote:But what's the trick: EQing? Playing an octave higher?
Both of those are options...and also layering a decent sounding bass with better high frequency content with a low sub. This is something I've just recently started understanding...and the only way I started to understand this is by understanding which parts of my songs are in which frequency range. The best way to do that is by learning how to take crappy frequencies out of your tracks with an EQ and by having a system that is capable of showing you the whole frequency range of your track...as well as some systems that don't.
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Post by filtermod » Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:32 pm

try shaving off everything below 30hz on your bass part, and/ or doubling the part with a more midrangey (is that a word?) timbre that you can mix in slightly to improve definition on smaller speakers. If you double your part, cut out anything below 80 to 100hz on the doubled part or you will just add to the muck.
I'm sure someone will tell me I'm an idiot and go into lengthy and vivid detail as to why, but give these ideas a shot, and experiment a little with the frequency ranges, these techniques work for me in similar situations so hopefully they will be of some help to you. :)

EDIT
I just read J.S.Rockets post and he already suggested pretty much the same things (sorry J.S., I'm a little hazy this morning from the flu!)

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Post by Entropy Farmer » Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:50 pm

+1 for doubling up.

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Post by GeneralBigbag » Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:05 pm

+1 For doubling up too, or, if you have something of the sort, a plugin that adds some harmonics w/o making the bass sound too distorted could work, that way for the notes that can't be reproduced on small speakers etc, the ear still hears the overtones and infers the bass.
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Post by brian.only » Tue Nov 06, 2007 8:38 pm

Good advice so far, what you want to achieve for the not so great systems is the bass harmonics which exist in the 800hz range I believe, there are plug-ins that can do this as well as hardware devices, doubling tracks works- but I find adding eq in that range sometimes is all it needs. I use Maxxbass which is ancient, I run it through a dino copy of soundforge.
Also sometimes rolling off everything below 32Hz is'nt the answer for some mixes. Let your ears decide.
As said before monitor on many sources and keep notes on your different mixes- also when having problems, I mix down a flat version of the mix and use the preset eq settings in itunes to preview, when I'm a bit stumped as to what direction I need to take, you have like 20 radically different arrays a click away. jot down the gist of the band setting and refine it in your DAW! :P

Also sometimes the bass is just too low for your speakers- if your speakers go to 32Hz but your headphones go to 10hz I'm sure you can see whats happening here... Most stereos w/o subs start around 50-60hz.
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Post by brian.only » Tue Nov 06, 2007 8:43 pm

GeneralBigbag wrote:+1 For doubling up too, or, if you have something of the sort, a plugin that adds some harmonics w/o making the bass sound too distorted could work, that way for the notes that can't be reproduced on small speakers etc, the ear still hears the overtones and infers the bass.
oops i kind of missed your post... yeah like what he said
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Post by zielvis » Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:09 pm

I really appreciate Your advise, thanks :D

I have just uploaded an improved mix, in which I applied some EQ and added another - more punchy and midrangey (thanks, filtermod :wink: ) - bass line.

I will also definitely try Your second suggestion and look for a plugin that You described. Do You know if I can use any of Logic's ones?

Anyway, if You were so kind, please take a listen to my (master;)piece: http://www.acidplanet.com/artist.asp?PID=1046415&T=4310

It's now in lower bitrate so I hope there'll be no problems with streaming. At the moment I make music with no help from constructive critics, so any opinions will be very valuable. Thanks.
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