Good low end or “bottom end” can make or break a track. We’ve all experienced the desire to have deep booming bass when listening to music. Whether it’s while blasting music in the car or on a set of professional speakers, there is just something about bass that is inherently cool.
When you are mixing music, you want to make sure you keep a healthy low end without overpowering the rest of the track and these 5 tips will help you get there.
This tip is highly important for achieving a clear and powerful low end in your mix: create sonic space for each instrument. Low frequencies can easily clash with each other creating a muddy or boomy sounding mess that you need to clean up for a professional sounding mix.
Famously, the clash between the kick drum and bass guitar has plagued engineers since the dawn of engineering and the only way to solve this is to create space for each instrument using EQ.
Use a wider EQ curve
This tip actually makes a lot of sense when you understand the science behind it. Because EQ deals with audio in the form of frequencies (Hz), this means that certain notes will take up disproportionately (or rather “proportionally”) more space on an EQ than the others.
Additionally, notes that are lower have larger waveforms meaning that you will need to use a more powerful tool to accurately affect these waveforms. To put it simply, make sure the curve of your EQ is wide when trying to manipulate the lows of your mix, otherwise your changes may be too insignificant to make a difference.
Keep it mostly mono
This tip is often in the realm of artistic choice, however, if you find your mixes sounding too muddy and you can’t seem to clear it up, it might be time to try this tip: leave your low end almost entirely in mono or in the “center”. The platform of audio in commercial music has 3 channels: the Left and Right or Stereo channels, the Center channel, and the Mono channel.
Often, the low end is best represented when it is left almost entirely in the Center channel. This is because it is one of the hardest frequency ranges for human ears to hear and leaving it in mono makes it more present and less “muddy”.
Add a 30hz cut
Although the range of human hearing starts at 20hz, most people aren’t able to notice frequencies below 28-30hz. Because these frequencies have lots of energy that can affect your processing, many engineers have found great results cutting these frequencies all together.
Additionally, because most instruments don’t usually put out frequencies at that crazy low end (with the exception of sub basses or synth bass), cutting them can result in a more controlled and focused bottom end. This tip can come with mixed results, so we recommend trying it for yourself and deciding what you like best for your mixes.
Use multiple listening sources and locations
As with any mixing work, you should always listen to your work in multiple environments. The sound of the room you are in can heavily influence the way you hear music. Therefore, always take your music into multiple places and listen to a myriad of different sources such as speakers and headphones.
This will result in the best overall sound for your mix as you will be able to adapt to the problems each listening source provides.
Achieving a great sounding low end in a mix can prove to be difficult, especially if you haven’t been utilizing any of these 5 tips we shared above. Bass frequencies from different instruments often clash with each other creating a mess of tones and energy that can greatly affect how your song sounds if left untouched.
If you haven’t experimented with any of these bass mixing techniques we suggest you give them a shot, and notice just how much your mixes improve over time!
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