In this short video I want to show you a cool technique for getting nice and controlled lows in a mix.
One of the hardest things to achieve in a mix is to get those controlled and consistent lows.
It’s definitely easier to nail it in electronic music, since all the material is already pretty consistent.
So we will look more into live instrument situations where there’s plenty of dynamics.
There are a bunch of ways to get nice lows, but here I just want to show you a last resort trick that can come handy if you’re struggling.
If you ever recorded a real drum kit you know that it’s almost impossible to get every hit equal and consistent throughout the song.
That’s why so many producers use sample replacement to get it right.
The kick drum is especially tricky because the lows are moving a lot through the frequency spectrum depending on how hard you hit the drum.
If the drummer you’ve recorded was way to inconsistent, but you still don’t want to completely replace the kick drum, there’s this hybrid alternative that I use in those situations.
– Duplicate the kick drum track
– On the first track, replace it with a sample of choice that has great low end. Since you want consistency in the lows it’s preferable to have only one sample in this case.
– Now add an eq that has a steep low pass filter and cut everything above 120hz.
– On the second track you have your live kick drum. Mix it as good as possible from the start. Then add an eq with a steep high pass filter and cut everything under 150hz.
The numbers are not set in stone. You always have to play around with the settings to get the best results possible.
– Now combine these two tracks through a buss and process further if necessary.
This way you keep the dynamics and organic feel of the live kick drum but with a much more controlled and consistent low end.
The same technique can be used on bass. Since live bass can be such a mess in the lows this technique can come handy.
Remember that It might be a more tedious process to replace a bass performance then just simply replacing a kick drum with a single sample.
So what you need to do is to actually write the whole performance in midi. If you have a pre-production-midi track, it will come handy at this point.
Some DAWs have a feature to convert audio to midi. But in my experience this rarely works properly with lower tuned instruments.
Anyway, the process looks something like this.
– On the midi track, use a mono sine wave synth and remove anything over 120hz
– On the live bass, that you already mixed, remove anything under 150hz.
– Combine these through a buss and add further processing.
This technique is fairly simple on kick drum, but I would consider it as a last resort when it comes to bass.
But if you do have a midi-file of the exact performance, then you should definitely try it out if you struggle with the low end.
Hope you find this helpful! Give it a like and be sure to subscribe.
See you next time!
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Producer | Engineer | Songwriter that has worked with artists and bands such as Adept, Smash Into Pieces, Normandie, Dotter, Beyond All Recognition, Humanity’s Last Breath, Carnal Forge just to name a few.
Sharing production, mixing and mastering tips.