How to Use Low End Elements to Reinforce and Compliment Each Other

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How to Use Low End Elements to Reinforce and Compliment Each Other

Hey, folks.

Matthew Weiss here — weiss-sound.com, theproaudiofiles.com,
and mixthru.co.

Today, we’re going to be talking about movement
– specifically in the low end.

So, I think that the low end is one of the
things that trips people up the most, so I

want to kind of break down a few ideas.

First of all, this is going to be a tutorial
on side-chaining, but it’s going to be a tutorial

on the intention of your side-chaining.

A lot of people will say, “Okay, you can
make space in the low end by doing something

like ducking your bass from your kick,”
which means triggering a compressor on your

bass every time the kick hits.

So kick hits, compressor goes down, and pulls
down the level of the bass.

And yeah, that’s a way to create separation,
sure, and it can be, a lot of times, smoother

than using EQ if you do it over very short
intervals and allow just the attack of the

kick to poke through.

The problem with that is that it also deprives
the low end of the record every time that

happens, because you’re losing bass every
time the kick hits, and that can be counter-productive,

depending on what you’re trying to do.

So, when I determine whether or not I want
to use frequency like EQ in terms of separation,

or if I want to use some kind of side-chaining
in terms of separation, I kind of try and

think, “Well, what else can I get from the
equation?”If I can make the side-chaining

work in a way where I can get the separation
and the definition that I want, and also create

some kind of movement, that would be really
cool, and here’s a case where I actually have

two bass parts that play simultaneously, and
I use different side-chaining techniques to

get them to all work together in a way that
generates movement.

So I’m going to play it from where that doesn’t
happen in the verse section, and then suddenly

a couple of compressors knock on and in the
hook section, you’re going to hear a change

in movement and depth.

[kick drum and synth bass]

So, real quick, one more time.

[kick drum and synth bass]

So, one thing you’re going to notice is there’s
a bit of that pumping motion, where there’s

sort of this, “mmm-wuh-mmm-wuh” kind of
thing going on.

The other thing you might notice is that the
kick becomes subbier.

What’s interesting is that the kick stays
the same in both parts of the song.

I’ve done no processing on the kick to separate
it from the verse and the chorus here, and

I’ll show you why it feels like the kick suddenly
gets deeper and subbier, and why ducking out

a bass is not always the best idea.

But first, let’s talk about an easy one.

There’s this droning bass part here.

[kick and bass]

I didn’t feel that it really needs too much
in the way of separation, but when I bring

in this other bass…

[kick and bass]

I can admit that it gets a little cloudy in
the low end, so using a compressor – which

is triggered from the kick – to do sort
of a pumping, EDM kind of thing I think is

kind of cool.

[bass and kick drum]

And you hear that there’s a clarity to the
kick that wasn’t there before.

I’ll take it off and play it again.

[bass and kick drum]

And I wouldn’t say it’s radically different,
I’d just say that the low end of the kick

and the kick in general is more present as
that ducking is occurring.

Now, the other bass…

[kick and bass]

I kind of want a similar motion.

I want the kick to be able to poke through,
but if I do it simply using a compressor,

it sounds like this.

[kick and bass]

And to me, the low end sort of sounds like
it’s lacking support.

Now, I’m going to show you what I did with
the multi-band compressor.

It sounds like this.

[kick and bass play]

And I feel like the kick has a lot more low
end support in it, and the reason why that

is is because I’m not actually strictly doing
compression, I’m doing both.

[kick and bass play]

Every time the kick hits, the sub frequencies
are being boosted.

It’s working as an expander, but the upper
frequencies are ducking.

So what happens is the clarity of the kick
is preserved – those upper frequencies duck

down – and the low end support, that weight,
gets reinforced because the low end is boosted

up.

Now, a way to think about this is sometimes,
if you want extra low end in your kick, you

can trigger a sine wave.

You know, you set out like a 45Hz sine wave
or something like that, and you put an expander

on it, and you trigger the expander from the
kick.

So every time the kick hits, the gate opens
up, and your low end blooms forward.

But I don’t have to do that, because I already
have something that has a lot of sub in it

already in the record, and it’s tonal, so
I can do this, trigger the low end to come

up from the kick drum to add more weight effectively
to the kick, but do it using an element that’s

already there, and do it in a way that adds
movement to an element that’s already there.

[kick drum + synth bass]

The key to doing this is that my attack time
on the expander is not instantaneous.

It’s a little slowed down.

So what’s happening is the kick is hitting,
and then milliseconds afterwards, the – or,

well, at the moment the kick hits, but over
the course of a few milliseconds, the attack

comes up.

So it’s sort of reinforcing the sustain and
the bloom of the kick, it’s not just jumping

in the way of the attack.

The compressor is attacking pretty quickly,
so it’s pretty instant.

When the kick hits, the upper tones duck down,
so that allows the attack tones – the clear

upper frequency tones – to sort of poke
through, and then I’m doing some make-up gain

in compensation to kind of keep the feel of
the amount of upper tone the same, though

it doesn’t feel like we’re losing any brightness
from that bass, and that also helps sort of

give it that push and pull movement.

So, once again, it sounds like this.

Here is the before, and then the after.

[kick and bass]

Deeper sub, more movement, it feels like there’s
some more depth, the signal is getting a little

bit more interesting and complex.

Yeah, it’s pretty cool.

So anyway, moral of the story is when you’re
using processes like side-chaining to create

some kind of separation or clarity, don’t
just think what it’s immediately doing, but

also how you can utilize that processing to
aid the feel of the record.

You don’t have to necessarily just strictly,
“Okay, I duck it out.”Sometimes what you

actually want to do is trigger it forward
or do something else, but the idea is to create

a sense of movement and musicality with your
processing, not strictly fundamental utility

with your processing.

Alright, guys.

Until next time.

How to Use Low End Elements to Reinforce and Compliment Each Other

Instant access to every in-depth mixing course from Matthew Weiss: http://theproaudiofiles.com/members

http://theproaudiofiles.com // http://mixthru.co // A video on some sidechaining techniques for bass and kick drum to help the low end elements work together in a mix.

Transcript Excerpt:

Hey, folks. Matthew Weiss here — weiss-sound.com, theproaudiofiles.com, and mixthru.co.

Today, we’re going to be talking about movement – specifically in the low end. So, I think that the low end is one of the things that trips people up the most, so I want to kind of break down a few ideas.
First of all, this is going to be a tutorial on side-chaining, but it’s going to be a tutorial on the intention of your side-chaining. A lot of people will say, “Okay, you can make space in the low end by doing something like ducking your bass from your kick,” which means triggering a compressor on your bass every time the kick hits. So kick hits, compressor goes down, and pulls down the level of the bass.

And yeah, that’s a way to create separation, sure, and it can be, a lot of times, smoother than using EQ if you do it over very short intervals and allow just the attack of the kick to poke through.

The problem with that is that it also deprives the low end of the record every time that happens, because you’re losing bass every time the kick hits, and that can be counter-productive, depending on what you’re trying to do.

So, when I determine whether or not I want to use frequency like EQ in terms of separation, or if I want to use some kind of side-chaining in terms of separation, I kind of try and think, “Well, what else can I get from the equation?”If I can make the side-chaining work in a way where I can get the separation and the definition that I want, and also create some kind of movement, that would be really cool, and here’s a case where I actually have two bass parts that play simultaneously, and I use different side-chaining techniques to get them to all work together in a way that generates movement.

So I’m going to play it from where that doesn’t happen in the verse section, and then suddenly a couple of compressors knock on and in the hook section, you’re going to hear a change in movement and depth.

[kick drum + synth bass]

One thing you’re going to notice is there’s a bit of that pumping motion, where there’s sort of this, “mmm-wuh-mmm-wuh” kind of thing going on. The other thing you might notice is that the kick becomes subbier. What’s interesting is that the kick stays the same in both parts of the song. I’ve done no processing on the kick to separate it from the verse and the chorus here, and I’ll show you why it feels like the kick suddenly gets deeper and subbier, and why ducking out a bass is not always the best idea.

First, let’s talk about an easy one. There’s this droning bass part here.

[kick and bass]

I didn’t feel that it really needs too much in the way of separation, but when I bring in this other bass…

[kick and bass]

I can admit that it gets a little cloudy in the low end, so using a compressor – which is triggered from the kick – to do sort of a pumping, EDM kind of thing I think is kind of cool.

[bass and kick drum]

You hear that there’s a clarity to the kick that wasn’t there before. I’ll take it off and play it again.

[bass and kick drum]

I wouldn’t say it’s radically different, I’d just say that the low end of the kick and the kick in general is more present as that ducking is occurring.

Now, the other bass…

[kick and bass]

I kind of want a similar motion. I want the kick to be able to poke through, but if I do it simply using a compressor, it sounds like this.

[kick and bass]

To me, the low end sort of sounds like it’s lacking support.

I’m going to show you what I did with the multi-band compressor. It sounds like this.

[kick drum and bass]

I feel like the kick has a lot more low end support in it, and the reason why that is is because I’m not actually strictly doing compression, I’m doing both.

Every time the kick hits, the sub frequencies are being boosted. It’s working as an expander, but the upper frequencies are ducking.

What happens is the clarity of the kick is preserved – those upper frequencies duck down – and the low end support, that weight, gets reinforced because the low end is boosted up.

A way to think about this is, if you want extra low end in your kick, you can trigger a sine wave. You know, you set out like a 45Hz sine wave or something like that, and you put an expander on it, and you trigger the expander from the kick. So every time the kick hits, the gate opens up, and your low end blooms forward.

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How to Use Low End Elements to Reinforce and Compliment Each Other

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