How To Get A Clean Bass Home Recording Tips
I think one of the most common complaints among music producers working in the field of home recording is that of the unclean bass. Some also refer to the problem as “mash” or “mull”. What makes an unclean bass, and above all, how can I fix the problem and make the bass crisp.
There are only some tips that lead to a clean or even muffled bass. In this article, I will try to explain why this “mash” is created in the bass and what you can do in your home recording studio.
Especially in the field of home recording is probably the most common cause of an unclean bass: too many, low frequencies. This sounds too simplistic as an explanation? Although it may seem banal at first, the cause is actually found in 90% of all cases. Bass is fun, bass pushes in the belly area, the bass has a lot of energy and is therefore also loud in the home system. Not for nothing can you at least once a day passes a lowered car with a duller bass at the traffic light.
But back to the topic. Too much bass, too many low frequencies are fortunately very easy to fix before and during the mixing of a bass track. The goal will be to create a balanced (or more balanced) bass.
If you record a real bass in your recording studio, then the technique used for the microphone is decisive. Make sure you select a microphone for the bass cabinet that is designed for this purpose, or use a large diaphragm capacitor. Last mentioned should be able to record the entire spectrum, the complete sound reproduced from the bass. Just try a bit longer here with different microphones, the results justify the time effort.
If you have found a suitable microphone (or have been recommended by someone) and the bass still sounds unclean, you should exchange the bass amplifier and / or the bass box and check.
Another option is to use a so-called DI box, which allows you to record the bass directly from the mixer or audio interface. It is important not to use an equalizer during the recording and if so, then only a slight (!) Low-cut. The result with a DI box is more flexible than recording the bass amplifier, but it also has less character.
Bass and kick drum, at least partly, the same low frequencies in the mix. It is, therefore, important to ensure that they do not mask each other. The first step is to avoid any discussion during recording, for example by recording them in separate rooms. Producers of electronic music will not have any problems with conversations since they mostly use synthesizer sounds for the bass.
Most problems with the bass arise, as mentioned at the beginning, in the low frequencies. Therefore, it is important that you plug in most of the time when mixing the bass. Start with a steep low-cut filter to cut the unnecessary frequencies below 30-35 Hz. With a high-cut you can also remove the frequencies above 10 kHz, here should be heard very little from the real bass and at the same time creates more space for other instruments in the mix.
And another tip: In the frequency range between about 150 Hz and 250 Hz you can try to get even more detail for the Bassspur. For this purpose, use a parametric equalizer with a relatively high Q and raise the gain very strongly. Drive this area slowly and pay attention to when the bass comes particularly strong and unpleasant. The goal, however, is a slight to medium lowering of the frequencies in this range, which in a normal case should lead to more clarity in the bass. Here the ear is again asked.
I will not go into the creative use of effects on the bass here and now. Here everyone is free to decide what is good and help the song as a whole. Regarding a clean sounding bass, but I have two tips for you: 1) In 90% of all cases, a compressor helps to bring the bass under control. Use a ratio of about 3: 1 or 4: 1 – these are of course only guideline values, which in some cases may be too moderate or too strong. 2) In addition to the bass, the more effects, the more mellow the result. In particular, you should refrain from giving a reverb on the bass, as this is practically the guarantee for an unclean bass.
If you have applied the above tips consistently in your production, the result should at least sound better than before. Something cleaner, more detailed, clearer. Now it is necessary to continue practicing and refining these techniques and developing them further. And do not forget: practice makes the master and mixing and recording is almost like a sport. The more time you invest, the sooner you will be rewarded.
Do you have more tips or experiences with the subject? Then let us and all other readers participate.