SPL's Transient Designer and its imitators are really useful when it comes to sculpting your drum sounds, and it's potentially as useful on the kick as on any other piece of the kit. It's not only useful for drums, though: the Transient Designer is also worth trying on bass lines where the bass notes have been allowed to sustain too long, or where there's noticeable string rattle in the note decay.
Whenever the kick hits, the bass dips in level to make more space for it. The simplest way to do this is to set the ducking to maximum so that you hear far more pumping than you need, then use your ears as you adjust the release time.
Once you feel you have it right, back off the amount of ducking to what you actually need. Compressors and limiters aren't the only dynamics processors you can use to shape your kick and bass sounds. The reason why parallel compression sounds the way it does is that conventional compression has most effect at high signal levels for example, your drum hits , whereas with parallel compression, its contribution is more noticeable in the quieter moments between drum hits.
You can apply it to the other drums if they need to sound bigger and fatter, but start with just the kick and see how that sounds. For all of these reasons, it pays to make sure you don't overdo the amount of compression at any one stage. Same goes for kick and bass balance: if the bassline is busy and active, but the kick drum is sparsely played, make sure the kick drum is several dB louder than the bass, maybe more with taste.
But if the kick drum is continuously hitting in a very active beat, I'd keep it lower in the mix and turn the bass up higher. And if the kick drum is super busy, I'd even try out rolling off the lows on that kick and adding a second, lower, more sparse kick to add weight to the song. Remember, a wall of bass doesn't make a good song. The bass needs to interact with the song. The bass needs to swell and fade, quickly or slowly according to the song's energy.
Yesterday, I heard a song with virtually no low frequency content. Then, during the chorus, a thunderous kick with a long decay played once every four measures. It anchored the song and brought dimension and texture to it that wouldn't be there if the bass hit constantly. Of course, this wouldn't work with every song. But it's great for a softer song. Socks in the top drawer, shorts in the bottom, and shirts in the middle. You can divide it up into different drawers. For example, 80 Hz down could be one drawer.
And so on…. Since both tracks have lots of low end, they often sit in the same drawer. The parts you play matter too. Slap another compressor on the bass track and bus the kick drum into it. What's going to happen is you're going to compress the bass, as you'd expect, but only when the kick drum comes into play.
If and only if the kick drum bus is sending a signal will the compressor act upon the bass, and you'll design it using the threshold, ratio, attack, and release settings.
The point of this is to automatically reduce the volume of the bass only when the kick drum hits, and just slightly enough that you gain clarity in the kick drum without effecting the bass too much.
The listener shouldn't even notice the change in volume because the kick drum is coming in and fleshing out those frequency regions. You can get away with 2 or 3 db, but be careful going any more aggressive than that. The bass "ducks" out of the way like it's dodging a bullet, just long enough for the kick to pop off, and then the bass rises back up in volume smoothly.
This should be a last resort, but can save your mix, the song, your job, and even your soul for real, though. Now that you've tamed these wild beasts with your compressor, you're ready to make sure their volumes balance against each other and then together against the rest of the song. You've made it to the easy part. It's all downhill from here. If you're following along in order, you're at a point where you're ready to un-solo the two tracks and bring them into the rest of the song.
As you begin to bring up the faders on the other instruments, you'll find it's easier to change the volume of just the bass and kick once you're too deep into the mix than to try to adjust everything else together.
You can lock the bass and kick drum tracks together and move them in unison to adjust their volume against the rest of the song. But what if you after you bring up the volume of the rest of the instruments that you find the bass would sit better a bit quieter in comparison to the kick, or vice versa?
Remember, the way you perceive either is based on the other. Before you start dropping volumes on the bass, see if you can't just increase the volume of the kick. Maybe if you want the bass louder, but with too much volume it affects other instruments?
Try dropping the kick's volume a tad. Keep their relation in mind and you can solve a myriad of issues in ways you'd not have considered otherwise. The best way to keep your kick and bass volumes at a balanced level versus the rest of the song is to bring up the snare's fader and find its appropriate volume compared to the low-end.
Once you anchor this in, bring up the rest of the instruments using the snare as the anchor and guide. This should leave you with a full low-end, mid-range, and high-end so you don't have a bottom or top heavy mix.
The snare, kick, and bass are the glue and drivers of your mix and song. At this point, if you bring up the rest of your instruments and suddenly your low-end is sounding muddy and unclear, it's likely an issue with some other instrument. Remember that although we applied a high-pass to the rest of the instruments, their fundamentals can get in the way of the attack and overtones of the kick and bass, respectively. Remember the old boost and cut EQ technique? You can apply it here to help, but at a much slighter decibel range.
Also, you'll have leeway to pan the offending instruments some as well. But don't pan the low-end! You'll want to cut from the offending instrument, not the low-end. But don't cut too much in volume, and use a tighter Q. If you cut too hard and wide in their fundamentals, they are going to sound horrible. You may find that the instruments sound pretty crappy solo'd. They might sound tinny and thin, but as long as they sound good in the full mix, who cares.
You don't want to star cutting from your low-end or you'll lose the fullness and balance of the mix. It's literally your foundation. One final trick for those who desire some stereo width on their kick or bass is to use the stereo chorus effect. What chorus does is split your signal into two separate hard panned signals that are then inversely manipulated by an oscillator.
A small, varying amount of delay will be added as well as a slight pitch shifting. The result is that the instrument is then stretched, as opposed to panning, across the entire stereo field. The key to doing this properly is to place the chorus on an auxiliary bus where you can also add an equalizer and ultimately control the volume with a fader.
You must use the EQ to roll-off most of the bass frequencies so the chorus only applies to the upper harmonics around Hz and above, or you end up with the same distortion and phase issue problems that you get from panning these instruments. You'll have to test for the proper cut off frequency, but that's a good starting place. We talk more about mixing bass in stereo here if you want to go into more depth. Knowledge is power, and having the right tools for the job like the best studio subwoofer you can get your hands on makes life so much more easier.
Understanding how to apply EQ to all of your tracks using high-pass and low-pass filters and parametric equalization for cuts and boosts can quickly bring clarity to your low-end.
After that, some compression can bring the bass and kick into balance with one another, and then using anchoring based around the snare you can achieve balance with the rest of the mix.
That wasn't so bad, was it? Apply these tricks and methods for mixing kick and bass to your songs going forward and you'll be wowing your listeners and clients in no time at all. Features Columns. On the Bass We Build Chords Bass lines are generally build on the roots of chords, no matter the inversions, chord changes, key, or genre. The Kick Drum Highlights the Rhythm Whereas the bass has a smooth build and swell with sustained length, the kick drum features a short punchy attack.
Together We Groove Together, bass and kicks build the musical sense that allows for the lead instruments to be melodic, harmonic, and interestingly rhythmic. So what are we to do about this conundrum?Sweet Invazion (Sugar High Mix) 2 – Clubbstars: Let The Bass Kick (Scotty Mix) 3 – Block Saturday (Block 2) 4 – Gitta: No More Turning Back!! (Yamanda Mix) 5 – The Groove Collector: Throw Ya Hands (Original Mix) 6 – Ta Moko: Toa Himene (In Dreams Mix) 7 – Pulsation 1: Mirage (Aura Type 4 Mix) 8 – Tekkie* Lost In Space (Hard.