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Some people use and recommend creating sub basses with multiple voices (detuned and sightly panned). They are aiming for a fatter voice (it definitely becomes fatter).

Also other people elsewhere say that it is the best to keep the lowest voices as simple as possible, like highpassing the original bass if needed and putting a pure sine or triangle below. (Excellent article here: Mixing bass)

The former (multiple voice) approach sounds great when the stuff played alone. (Un)fortunately mixes rarely contain one instrument :).

Questions

  • What is the approach that results in fat, warm bass, but clear, defined and also "safe" on different PAs and sound systems?
  • What's your experience with the multiple voice basses working in mix?
  • Is there a gain in mixing bass frequencies to mono if the recording is not considered for vinyl?
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Question 1: fat = a strong fundamental frequencies warm = a good amount one present low mid/bass frequencies 100- 300 Hz also detuned sometimes defined = a clean sub bass and some higher mids to give the bass some presence

What you want is to take a bass and make it sound deep and warm. you can detune if you want, but what is more important -> make good use of the synths lowpass filter. Analogue filters have a warmer feel so you could try that. Then remove the lowest frequency with a high pass. automate the cut-off frequency to remove the fundamental on every note played.

Also try to saturate the bass to get some more frequencies into the bass sound -> more warmth

To the stereo thingy why sub bass should always stay mono: We can't locate bass/we can't hear bass below c.a. 80 hz. We only feel those frequencies. So there is no use in panning the stuff around. If you want a stereo bass then try to build one that is mono to at least 100-200 hz and then spread it. you need to layer some synths to do this in most cases or use modulation fx like choruses with a high pass. Another reason why bass should be mono is because of mono compatibility. Stereo bass might collapse when you put it in mono like a lot of club PAs -> your track sounds weak.

But never forget the rule: what sounds right is right, but always check in mono!

Question 2: Multiple voice bass is a good attempt is you use the different layers intelligently like 1 synth for sub bass, another sub bass one octave above then 1 saw bass patch filtert down and high passed then 1 subbbass that you distort 1 stereo detuned filter saw bass, one chorused/fxed sawbass one patch with a lot of transients, one white noise plug in and so on and so on. But really you make mixing and especially mastering a lot easier if you just use a mono sub sine wave since everything else might collapse or you can't hear it and i takes energy

Question 3: There is no gain if you keep it mono. If it is stereo there might be a gain change if you mono it.

peace

  • So, basically you say that below 100 Hz there should be only one :), and that's one voice (and maybe its upper octave for audibility), then above 100 Hz, all dirty tricks can be considered (if it is highpassed, of course). – atoth Jan 9 '14 at 19:21
  • yeah roughly you need to experiment for the different sounds and genera where to go stereo. for house music everything is mono up to 250-300 hz in a lot of songs. the highs on the other hand are really spread out to the extreme and the mids are clever crafted in most good songs. – Tobias Schmidt Jan 9 '14 at 19:37

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