This is actually a classic mistake most people do. And it really affects the outcome.
Most of the times it's the plugin , the harmonic content added by the plugin OR the beef in that particular Hz area just isnt the same. I found out that a lot of digital software messes this up.
This could happen due to some setting some LFO/cutoff or just by the algorithm.
Most of the time i resort in analog synthesizers to get good bass with the same beef across.
It's really not such a simple thing.
So some ways to solve this issue.
- Some times it's just the midi. Check your velocity settings in the midi roll , be sure to have the same setting!
- Try to keep the software plugin as simple as possible(waveform , LFO's etc etc) and start building upon that when you get an even result)
If those are ok and you still have the issue you have to mix it!
Some of the following settings could need some duplications of the bass channel.
This is by far the most powerful technique to mix fat bass with great compression.
- Add a good distortion plugin (like decapitator)
- Distort a good amount(if not A LOT)
- Insert a Low Pass filter to throw the audible distortion artifacts created.
Distortion does 2 things: First it enhances the bass with harmonic content making it phatter & more present across the spectrum , Second it compresses the hell out of it , so it keeps it really steady.
One of the oldest tricks in the book. You'll need a 1176 style fet compressor plugin.
Insert the compressor to your bass channel
Compress the hell out of it!
Insert a Low Pass filter to throw away the artifacts created in the higher frequencies
A 1176 fet style compressor is FAST , from the analog days even the faster compressors give a click because there's no "lookahead" * , So it can actually read the peaks & valleys of a waveform with low period(Hz).
This produces so many clicks (that are modulated by the Waveform) that in the end you end up having a kind of distortion effect. This is a classic method used in many studios to produce a very present & steady bass track.
Almost any compressor will do.
- Insert the compressor to your bass track
- Lower the threshold to max setting(-60)
- Set Attack & Release to the fastest settings
- Use low ratio (1.2 - 2)
This is a very powerful compression technique , it will keep any given sound under the level that the ratio dictates. It's a classic studio technique to keep things under control!
Multiband Compression (Crossover style)
- Insert a multiband compressor to your bass track
- Bypass all the frequencies except the bass So you don't compress
- Solo the bass area so you hear only that!
- roll the frequency until you can't listen to the actual note played but only the bass's energy (somewhere lower than 60 but YMMV).
- Set medium Attack(30ms) & medium Release (150-250ms) YMMV on these.
- Compress for at least 6 db (i'd say 8) and give everything back with the makeup.
If you do it correctly you'll keep the bass energy stable!
This technique can be done after the others or even in the mastering section.
Techniques 1,2,3 are best to be used alone OR parallel with a healthy signal just to beef it up.
Don't be afraid to compress & distort the bass but don't use excessive EQ because sometimes the EQ itself produces the weird amplitude issue especially if the Q is narrow.
*Just to clarify for someone else reading this, There are ways to achieve lookahead in analog.
That covers the most part.