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View Full Version : The Subby Bass Discussion



archtop
May 15th, 2011, 04:24 PM
Yesterday I found myself cutting the subs heavily on a
bass track, D.I. old EBO copy POS with old flat wounds.
(artist thought it seemed appropriate for the song)

So I thought we could talk about it with an actual (short) example instead of hypothetically.

Here is the EQ.

20 second clip is below.

Knastratt
May 15th, 2011, 04:50 PM
There's a complete lack of harmonics making it dull and flat. Kinda bathroomey as well. 2,4 k notch up, perhaps?

Cheers - Pär

archtop
May 15th, 2011, 04:51 PM
They are old flat wounds
the dullness is why it was chosen.
the tone was rolled off on the bass itself
A huge jack of 2k wont help shit.

Knastratt
May 15th, 2011, 04:53 PM
Ok.

Cosmic Pig
May 15th, 2011, 04:56 PM
I dig the retro-ness of it. I think the artist was spot on with the old flat wounds, and rolling off the lows doesn't hurt it.

Kick seems awful tubby to me.

archtop
May 15th, 2011, 05:02 PM
dude I've shaved the ass out of that too!!!

Cosmic Pig
May 15th, 2011, 07:47 PM
lol. Maybe if it was shorter. Seems to hang too long and gives the tune fluffybutt.

zakco
May 16th, 2011, 04:40 PM
Neither the kick or bass seem to have much "authority" if you know what I mean. The kick in particular doesn't seem to move any air...I know it's there, but I can't really feel it. In addition (or possibly as a result) the bass is not really sitting groove-wise as well as it could. More of a performance thing than an EQ thing IMO.

Also, I don't think the rolled off tone/flatwound was a bad choice, but I would have experimented with muting the sustain on the bass. Either with the players palm or with a piece of foam under the strings near the bridge. Right now (like the kick drum) it's all wash and no thump. Some more variation of the note duration probably wouldn't hurt either...

That's my take on it anyways...

gonzo-x
May 16th, 2011, 06:39 PM
on the bass line..
try a peak CUT.... at about 700-900hz.....

Q=2.0

drop til it isn't as nasal.....

archtop
May 16th, 2011, 09:41 PM
I appreciate all your suggestions.

but

I'm not really looking for suggestions ( that doesn't mean I won't listen to them)

It was more of a continuation of a topic where some have said
they never need to cut subs on a bass.

weedywet
May 16th, 2011, 10:01 PM
ah, so you were just hoping for everyone to tell you how right you are?


just curious, is that a great bass sound?
to you?

archtop
May 16th, 2011, 10:15 PM
Just commenting that it does happen.

zakco
May 16th, 2011, 10:20 PM
I'm not really looking for suggestions ( that doesn't mean I won't listen to them)

It was more of a continuation of a topic where some have said
they never need to cut subs on a bass.



My "suggestions" were really just observations. What you're describing as a sub problem, I'm hearing as an arrangement/performance issue. My comments (damping the bass in particular) directly relate to the sub content of the song. IMO, it's not all about EQ...how is that not relevant?

Z

zakco
May 16th, 2011, 10:24 PM
Just commenting that it does happen.

So is this thread a discussion or a statement?

archtop
May 16th, 2011, 10:33 PM
Zakco, I didn't say it wasn't relevant.

I just didn't want you to get the impression I'm fishing for suggestions.

(the cheap bass actually has the foam mute you alluded to mechanism near the bridge, although I don't think it was engaged)

I never asked if this is a great bass sound.
I never said this was a great bass sound.

I'm trying to show how sometimes bass have a shit load of sub activity
and drastically cutting the subs can still be a bassy type of sound.

The Yes song "Roundabout", is a great bass sound, one of my fav's.
and somehow I don't feel it would be appropriate for this song. Does that help.

weedywet
May 16th, 2011, 11:23 PM
so... if someone rolls all the top off the bass, on an intrinsically muddy bass, with flat (probably dull and old) strings, and then plays it in a dull manner it might yield a dark sound.

yes this is not a huge surprise so far.


but he rolled all the top out.
My first thought , well no.. my first thought would be to tell him the bass sounds crappy and what can we do to fix it?... but then my second thought would be to add back in the top he rolled out, even if after the fact.

but mostly, if I recorded a dull boomy EB style bass, it would be because that's the sound we were after. not so we could try to "fix it" later

can we hear it WITHOUT that EQ?
I would be interested how much "worse" it is

otek
May 17th, 2011, 08:43 AM
Not sure if this is the "intended course" of this topic, but my feeling is that it is not the sub frequencies of the bass in and of themselves that are the problem in this particular case.

The sense of "unrest" in the low end, to me, comes from the interaction of the kick drum's low end with that of the bass, plus the fact that the player seems slightly ahead of the beat.


otek

zakco
May 17th, 2011, 06:39 PM
I just didn't want you to get the impression I'm fishing for suggestions.

I didn't get that impression...


I'm trying to show how sometimes bass have a shit load of sub activity
and drastically cutting the subs can still be a bassy type of sound.

True. This ties in exactly with both Otek's and my own comments I think.

Z

otek
May 18th, 2011, 12:06 AM
This ties in exactly with both Otek's and my own comments I think.

I'm pretty positive it does not tie in with mine, at least not in any reasonably obvious way.

However, I feel like I've had words put in my mouth throughout this discussion (including the previous thread where it started). I guess I'm beginning to get used to it. :Roll eyes:


otek

Tyrus
May 18th, 2011, 12:35 AM
I once tried to make a song with both an 808 and a bass guitar

Yeah one of those had to go. The bass guitar won that battle. Won't make that mistake again.

Bass is too difficult for me to fix in a mix, so whenever I track a bass guitar, I like to examine all tone options and it's made my life so easy.

zakco
May 18th, 2011, 12:57 AM
...

otek
May 18th, 2011, 11:20 AM
...

I apologize if an unduly sizeable amount of grump just landed in your lap.

I should sit this one out myself.


otek

zakco
May 18th, 2011, 05:36 PM
No worries. I don't take these things personally...

I'm relatively new here and still getting to know the local flora and fauna...:grin:

I've got to say though, (and this is not directed at anyone in particular) that often, the overall tone, seems to be a battle of wills by folks entrenched in their opinions rather than an open discussion. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Cosmic Pig
May 18th, 2011, 06:16 PM
I've got to say though, (and this is not directed at you in particular) that often, the overall tone, seems to be a battle of wills by folks entrenched in their opinions rather than an open discussion. Not that there's anything wrong with that...


Here?!?! On the internets?!?!?! Wha... sputter.. why I.. omigod this is ..

Actually you're quite wrong as I have no opinion on that. Perhaps we should dedicate a few pages to whether no opinion actually constitutes an opinion, of which I have no opinion on. Perhaps some of you guys who have opinions might chime in here.

Some entrenched opinions come from experience, thats why I always listen to many of the guys around here. When Otek and Weedy expound my eyes perk up.

Cos.

zakco
May 18th, 2011, 06:50 PM
Some entrenched opinions come from experience

And some would be that way regardless

archtop
May 18th, 2011, 07:45 PM
Iif you are not confident in what you do in the audio world, you would crumble.

Cosmic Pig
May 18th, 2011, 08:14 PM
And some would be that way regardless

Most definitely. Hence the paying of attention to certain members of the Womb. I've found that when guys like Otek and Weedy appear wrong it's usually because I have no idea what they're talking about, but I think I do.

Sometimes I know well that I have no idea what we're talking about. Like now for instance.

So, I like the bass, sounds vintagey. Don't like the kik, it hangs too long.

Cos.

otek
May 18th, 2011, 09:19 PM
I'm not half as experienced and/or prolific as some guys on this forum, and I listen to them and learn from them every day. For this I am very grateful.

I have been in the game long enough that I don't tend to deal in absolutes very often. However, as I said in that-other-thread-that-dealt-with-the-same-topic, there are some good, basic recording practices that have always served me well:

Mind your gain scheduling, mind your mic placement, and get your sounds right at the source. I have only very seldom seen any of these fundamentals called into question, and yet in the precursor to this thread, that is exactly what happened.

Why I felt that the previous comments did NOT "tie in" with mine was that I was talking about discordant behavior between two different low-end sources. I said this because I wasn't convinced that the bass guitar in and of itself was all that sub-heavy. But if the kick drum produces a low note which rubs against the bass notes, you get a mess in the low end. In this case, that leaves you with trying to shorten the decay of the kick drum, or thinning out the bass guitar - the latter being a move I'd rather not make, for several reasons.

By waiting around until mix time, you have not only locked yourself into solving the problem electronically (by way of a gate, for example), but in the interim you will have based a bunch of overdub decisions on your perception of the overall sound. So the problem metastasizes to other aspects of the recording.

Had these things been attended to at the tracking stage, it would have been dead easy to shorten the decay of the kick drum (by placing a blanket at the front head, for example).

Let's be clear also that I am not trying to produce Archtop's recording here. I am merely using the above clip to illustrate a broader issue, applying my own aesthetics.

I hope that explains my reasoning, for those of you tuning in late. :Coolio:


otek

archtop
May 18th, 2011, 09:44 PM
The bass is D.I. only.

otek
May 18th, 2011, 09:49 PM
The bass is D.I. only.

...and...? :Confused:


otek

Aardvark
May 19th, 2011, 02:46 AM
Thump and thwock,
Thwock and thump.

Kick gets one,
Bass gets the other.

Doesn't matter who, how or what,
as long as there is thump and thwock.



Cheers,
Aardvark



.

archtop
May 19th, 2011, 02:56 AM
haiku-ish limerick

zakco
May 19th, 2011, 07:30 AM
Why I felt that the previous comments did NOT "tie in" with mine was that I was talking about discordant behavior between two different low-end sources.

I got that.

When Archtop said:
I'm trying to show how sometimes bass have a shit load of sub activity
and drastically cutting the subs can still be a bassy type of sound

To me, that was an acknowledgment of the concept that EQ is not always a cure for what may on the surface appear to be an over-abundance of LF content. Though it may not have been stated in an obvious manner, I thought it at least alluded to yours and my comments.

Or maybe I just don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. :)

Z

T.Bay
May 19th, 2011, 12:41 PM
If the bass just happened to have brand new flatwounds on it, would it not have still been deemed appropriate?

Can you restring it and re-record the part?