Thread: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    There ain't no 30hz on vinyl records
    well, no, but doesn't the phono preamp put an RIAA curve on it to compensate?

    I have had mixes ruined because of too many lows (you find out later :( )
    what exactly did you find was ruined about them?

    I ask because ive been struggling with this also. definitely some food for thought here. i wonder if the low end we hear has more to do with the overall level of the track and not so much to do with eq-ing it in.

    mixes I've done in the past sounded decent, but the overall level suffered. not that i need to second-guess any more than i already do, but i wonder if I'm too quiet because I'm boosting things that i don't necessarily need to. back to the drawing board...
  2. #42
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    well, no, but doesn't the phono preamp put an RIAA curve on it to compensate?
    You can't boost or "compensate" what ain't there. I'm not really up enough on the definitive details of cutting vinyl (Bob O. might be able to say), but IIRC there are physical limitations to what the cutting head is capable of that restrict what can be done in the extreme low end on vinyl, and there are physical protections employed to prevent burning out the cutting head.
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    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  3. #43
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    You can't boost or "compensate" what ain't there. I'm not really up enough on the definitive details of cutting vinyl (Bob O. might be able to say), but IIRC there are physical limitations to what the cutting head is capable of that restrict what can be done in the extreme low end on vinyl, and there are physical protections employed to prevent burning out the cutting head.
    You attenuate the bass according to a fixed curve to protect the needle from skipping the track when the bass becomes two separately different animals prowling the dung heaped back yards of inner Mongolic yurts while then applying the RIAA curve in reverse to get the attenuated bass back. CMIAW.
  4. #44
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    for sure, i think i remember reading somewhere that vinyl couldn't cut extreme low end info as it would skip off the track. but i was referring to the end-user turntable system. IIRC, the phono preamp puts the curve in there to compensate for what wasn't cut on vinyl.

    which i guess is a whole other discussion entirely, but maybe this idea can be applied to mixing. if its just being sent to mastering anyway, why are we grappling with the low-end to the point of competing with released material? and by grappling, i mean really trying to 'maximize' it, not trying to make it work. chances are, they are probably better equipped to handle the maximizing end.

    maybe bob could answer this (or anyone else who might know) but i wonder if mastering engineers back then had to do so through some sort of eq that mimicked what the phono preamp curve sounded like.
  5. #45
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    which i guess is a whole other discussion entirely, but maybe this idea can be applied to mixing. if its just being sent to mastering anyway, why are we grappling with the low-end to the point of competing with released material?
    Because, if the M.E. would have to make extreme changes to the low end simply to make it work on vinyl, the end result would be very different from your mix. This goes for any mastering treatment. You would want a result that clearly reflects your mix, not something that is done to it out of necessity or personal taste.


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  6. #46
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    An excess of <55hz will fucking kill your headroom, is easy to miss in any one of a million (speaker/room) combinations will cause hell on the wrong system, but isn't even audible on 90% of consumer systems. (Aside from what it will do to the rest of your mix under heavy compression/limiting) I'm not saying cut it by any stretch, but it is the lesser of the two evils, IMO.
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  7. #47
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    An excess of <55hz will fucking kill your headroom, is easy to miss in any one of a million (speaker/room) combinations will cause hell on the wrong system, but isn't even audible on 90% of consumer systems. (Aside from what it will do to the rest of your mix under heavy compression/limiting) I'm not saying cut it by any stretch, but it is the lesser of the two evils, IMO.
    Excess of subs can surely be a trainwreck, however a lack of them in my experience is much worser. And I don't agree subs are not heard on many systems. IME they are increadibly important, maybe not directly though. What I mean is that on small speakers there WOULD be a difference between original mix and mix with subs filtered out, even if the sine at that frequency is completely inaudible. IMO it's because subs can modulate audio and the products of that modulation are clearly audible.
    So it's important to sort that range.
    Maybe below 30Hz is safe point. But between 55 and 30 is an important range.
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  8. #48
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    Excess of subs can surely be a trainwreck, however a lack of them in my experience is much worser. And I don't agree subs are not heard on many systems. IME they are increadibly important, maybe not directly though. What I mean is that on small speakers there WOULD be a difference between original mix and mix with subs filtered out, even if the sine at that frequency is completely inaudible. IMO it's because subs can modulate audio and the products of that modulation are clearly audible.
    So it's important to sort that range.
    Maybe below 30Hz is safe point. But between 55 and 30 is an important range.
    I don't agree that they effect the mix on a system that can't reproduce them, other then how the subs would change the behavior of master compression/limiting. At least that hasn't been my experience. Someone else might jump in and tell me I'm a dolt though.
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  9. #49
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    Again, my point is not that "you should just cut it" just that it's one of the lesser audio crimes, IMO. And yes, a 30hz hi pass is very safe, and not terribly uncommon.
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  10. #50
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    Just because some systems can't reproduce them doesn't mean the system isn't trying to or being affected by them.

    When I was also running live sound as the house guy for 6 years with a system
    that had 4 -18's driven by a Crown Macro Tech 3600 I brought in a mix I was excited about the lo-end content on to check it on the club system. Wow, eye opening disappointment is what I got.
  11. #51
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a graph that instead of thinking of the super lows as LENGTH of a waveform ( because you will hear 40 hz even if your not 28 feet away from the source)

    Think of it as energy.
    20hz - 40hz has a shit ton.
  12. #52
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    You attenuate the bass according to a fixed curve to protect the needle from skipping the track when the bass becomes two separately different animals prowling the dung heaped back yards of inner Mongolic yurts while then applying the RIAA curve in reverse to get the attenuated bass back. CMIAW.
    That's not what I'm talking about, that's playback stuff. Roughly put, the RIAA curve is there to improve tracking in the low end and to relieve the need to cut unplayably wide grooves to reproduce low end.

    This also concerns the matter of requiring collapsing the bass to mono below a certain point.

    What I'm referring to is limiting/EQ applied to protect the cutting head during mastering.

    I'm not at all up on the details though, not being a cutter (and having forgotten a fair amount of what I had learned about it. I just have a pretty strong impression that there are two different questions involved here, one regarding playability and the RIAA curve, and the other regarding the cutting machinery itself.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  13. #53
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    That's not what I'm talking about, that's playback stuff. Roughly put, the RIAA curve is there to improve tracking in the low end and to relieve the need to cut unplayably wide grooves to reproduce low end.

    This also concerns the matter of requiring collapsing the bass to mono below a certain point.

    What I'm referring to is limiting/EQ applied to protect the cutting head during mastering.

    I'm not at all up on the details though, not being a cutter (and having forgotten a fair amount of what I had learned about it. I just have a pretty strong impression that there are two different questions involved here, one regarding playability and the RIAA curve, and the other regarding the cutting machinery itself.
    You're definitely right. I just discovered it was what I was saying.
  14. #54
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    I don't agree that they effect the mix on a system that can't reproduce them, other then how the subs would change the behavior of master compression/limiting. At least that hasn't been my experience. Someone else might jump in and tell me I'm a dolt though.
    course
    Of they will - to begin with they'll snarf your amplifier headroom right up. <gobble, gobble, gobble...BURRRP!>

    There will also probably be some "churning" effects going on that aren't true reproduction of those frequencies so much as intermodulation effects between that stuff and information in the audible bandwidth. I think that's primarily what the modern metal guys are going on about when they're claiming that you really can hear stuff in their absurdly low drop-tuned stuff that you really CAN'T hear because it's below the low frequency cutoff of nearly all home playback systems. Of course it's also pretty bad for the speakers, too, since the cones are operating unloaded and essentially just flapping.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  15. #55
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    course
    Of they will - to begin with they'll snarf your amplifier headroom right up. <gobble, gobble, gobble...BURRRP!>

    There will also probably be some "churning" effects going on that aren't true reproduction of those frequencies so much as intermodulation effects between that stuff and information in the audible bandwidth.
    I can't see how that would be a benefit though, as it would vary widely and unpredictably between playback systems, and it's self only be noticeable in the worst of circumstances.
    I'm a fan of cheese!
  16. #56
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    I can't see how that would be a benefit though, as it would vary widely and unpredictably between playback systems, and it's self only be noticeable in the worst of circumstances.

    Benefit?
    BENEFIT???
    BENEFIT?????!!!!?????

    Who said anything about a Benefit?

    ( Unless you somehow think that having your speakers flap themselves to death by trying to operate them out out their safe frequency range is somehow beneficial.... Come to think of it, in some cases it might be..... HMMmmmmnm.)

    No, that's my primary and oft-repeated argument against excessive down- tuning and the use of guitars and basses with superfluous extra strings added to the low register.

    Typical home playback systems (including most with so-called "subwoofers") are incapable of reproducing anything below 40 Hz, which is low E on a standard 4 string bass guitar. Many of the smaller ones really don't do much below 80Hz (loe E on a 6 string guitar in standard tuning.) A great many of the "subwoofer" systems use a separate woofer (NOT really a subwoofer) box to extend the pitiful 120 Hz cutoff of the "satellite" speakers down to around the 60-40Hz range that a respectable traditional Hi-Fi speaker is capable of reproducing. Kinda.

    Pah! Feh!

    Don't even talk to me about laptops, TV speakers, or portable devices.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  17. #57
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    No, that's my primary and oft-repeated argument against excessive down- tuning and the use of guitars and basses with superfluous extra strings added to the low register.
    Might as well argue against rain as it makes your clothes wet.
    Thing is, great deal of bands made low tunings work for the them.
    And things as Korn, Staind and many others (show me bands who don't downtune to some degree these day?) sound great.
    And downtuned guitars sound "low" even on smallest systems. I know.
    When in doubt, mumble!

    EVERYTHING SOUNDS LIKE SHIT IF YA LISTEN LONG AND HARD ENOUGH.
  18. #58
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    I agree, it changes the entire timbre of the instrument. It sounds deeper, even if you can't hear the fundamentals.
    I'm a fan of cheese!
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    Might as well argue against rain as it makes your clothes wet.
    Thing is, great deal of bands made low tunings work for the them.
    And things as Korn, Staind and many others (show me bands who don't downtune to some degree these day?) sound great.
    Well, considering that I gave up listening to the wreckage of bands that play "heavy" music (and don't really understand what true "heaviness" is) about two decades ago I basically consider those bands silly and chasing a unicorn. And I don't really regard those bands as being especially "heavy" for the most part, just tuned too low for a normal stereo to properly reproduce.

    "Heavy" is in the way you play, NOT the way you tune. Most of those bands play way too fast, and are too caught up in virtuoso time signature crap to ever be truly heavy.

    They lost the script.

    Just my opinion, but I find all that stuff profoundly uninteresting, and often unlistenable.

    And downtuned guitars sound "low" even on smallest systems. I know.
    Sure. Speakers farting below their cutoff frequency sound like speakers farting below their cutoff frequency.

    Might sound good on a big concert system with walls of 24" subs. Does not sound good anywhere else. (I'm actually inclined to suspect that a lot of those bands are going to sims in concert because real amps simply cannot reproduce that stuff.)

    I outgrew that crap a LONG time ago.

    Most of those bands went wrong trying to copy Sabbath, who only downtuned because of Tony's injury. Sabbath would be as heavy as hell in standard pitch. It's the way they play, not the way they tune. Maybe those copycat guitarists should cut off the tips of their fingers, too, would that make them "heavier"?
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  20. #60
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    Default Re: Rhetoric musings on bass guitar

    I like the sound of the old down tuned sabbath, with the way too small strings for the tuning, everything strikes sharp and then falls flat. I love that sound.
    I'm a fan of cheese!

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