Nailing that low end is tricky right?
You might be working with many different instruments and they all sound good, but for some reason you can’t get that bass guitar to the same level. It’s either too muddy, too thick or too weak. It’s hard to find that perfect middle ground.
There are a variety of fixes when it comes to dealing with low end, as every situation is always a little different. However, there is one crucial processor that is instrumental in getting your bass sounding good.
By using the equalizer you can sculpt the low-end until it’s just the right amount of tight bass. But knowing where to look, and knowing what to steer clear of is important to getting your low end right. Let’s look at a few quick fixes for the bass guitar.
We’re working with this easy bass guitar loop.
It doesn’t sound bad at all, but we can make it sound better.
It’s always a good idea to filter out any unnecessary frequency information. However, be careful when you use that high-pass filter on a low end instrument. Since that’s where most of the character of the instrument lies, filtering it out can lead to a thin sounding bass that has lost all of its power.
In the following example I’ve filtered up to 100 Hz, rendering the bass loop pretty thin and lifeless.
If you are dealing with similar problems, make sure you aren’t filtering out important information. In this case, instead of filtering everything out at 100 Hz, I’ve decided to cut it back down to 50 Hz or so. Much of the juice is between 50 and 100 Hz so I’ve thrown out all the extraneous low end and retained the actual character of the instrument.
Different scenarios call for different approaches, and that’s why you should get over The Fear of Filtering.
Subtle EQ Fixes
Now, I think the guitar can lose some of its muddiness, but I also think it can be a little beefier. Since muddiness is usually found somewhere in the 200 Hz, I’ve done a small cut around 192 Hz.
Additionally, the thickness of the bass guitar is somewhere from 80 – 100 Hz so I’ve done a subtle boost at 87 Hz. By cutting the muddiness I’ve allowed myself to boost the actual bass sound of the bass guitar a little more.
To me, this results in a thicker but less boomy sound. Have a listen.
Obviously, you can either agree with me or not. This might not be the sound you are looking for. Also, there are things in the higher frequencies that I would take a look at if this were an actual track, but if you have similar problems you can usually look in those areas for the fixes.
Where Do You Go From Here?
If free sounds like a good price, you can sign up for my EQ course that teaches over 70 hacks to better mixes.
For a more detailed guide, I tackle low-end issues along with many topics in my ebook EQ Strategies – The Ultimate Guide to EQ. If you want a broader perspective on the subjective aspects of mixing music then I encourage you to check it out.
Image by: Paul J. S.