Mixing Bass

Warren from Produce Like A Pro is a long time music producer and mixer (Aerosmith etc.) and he shares his decades of knowledge and experience for free on YT. This time he’s mixing Bass. Very useful for pretty much anyone who would like to publish better Bass recordings.

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I get notifications from Produce Like a Pro all the time, but don’t pay much attention to them because it’s mostly stuff that’s out of my wheelhouse. I got this notification as well, but haven’t peeked at it yet. I’ll give it a look.
Thanks

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He’s great. His series of studio visits to different recording, mixing and mastering places connected with thorough interviews with the best of the best in the business is a treat for anyone who is eve a little bit into music recording thing.

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I’m a huge fan and love his insights and techniques. I find him to be sensible and understandable. I like that he sometimes shows what’s tempting to want to do, but doesn’t work out.

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That’s enough of a recommendation for me to have a watch it it @DaveT

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His videos on compression are also not to be missed. I haven’t seen one better.

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this thread should have been started a long time ago, I hope it sticks. no treble has a good column on recording bass.

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I struggle with caring too much about getting my bass to sound just right in a DAW and just right in the mix.

I want the bass I hear in a cover to be me playing the bass and its character.
I am not a professional musician nor will anyone be ponying up any $ to buy my ‘music’.
I do care about compression (and one day really hope to hear the value in it.
I do care about tone, but like making MY tone from me, a bass, some pedals vs. a plugin.
If I do ever play somewhere live, I’d like to play my bass with some pedals, not a plugin.

I do understand people hear are creating their own music, and these levels of details matter to them and their music, but I think the folks that are simply making covers should know the difference and that a lot of this detailed stuff doesn’t really matter for a backing track and a bass line.

KISS (not the Gene Simmons kind)
KISS Keep it Simple Stupid

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Yep. He was the first that clued me in to the fact that the vast majority of advice on master limiting and loudness out there was wrong and that track or bus compression and limiting was the way to go.

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That was like an ad for Waves.

If I were going to recommend five plugins for mixing bass, at least two would be iZotope :slight_smile:

I also found a limiter I like a lot, probably better than I would like Waves’ CLA, and it was free.

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That’s fine if all you are doing is covering backing tracks. As you note, it’s pretty far from fine for mixing multitracked instruments.

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I agree @John_E which is why I’ve never had any interest in effects plug ins, and have even walked away from pedals (I’ve sold all my pedals, and my pedalboard is listed on Reverb). I still have/use my pre-amp (VTBass DI), but the concentration is on perfecting my playing style, sight reading, and developing a good ear to learn songs.
The chances of me playing live are thin, and the odds of getting a recording contract even thinner. If I do ever wind up in a studio, I’ll leave all that up to the engineer.
Not to take anything away from Warren or Mix like a Pro, but for me, the extent of my mixing is balancing two tracks for my covers: the backing track (minus the bass) and my bass track. I’s not rocket science, and I just make due with my studio monitors and my DAW.

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It’s funny how people are different in this regard. Playing bass is a part of the interest for me in making music overall, and my favorite instrument to physically play, but my primary interest is in the big picture of music production, not just bass.

I’m enjoying covering others for now but it’s basically a training phase for mixing and production. I’m really impressed by @lee_editorial and @sfadams and their multi-instrumentality and moves into original production. Others as well of course. Definitely the direction my bandmate and I are interested in.

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I think I mentioned the advice he gives at 4:40 in another thread as “bassists love our low end, but the first thing sound engineers do would horrify many of us if they knew :)”

Trimming away that low end that fights with the kick is one of the first things I do in a mix. It just makes everything sound less muddy.

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Agree completely. Bass is my primary instrument and what I hear most in any record, but my other focus is on music production. It’s what my second certificate from berklee is focused on. With that I still want to make sure my bass sounds like I want both in mixes and any live playing I may do.

To each is their own. We’re all here for various reasons, none better than the other. I appreciate these pointers from others and if there is something I’m not interested in, I just move along. As long as we are all enjoying what we are doing, than just keep groovin’

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I get what you are saying, however I do think that even for a cover focused player there’s a few good pointers how to tame the sonic place where we bruteforcing our bass recordings into. Sometimes people post a cover here and the main con of the post is how the Bass sits in the mix and hod it doesn’t sound right, the best it could. Whle, a few, light Eq, mixer moves is often all that is needed.

Also, people here spend obscene amount of money on amps, pedals etc. , but mostly covers and other recordings here are made with DI only. Maybe some people don’t know that DI + micced Amp is a thing or don’t know how to mix it to sound right.

Personally I don’t believe that the KISS concept is actually that usefull when learning a new skill. If I had to record a track for some comercial project I would hold on simple things I know with my dear life. Because I would not want the project to be marked by me learning and figuring things out.

But when someone is at the stage when everything is a learning experience, KISS is to no use to expand the, any subject matter.

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It’s a good point and I agree. If all you are doing is recording covers over backing tracks, technically you don’t need anything but a bass, audio interface, and some kind of recording software. No amp, no pedals, nothing but the bass and DAI is needed. And a tiny fraction of a DAW.

I don’t get the KISS mentality here at all, frankly. It’s easier than it ever has been in history to get in to a vast amount of powerful music recording, mixing, and mastering software. It’s all there for you, easy to find, not so hard to learn (if you apply yourself), extremely inexpensive compared to the past (if you buy smart), and you can, right now, potentially make better mixed and mastered recordings at home than studios could pull off 30 years ago. You just need to learn how. Doesn’t that make you curious?

This is especially true for electronic music where there’s just no gear expense excuse any more, but really it’s true for all music.

To me this is the most interesting thing. Mileage varies I guess. But this is why there’s more amazing music being produced right now than there ever has been in history - music production has been democratized, anyone can do it given time and effort, and lots more people are doing it - including many people that would not have had the opportunity in the past.

I think that’s exciting.

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It’s absolutely mind blowing when one thinks about the difference between now and even 20 years ago. Decent laptop with internet connection offers ability to create any sound imaginable and acces to milenia of acumulated musical knowledge via a browser tab. There’re probably kids right at this moment who got their first laptop because of pandemic homeschooling, who, after school lessons, learn their first musical production bits with free plugins, sounds etc. . Kids who will be in 10 years making millions while making music. And most of them would never be able to get in to music at all 30 years back. It’s really exciting time.

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Rodney on this topic. His initial general comments on gear choices are great: Rodney McG on recording

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Great comments on just getting an interface and getting going, and studio monitor headphones. Even called out both that I own :slight_smile:

(plus monitors, Reaper, drum plugins, etc - lots of great callouts in there).

20 minutes in and it’s all been great advice.

edit: had to stop about 30 mins in but that video is full of solid advice. Gonna finish it later. Thanks for posting it!