Halp! My reese bass sounds too boxy..

I’ve tried the usual EQ, swept with a notch filter, etc. but whenever I remove what sounds like mud I also lose a lot of the punch.
Any tips on making this better?

Thanks in advance.


I’m no expert, but some things to try out could be:

Two band compression. Maybe set the attack to something like 30ms on the high band to let the pick (higher frequencies) pump. Use a more limiting approach on the lower end to tame those frequencies to exactly the right level (they consume a lot of energy).
Use subtractive EQ in the lo-mids. That might be enough EQ:ing in many cases.
A clever trick is to use parallel distortion. Set up a dist with 100% dry and just very very little wet. This will add high frequencies to the bass. Judge from listening to the mix and not when listening solo.
Also, I like sidechaining kick/bass. I think of it as a way to simulate what mixing that would have been possible with a better arrangement ;)

Last but not least is probably to make sure that nothing else is masking any important frequencies of the bass.
A final resort, that will make anything shine but might come at a cost, is to find a good preset to dub the instrument with.

EDIT: I listened to your track now. I can hardly hear any tone in your bass. It’s almost atonal. I might have tried improving the instrument by dubbing with a low sine. This bass probably needs improvement “at the source”? … Also, did you put reverb on the bass? That seems dangerous.

Try boosting the low frequencies around 40-80 hz, or you can layer another sound like a sine or square wave for the low end.

How is someone supposed to tell what to change, if none can see, what you’ve done (probably wrong) in your setup?

The drums and the bass are obviously fighting each other on the lows and mids. Beside that the whole thing sounds like compressed to death. Try to cut 4-6db on 0.5 - 0.75 octaves @ ~500 Hz on the bass. Same @ 300Hz, with a smaller bandwidth (Try this on either the bass OR the drums!). Further on try a hard highpass cut between 26Hz - 34Hz and a slight boost over 0.25 - 0.66 octaves on 63Hz and also 126Hz of the bass. For the last 2 frequenies, reduce them for the drums (with a small bandwidth!) in the approx amount you increased them on the bass.

It’d be way easier to help effectively, if you’d provide something to work with (like separate tracks or the source file), instead of presenting the messed up result only.

Don’t filter it if it makes it sound awful. Especially notch filters have a way of killing all the beautiful vibes in a good bassline. I think you might want to turn the bass channel level down a bit. And/or sidechain compress it, like mentioned before (Signal Follower on kick track, adjust release, set min/max to 25/0, connect to Gainer device on bass track. bass track will have to be to the right of kick track).
I’m not sure if there is some reverb on the bass - it might help to tone that down too.

The Signal Follower is an inappropriate tool for triggering a sidechain, because of timing problems in multi-CPU environments. I’ve written about (and proved) this in some thread I don’t remember, a few weeks ago. While sidechaining in general might indeed be a part of the solution, as a last and final weapon. However, if you decide to sidechain, consider triggering an EQ to fix/duck the colliding frequencies only, instead of ducking the whole bass track like a reaper.

A reverb on a bass is not a problem in general, as long as its tail isn’t too long. You can keep an appropriate reverb on the bass. Just take care of the stereo spread in the lows (below 160Hz), because those might mess up a whole mix. There are tools (Narrowers) out there to fix this, like Tone Projects “Basslane” or the Sanford “Bass Tightener” for example. Both are free VSTs.

Sorry I should of thought to provide the raw samples. Here they are:

There is reverb on the bass but I’m using Basslane VST to mono everything under 300hz so it shouldn’t really be a problem.
But I think it’s really a problem at the source and I need to start over, probably my monitoring doesn’t help either :confused:

Thanks for all the help guys.

Edit: 24bit Samples and Layers (174bpm) Sample Pack: Mega Host - Sample Pack: Sendspace

You shouldn’t just go around on the forums telling everybody why they’re not entirely right, it doesn’t create good vibes at all and might come off as lame if you keep it up.
What does make for good vibes: working with what you have to make the music the best you can. That’s what my tips are usually based on.

Damn that’s a neat friggin drumtrack. @Nexus6 if you email me a link to that (or set it to downloadable in SC) I’ll check it out and see what I come up with aight?

I have no idea, what you are talking about and what your problem is. I’m telling plain facts on topic and I’m giving hints straight on topic, in anything but a bad way. So whatever your problem is, don’t try to make it mine, please. Thank you!

For some reason can’t download the pack. FF refuses to display required parts of the DL screen. Sorry.

Added a sendspace link. If that fails let me know and I’ll send smoke signals :)/>

Thanks for the additional link! :)/>

Here’s my suggestion: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/35759557/Nexus6_EQed_SC_Reese.xrns (See new file in posting below!)

I’ve not EQed much, but the effect is quite huge, as you will hear. I’ve also sidechained the freqs <125Hz by triggering the specific EQ-Band-Gain with a Signal Follower. That’s fine and accurately timed, as long as you use 1 CPU only. For more CPU-independent and reliable sidechaining I’d suggest the use of Twisted Lemons’ Sidekick 5.

Hope this helps a bit. :)/>

Edit: Of course you can change the bandwidth of the adjustment at ~1200Hz. Setting the bandwidth to 0.33 leaves a bit more of the vocal impression. ;)/> I forgot to adjust the track volume of the bass. Bassdrum and bass should have the approx. same level +/- up to 1.5dB

boxy bass sounds seem like you are using a stereo bass for one, so levelling this one to mono is one trick, then bump the 103hz a bit to get some warmth out of it is another, but this depends if the bass sound has enough of that frequency around.

Forget the former posting and try this one, which is more elaborated. I’ve used the Image Line Maximus on the summary, so the difference to your origin posting becomes a bit more obvious.

As limiter I used the free W1 on the bass. Basslane on the summary. Everything else is still native Renoise.

XRNS: Nexus6_EQed_SC_Reese2.xrns
Soundfile: *.OGG example

Edit: Hm, listening to this again this morning, it doesn’t sound really better. It sounds different, but not better. Well, happens when you’re listening too long to those freqs.

I guess it’s indeed the best idea to work on the source again. Might be some bad freqs in the FM Signal, that get multiplied in the vocoder then. Hard to control afterwards with so much modulation in the signal. So, keeping my fingers crossed you can find the “bad guys” in your chain. :)

There’s another thing, that came to my mind. The rendered samples already had reverb and stuff on them, right? Since you told, you used already Basslane on them, I wonder if you’ve neutralized the bass belly Basslane usually produces.

Try setting the “gain”-parameter in Basslane to 9.23. That should neutralize any Basslane-added/doubled bass.

Also I still have the impression, the whole thing is pre-compressed and limited. That “boxy” sound might also be the result of overcompression in the lows and mid lows. So you maybe want to pre-eq/reduce the concerned frequencies a bit more, before(!) compressing them and/or do some lighter compression on them.