Inside The Mix | Music Production and Mixing Tips for Music Producers and Artists

#75: How to Mix Bass Frequencies (PRODUCER KICKSTART: VYLT)

March 28, 2023 VYLT Season 3 Episode 16
#75: How to Mix Bass Frequencies (PRODUCER KICKSTART: VYLT)
Inside The Mix | Music Production and Mixing Tips for Music Producers and Artists
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Inside The Mix | Music Production and Mixing Tips for Music Producers and Artists
#75: How to Mix Bass Frequencies (PRODUCER KICKSTART: VYLT)
Mar 28, 2023 Season 3 Episode 16
VYLT

Hey, there music makers and producers! Welcome back to the Inside The Mix podcast for another exciting episode. This time I have a special guest, VYLT, joining me for a Producer Kickstart session. If you're struggling with making your bass stand out in a mix or wondering how to side-chain or pan your synths, then this episode is for you! I'll be sharing some useful tips and tricks to help you control the bass in your mix and make it sound more professional. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy the show!

CLICK HERE, to book a Producer Kickstart Strategy Session: https://tidycal.com/inside-the-mix-podcast/producer-kickstart

CLICK HERE, to follow VYLT: https://linktr.ee/vyltmusic

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Hey, there music makers and producers! Welcome back to the Inside The Mix podcast for another exciting episode. This time I have a special guest, VYLT, joining me for a Producer Kickstart session. If you're struggling with making your bass stand out in a mix or wondering how to side-chain or pan your synths, then this episode is for you! I'll be sharing some useful tips and tricks to help you control the bass in your mix and make it sound more professional. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy the show!

CLICK HERE, to book a Producer Kickstart Strategy Session: https://tidycal.com/inside-the-mix-podcast/producer-kickstart

CLICK HERE, to follow VYLT: https://linktr.ee/vyltmusic

Send me a Message

Support the Show.


► ► ► WAYS TO CONNECT ► ► ►

Grab your FREE Test Master at Synth Music Mastering TODAY!
✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸
Are you READY to enhance your music with my steadfast dedication to quality and personal touch?
Bag your FREE Test Master at Synth Music Mastering: https://www.synthmusicmastering.com/mastering

Buy me a COFFEE
✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸
If you like what I do, buy me a coffee so I can create more amazing content for you: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/marcjmatthews

Send a DM through IG @insidethemicpodcast
Email me at marc@synthmusicmastering.com

Thanks for listening & happy producing!

Marc Matthews:

You are listening to the Inside The Mix podcast with your host, Mark Matthews. Hello and welcome to the Inside the Mix podcast. I'm Mark Matthews, your host, musician, producer, and mix and mastering engineer. You've come to the right place if you wanna know more about your favorite synth music artist, music, engineering, and production, songwriting and the music industry. I've been writing, producing, mixing, and mastering music for over 15 years, and I wanna share what I've learned with you. Hey folks, and welcome back to The Inside The Mix podcast. If you are a new listener to the podcast, welcome and don't forget to hit that subscribe button. And if you are a returning listener, welcome back. Now in this episode, slightly different to usual. It's a, a new format that we've got running today. So I'm very excited to welcome our guest today, my friend, uh, violet. So Violet is a music producer seeking to specialize. Metal and dark synth. I heard metal or rather red metal there, and it peaked my interest straight away. As the audience knows, I'm a big metalhead. Um, so what we're doing today is what's called a producer kickstart session. So we're gonna be digging into some mixing, um, music production, bits and pieces with Violet. Uh, violet, thanks for joining me today. How are you?

VYLT:

Hi. Hi. Thanks so much for having me. Uh, I'm, I'm doing great today.

Marc Matthews:

Fantastic. And just for our audience listening, can you just, uh, let us know where you're joining us.

VYLT:

Uh, yeah, I'm, uh, a producer from Singapore.

Marc Matthews:

Fantastic. Yeah, the, I always ask this question because I, I chat to people all around the globe and it's pretty cool. I should get a map on the wall and put pins in everywhere that I've spoken to, people, friends, because , it's, I'm getting, I'm getting about now. Yeah. Yeah. I think I'm gonna do that actually. Yeah. Yeah. I can make a note of that. Um, so yeah, company is just huge. Yeah. Oh yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah, that's the great thing about it, you know. I'm chatting with yourself today in Singapore and I'm chatting with, uh, color Theory later in the States, and then I'm chatting with Oh, nice. Yeah, I know. And then I'm chatting with a few others in the UK and someone in the States again. Um, so yeah, it is fantastic. You get to speak to all people all over the place. It's brilliant. Um, so. As a producer kickstart session, uh, what I'd like to just dig in first is just a bit about your, where you're at the moment. So we're gonna be focusing on mixing today. So where you're at in terms of your sort of knowledge, skillset at the moment with mixing and where you think you would like to be in six months.

VYLT:

Oh, that's a good question. Um, , I think like, oh, in terms of where I am with my skill level, I'd say that like I can get a mix sounding like good enough for like the average consumer to just think, you know, Hey, this is, uh, like it can, it sounds pretty standard, I'd say. Mm-hmm., like, um, you wouldn't hear, I, I don't think at least that. Any average listener will be be like complaining about specific issues when they hear it. Nothing's like standing out too, obviously. Yeah. Um, but of also like, . There's also this sort of, this issue of you being your own biggest critic and like, I'm always like very critical of my own, um, quality. And I'll always be fussing over the little details. Like, oh no, did I get the balance right? Is maybe the base of it too weak in this or too strong in this? Or, um, am I not, you know, And in, in terms of mastering, it's always like an issue for me. Yeah. Um, which is kind of why I I approached you for help for that actually for one of my upcoming songs. Yeah. So like, um, I guess in six months time where I'd like to see myself is, um, I'd like to be able to have a mix that like, , I could theoretically be like pitching to bigger, like, like record labels and stuff and like be kind of reach that next level of quality where like even those with the trained ear will have a hard time discerning like any faults of it. Yeah. In a sense. And also possibly like reaching a level where I can even, you know, do my own master's at a more professional.. Yeah. Fantastic. I guess it's like my, yeah,

Marc Matthews:

yeah. Yeah. It's, um, they're great goals, to be honest. And I get what you mean with regards to good enough and, and being your, your harshest critic. Cause I think we all are our harshest critics when it comes to music and music production, you know? And mm-hmm. It's, it's, it's just a tricky one with the good enough one, because we're in mixing there. It, it ties in with being your harshest critic. You there? There has to come a point in mixing where, you know, there there is a boundary line where you think, I've gotta put this mix to bed now. But at the same time, when you are your harshest critic, it's so hard to do because you're always trying to pick bits and pieces. Is there anything in particular in your mixing and your productions that you focus most on when you are criticizing your mix?. Right.

VYLT:

Um, I think like the kind of the biggest issue that I struggle with a lot, um, is actually like handling my base. Mm-hmm., I think it has to do with the fact that I don't really have the best equipment when it comes to like, audio. Um mm-hmm., like I don't really have super, uh, seat of the art headphones or like desktop monitors and things like that. Yeah. So like, it ki I kind of struggled to like really. here. The level of my bass as compared to like reference tracks and things like that. And I always find like one song I'll be like mixing the bass too low and then the next song to, to compensate for it. Like I end up going overboard with it and it Yeah. Becomes too thick. Yeah. It's something that I'm never really, like, I'm always not really happy with how that part.. Marc Matthews: Yeah, that's parts and it kind of needs on, leads on nicely rather. So you shared the song sort of vivid section with me and I've, I've had a listen to it and the notes I've made, um, are primarily the ones I was gonna focus on. We're gonna be in that low end region. Right. Um, and with bass it is really, really tricky. If you haven't got. Monitoring environment. Uh, say mon uh, monitors, it's, it's hard cuz if you, if you've got a home studio a lot of the time, unless you are quite lucky in terms of you can build your own home, home studio to a certain specification, you're sort of working with what you have and you, you're on, not the back foot, but it's quite tricky to kick on from there. And then a good pair of headphones can sometimes help with that. Now you mentioned there about your headphones situation. If you don't mind me asking, what headphones are you using at the moment? Oh gosh. I'm a little bit like. Uh, embarrassed to even like, uh, this, uh, , like I'm mixing. I mix all my songs in like a pair of like, kind of cheap, like $50 audio Technica earphones. Yeah. It's not even a pair of headphones. Yeah. It's, uh, I'm trying to like, work up the funds to upgrade. Yeah,

Marc Matthews:

I was gonna say you say that, but I, I remember. Where I had a, a friend and he, the, and he was mixing, using in Apple earbuds. And because he got so finely attuned to the Fre Yeah, to the frequency response and how they. interacted with his music. He was coming out with some fantastic mixes. And it's interesting again, that there was a conversation I had with Don Morley in episode 54, whereby we were talking about mixing environments and he was saying that you, unless you're in a perfect optimum mixing environment, you sort of begin, you adapt to what you have and you start to learn the intricacies of the frequency responses of what you're using. And then you, you sort of, you can create those mixes. So I wouldn't be too per. About the fact that you've got the, the cheaper side of headphones. I still think you can come out with good mixes using them. You've just gotta learn to know where the, where there's a, there's a peak in the high. Um, And the high frequencies, or there's a boost, uh, bump in the low frequencies. You sort of gotta learn to tune your ears to, to use those headphones. So one thing I was gonna say with regards to the low end in particular ears. Now this is the tip I got from, oh, I can't remember the producer's name, um, but it was something I saw and he said, uh, so you mentioned that you were, you're use in reference tracks. So when you use a reference track, right? Are you. Doing it by ear, which is great, which is what I'm an advocate for. Or are you looking at the frequency content of that reference track as well?

VYLT:

I tend to try to look at the frequency content, um, and usually like, I'll try to, I'll use like visually like the frequency and like the, the spectrum as like a guideline. But I tend to fall towards just using ear cuz I sometimes don't trust the visual.

Marc Matthews:

Hmm. Yeah. Well one thing I was gonna say then is that's a really good thing to do. So it's great that you're doing that already in terms of your, oh, you are looking at the the frequency content. Cuz there is a limitation to our listening environments if they're not optimum and sometimes it is or it is good to use a reference EQ and see, okay, so this is a professional radio friendly track and I can see this, that particular base. Whatever it may be. I don't know. You've got 80, 90, a hundred hertz. I can see there's a B, there's a bump there, so I'm gonna try and match that. Obviously what I wouldn't say is use something like Matchy Q and just match it like verbatim, cuz that's probably not gonna work. It's not the ideal thing to do, but it it is great that you're doing that already cuz that's what I would say you need to do. So with regards to your base, how are you? Interplaying with the kick drum, are you carving out space for the kick in the base frequencies and vice versa? Is that something that you do?

VYLT:

Um, I, I do like site chain, my kick drum, but, um, the way that I do it, which probably isn't the most, the best method is I literally site chain it to like the whole bus of everything else. So everything ducks down on the kick comes in. I just personally like how that sounds. I don't know if that's, uh, like more damaging to my mix or not. Um,

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. So just to clarify there, so are you side chaining your kick to every instrument, or are you side chaining your kick just to the base?

VYLT:

Every uh, almost everything. Yeah. Oh, wow, okay. Minus a few like drum elements.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. Yeah. I'm, I'm, I'm there, there. What I'm gonna say to that is there is no hard and fast rule. I mean, if it sounds good, then go with the golden rule. Go with it. You. Yeah. Um, sorry about that. My computer screen just flicked off and it came back on again. That was very weird. Oh, yikes.. Yeah, that threw me right off. I don't, I thought I'd lost everything then, but began a panic. Oh, that's like a heart attack.. Yeah. Yeah, it just went totally black. That was weird. Um, but it's still recording, so that's good. So, um, where was I going with that? Yeah, . Yeah, I was, um, talking about the. Yeah, there, no, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to music. You know, if it sounds good and it adds to your track, then do it. Um, I did notice in that track, do you side, you're, I mean, you're side chaining the guitars as well, I'm assuming then. Yeah, but

VYLT:

pretty much

Marc Matthews:

everything. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Um, Well, I mean my, my immediate response would be, once again, this is my own personal opinion is that if I'm gonna do that, I might vary the level of side chain with the instruments. I dunno if they're all at the same level. Does that make sense?

VYLT:

Right, that makes sense.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. Yeah. Otherwise, you're just gonna have that same level of pumping throughout the whole track. And if it's different for the different instrument, That could add a bit more interest throughout the track. That's going slightly off topic with regards to base, um mm-hmm. but side chaining is good with base. I mean, if you're side chaining base, you're making room for that kick drum to come through. I mean, another way you could do it is if you've got, I dunno if you've ever used a, a multi-band compressor or you have access to one. I

VYLT:

have, and I don't have much experience with it, so I haven't really like, Been able, I haven't like really experimented with it enough. Um, I'm still trying to figure out how to

Marc Matthews:

use it. Yeah, no, no, that's fine. That's fine. What I was gonna say is, with a multi-bank compressor, something like the waves c6, others are available, um, you can pick out the, the specific frequency of the kick drum and just duck that frequency notch in your. However, that's from a mixing perspective. So if you want your base, you'll kick drum to come through, poke through your base, um, that would work. But if you're doing it from like a creative perspective, so you've got that pumping, then I would just stick with the hole of the base, be side chained, if that makes sense. Right. I hope it does. Um, but one thing I would definitely look at doing is varying the levels of side chain you've got going on with your instrument groups. Just to make it a bit more interesting, I'm assuming your, your side chain, your sense as.. Yeah,. VYLT: Everything is. Marc Matthews: Fantastic. Excellent. What about guitars? Do you, I mean, are those V S T guitars you've got going on there in that track?

VYLT:

Yeah. So like for the first track, like that included guitars, which would be the section at that point in time, I did not yet have, um, I believe at that point in time I didn't have an audio. I. So I, I just used like, um, a VST guitar coupled with a synth that I designed, I tried to emulate the sound of a guitar with, so it was like two layers. Yeah, but it was not a real

Marc Matthews:

guitar. No, that, that's fine. What I was gonna say it, um, have you double tracked that guitar? Is it just one guitar? Is it left and.

VYLT:

I believe at that point in time it was not double tracked, it was just stereo because of the way that I designed the synth. It was just like ized.

Marc Matthews:

I see, I see. Well, one, one other thing I was gonna say is, um, this kind of plays into that low end again, is what you might wanna consider doing. This is coming from my metal background now. So when I was playing metal, we would double track guitars. We might have even quadrupled tracked. I know Metallica did it on. Uh, the Black album, but it depends on, on your overall mix and what you're going for. But double tracking guitars is a great idea. So you can have one hard pound left and one hard pound, right? No, we did quadruple. No, no, it's double. So I did my, my guitars and the other guitarist did theirs. But what I would say is have on the left side, You have one guitar and on the right you have the other, but make them subtly different. So you might have, uh, a slight treble boost in the guitar on the right, or you might have a slight low end boost in the guitar on the left or something along those lines, because if they're the exact same when you pan them left and right, you'll hear this. There's an episode that goes out on Tuesday with Adrian Hall and he says this, if you pan it hard, left hard right? And it's exactly the same. It almost, it doesn't, but it kind of almost sums to mono, if that makes sense. So you want to have those. Variations in sound left and right. And it's the same with synths as well. If you're hard panning, synths left and right. I dunno if you do that with your pads or do you have one pad down the middle or is it just a stereo pad?

VYLT:

pad. Um, usually when it comes to like my instrument arrangement, I tend to have different instruments in different parts of the stereo field. So I'd have, I'd probably have like my pads more on the left and then like something else more on the right.

Marc Matthews:

Oh, I see. Yeah. I mean, what, what I was gonna say is it kind of falls in line with pads as well, so you are already doing that, which is great, where you have those, those d. Sounds both left and right because that will then enhance that stereo width that you have. Um, so it's good that you're doing that already, but what I would say is if, are you gonna be tracking guitars in a few, are you guitarists yourself?

VYLT:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Now I use real guitars in my songs, so Oh, fantastic. Oh no. Yeah. I was just gonna say that like, uh, I'm definitely keen to do like tracking and stuff. I think, like you did give me feedback for my other track that other time, um, about tracking, which I. Really appreciate it and like it really did give like a lot of life to the, um, to the whole track as a whole. Yeah. So it's definitely something I'm, I'm playing

Marc Matthews:

with a lot. That's great to hear. So go. So going back to your, the, the, the base region, cuz I'm, I'm aware of time, so with the base region that you have there mm-hmm.. You have your bass, whether it's a synth, uh, like an ar arpeggiated pattern or bass guitar or something like that. Is it just one bass or are you layering bass sounds And do you use a subbase sound as well?

VYLT:

Uh, yeah. Usually I will layer like a bass sound with a subbase and it'll cut out like the subs from the original base that all of it like separate. Yeah.. Marc Matthews: Yeah. Well that, that's what my next question was gonna be. So you're doing that already, which is great. Um, cuz that, that's what I was gonna say is cuz otherwise you're just frequencies on top of frequencies and then you're overloading that, that sort of frequency range there. Right. So that's fantastic you're doing that. And then do you have any upper frequency content in your base as well? And is it, actually answer that one first. So your upper frequency content, do you have anything above sort of like the low mids, the high mids with your. Uh, typically yes, I usually like intense, uh, intentionally like induce higher frequencies with like distortion or things like that just to like help it like pop out a bit. I dunno if that's how you're supposed, what's you're supposed to do with basis, but yeah.

Marc Matthews:

No, no. Once again, it's, I was just, just intrigued to see or find out rather what you're doing in terms of your frequency content with base up and down the spectrum. And it's one of those ones, again, it's, there are no rules and it's kind of leads on. What I was gonna say next is with regards to the stereo width in the low end, anything below sort of a hundred herdz, do you have it sort of like mono or do you have some sort of stereo spread? Have you got base in the stereo spread below sort of a hundred hertz?. Yeah,

VYLT:

I usually keep my, uh, base, my low base, like as mono as possible. Like my sub is fully mono and that's usually, it's about there around like maybe 80 hertz and below is all mono. Not sure about a hundred. Maybe I should, yeah, I probably should like, keep that in mind next. Yeah.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. I mean, to be honest with you, when I say a hundred, it's, it's an arbitrary number. I was just picking one out the air, so I mean 80. If 80 works for you, then then stick with 80. But with regards to you, I know you mentioned earlier about saying that your base, sometimes you don't think it's loud enough or maybe it's due and then you overcompensate in your next mix. It might be worth, once again, it goes back to saying there are no rules really. Maybe try and what it sounds like with a slight stereo, Width in that low region. If you've, if you're thinking, actually, you know what, this base really isn't kicking through in my sub-base. Maybe not sub-base. Oh, that's interesting. But your interesting, your lower, yeah, just try it. Um, just try it out. Just not obviously like hard left, hard, right. But just add a bit of width to it and see what it does, because it might just help it open up a bit more. Um, when you are, when you, when you are, do you say, uh, like a, I always get them around the wrong way. It is a. low, no high pass filtered. Do you high pass, filter the low end, sort of like to get rid of any rumble? Is that something that you do in your mixing? Um, high

VYLT:

passing. Probably not. Uh, wait, hold on. I'm, I also get this mixed up a lot. Is that the one where you cut away the highs or are

Marc Matthews:

you cut away the highs? No, it's, it's the one away. Yeah, I know. I always do it. I, I did a, I did a, um, a video last week and I had to second guess myself. I pass Oh gosh. Where? Gosh. Yeah, I know. Is where you're only allowing the higher, the, the frequencies to the right come through. So if you've got a high pass filter right. Uh, 20 hertz. Yeah. Anything above 20 hertz will come through.

VYLT:

Yeah. So I definitely do that for my basis. I do that for like, most of my, of my audios, of my instruments,

Marc Matthews:

actually. And is that, are you using a l a shelf filter or is that, uh, a, a high pass, sorry, A

VYLT:

shelf, uh, not shelves. I mean a, a pa high pass. Like I completely cut out, like the stuff that goes below. Also not too sure if it's the right number. Probably 80, probably higher.

Marc Matthews:

Yeah. So what I was gonna say today is, this is something I learned from, from chatting with Mike Exeter because I, I reserve the mindset to do that myself as well. And it could also, when you are, when you find that your low end is lacking in your mix, It could be worth looking at that high pass filter and maybe switching it out for like a, um, a low shelf instead, which doesn't in attenuate all the frequencies, but rather you could sort of attenuate, I dunno what a hundred hertz, you might attenuate five or 60 B instead. If that makes sense. That's a really

VYLT:

interesting idea

Marc Matthews:

all. Now neither had I because he put the point across, whereas like that frequency, that, that, that sound is there for a reason. And when you send it to mastering, if there's nothing there, the mastering engineer hasn't got anything to work with. Now, it's not necessarily gonna mix, or sorry, sorry. It's not necessarily gonna work with everything, but if you are finding that you're, it's lacking anything, maybe just try switching it out and putting a, a, um, what did I say? A low shelf in there instead. And then Right. Just, just ducking it rather. Uh, a high pass filter and getting rid of it altogether. I hope that makes sense. I think it does. That does make

VYLT:

sense. Yeah. Oh, fantastic. That's like, that does open up quite a few doors for me,. Marc Matthews: Well, by the way, I wonder what that's, that's, that's 20 minutes in now, so I hope that's been of some use to you. Um, I mean, I could, I could chat about sort of mixing and all these bits and pieces all day, but I'm hoping that you can take something away from that there, from what I've said. Yeah. Definit. Fantastic. And, um, for our audience, uh, listening, if they wanna go and find out and listen to your music, where could they find you online? Right. Um, yeah, thanks so much for, uh, giving me this opportunity. Like, oh, no problem. If, if you'd like to find more of my music, you can find me at, like, I have this handy dandy. Link for everything. It's a link tree, so it's link t slash v y LT music, no caps news faces, or you can just search me up as v y LT or violet. Um, you'll probably find some of my pages somewhere. Uh, yeah. Brilliant. Um, thanks so much for having me on this, on this, uh, episode.

Marc Matthews:

No, no, it's my pleasure. Thank you for joining me on this. I'll, um, I'll put a link in the episode notes so the audience can go and click on that link tree link and check out your stuff as well. Once it's again a big thanks. Yeah, no, not a problem. Not a problem. Um, and folks, if you wanna be like my friend here, Vila and become a producer kickstart, uh, participant, go to the website, www.insidethemixpodcast.podium.com/free and get signed up and come join me on the show. We can chat about your music and. Much like we've done today. So Violet, a big thank you and, um, thanks for joining me on this and enjoy the rest of your day. Oh yeah,

VYLT:

thank you so much. It, it's been a pleasure.

Marc Matthews:

Hi, I'm Chewy. I go by Chewy beats and my favorite episode is 66 because it showed me a new approach of writing lyrics and yeah, I'll try that in my next one.

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