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isolating bass on tracks

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by tch90, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. tch90


    Jul 5, 2009
    If this is in the wrong group forum let me know. I've been looking for some sound equipment or program to help me isolate bass lines in songs. I want to be able to crank the bass, while limiting other sounds without an EQ. Do you know of any methods? Thanks
  2. woodsideh


    Feb 19, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Subscribed. I'm not sure there is such a program, but if there is I want to know also.
  3. I may be wrong but I do not believe such a thing exists at this point in time.

    There are lots of tools and programs to do this, but they would all pretty much be EQ based.
    Once a multitrack recording is mixed together, there's no way to pull it apart again.
    It's like making a PB&J and then trying to put the peanut butter and the jelly back in the jars.

    The closes you can get is to find original multitrack recording stems and get the isolated bass. Many songs are available in this method now thanks to the Rock Band//Guitar Hero family of games.
  4. ive EQ'd the crap out of a track to bring up the bass. was trying to learn some queen. compressed it a bit to get the bass louder and pretty well cut off everything about 400 hz.
  5. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
  6. deliciouspesto


    Jan 18, 2009
    Its impossible to separate it. Best option is to cut sides or center of a stereo mix and see if you can hear it better.
  7. Madcity Fats

    Madcity Fats Supporting Member

    May 28, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    If you've got the tools to do it, you could sum the stereo track to mono and then run it through a low-pass/high-cut filter. It's not going to eliminate everything but the bass, but it will eliminate a lot of the high end (including some of those frequencies coming from the bass) and make the bass part more pronounced.
  8. tch90


    Jul 5, 2009
    thanks for the responses. Is there sort of EQ i can use through my computer or a DI i can use through my computer to my headphones?
  9. PrietoBass

    PrietoBass How does he do that?

    Apr 16, 2009
    I have also been looking for the solution to this problem, except I want to EQ "down" the bass line in order to play over the track. I have found that Transcribe! is the closest tool to meet my needs.

    Here's what I do:
    1) Use Transcribe! to learn the bass part.
    2) Use Transcribe to EQ down the bass part. You can't eliminate the bass line completely, because the bass and kick drums also live down there along with the bass. If you use the provided filter the whole song becomes "dead". So I use a custom EQ curve to diminish the bass; I'll be playing over it anyway.
    3) Export the file as a wav; make sure you include the EQ settings.
    4) Import the wav file in Audacity.
    5) Set Audacity audio to play back through speakers and record through microphone.
    6) Mic your bass amp. (I use a USB mic; it's all I have).
    7) Connect a pair of headphones to the computer's headphone jack (this way you can listen to the track but you don't get any feedback on your recording).
    8) Hit the record button on Audacity. You'll end up with two tracks: your previously imported wav file and your recorded bass line.

    I have found that it is a nice learning tool (recording yourself that is). Unless you use an audio interface, lag is going to be somewhat of a problem.

    For a sample of this setup, visit my blog. The bass lines you hear there is me playing over the track. The original bass line is barely noticeable. I've been playing for one year, learning on my own as time and family/financial priorities prevent me from getting an instructor.

    I am learning keys so that I can come up with my own versions of the songs I like. I'm thinking of a pad controller for the drum part.

    It's not the best setup but it's what I do and I'm learning and having fun at the same time.
  10. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Use multi-band compression to help bring out the bass. Most modern recording/mastering software has this available as presets that can be modified. Of course, this assumes you have access to the programs (most are expensive) and you can record to and from a computer.

    Multi-band compression has been available as mastering hardware for a long time but you aren't likely to find this equipment outside of a recording studio unless you want to shell out the big bucks and buy it yourself.
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  12. gumtown


    May 7, 2007
    New Zealand
    have you looked at finding bass tabs on the internet instead?

    What i do to learn a bass line from a song is use a sound file editing software, like Sony SoundForge, and perpetualy loop the tricky sections of a song until i get it.
    The human brain is excellent for filtering only what you need to hear, just like you can hear 2 seperate conversations, but a computer can't distingush one from the other.
  13. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I gave Melodyne a test.
    It works good on well - songs with clean bass. It's really weird to drag notes around.
    I wish it could export midi. Maybe some future version will.
  14. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Melodyne can export midi. Maybe not on the demo, but the full version does.
  15. Jim Roseberry

    Jim Roseberry

    May 24, 2007
    There's currently no software technology for "extracting" the isolated bass part.

    The new Melodyne with "DNA" can separate notes in polyphonic material... but it won't perform well with full mix material. IOW, It would work well on an isolated guitar track... allowing you to effectively change notes in a chord (major to minor being one simple example)... but it's not designed/able to extract all individual parts.
    This in-and-of-itself is revolutionary

    The only means of quasi isolating the bass part would be via filters (EQ, Multi-band Dynamics, etc)

    If you're trying to learn intricate licks/etc, many DAW software apps let you slow down audio without changing pitch.
    ie: Recently, I needed to learn a fast keyboard lick that was a step higher than the recorded track. So... I set the DAW software to transpose the audio 1 semi-tone (without changing length... then I slowed down the passage (without changing pitch). The audio quality was just a little rough... but it made picking out the fast lick quick/easy.
    If you don't already have a DAW application with these features, download Reaper. It's only $60 for a non-commercial purposes.
  16. Tim C.

    Tim C.

    Feb 4, 2010
    You would need the original source recordings to truly isolate a particular feed from any vocal or instrumental signal.
  17. Mr_Pleb_Mgoo


    Apr 20, 2010
    What you could try is to do your best to EQ out the bass from the song, save it as a separate lossless file, then invert the phase of that track.

    Then in an audio editor, load the original track as track 1, and the EQ'd and phase inversed track as track 2. What this will do is cancel out every noise you didn't EQ out of the track. Still not a perfect way of doing it, but it's the best way I've seen to do it. (Especially for vocals)
  18. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Ah cool!
    what an incredible piece of software.

    I was able to pull in mixes and separate out tracks. The cleaner they're played the better. There's some pretty funny videos on Youtube of people doing this to some songs.
  19. The best method I stumbled upon: If you have a classic iPod, set the EQ on Latin or R&B with the soundcheck off and use Audio 625 USB headphone by Plantronics. The bass just punches its way out of the song into the forefront and is surprisingly audible on most recordings where horns aren't blasting and predominant.

    Also, another one that works for me: Play your song loud and turn on the vacuum cleaner. All you'll hear is bass. Don't laugh, it works.
  20. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I love it. Great suggestions in the real world!

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