low in the mix

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Josh Ryan, May 1, 2001.

  1. Bass is too loud

    0 vote(s)
  2. Bass is a bit loud

    1 vote(s)
  3. Bass is perfect

    2 vote(s)
  4. Bass is a bit low

    17 vote(s)
  5. What Bass?

    3 vote(s)
  1. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I think that in most styles (except solo bass):D the bass is mixed way too low. This (watch out, stereotype coming up) seems more likely to happen in music which normally features a guitar , like there's some type of ratio- more guitar noise equals less bass.
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I think this is a carry-over from the time when upright was the standard bass on recordings and recording equipment wasn't very hi-fi anyway. Sometimes, all you can get in old jazz recordings is a dull thud for a bassline. It's no wonder the strumpet and the saxophone surpassed the clarinet in Jazz.

    The only instances in which the bass gets the place in the mix it deserves is when the main artist or the recording engineer is a bassist, or the guitar player can't play worth a damn.:D

    Will C.:cool:
  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    It drives me nuts. Even when you can get people to agree on not stacked mixing, having the guitar at 747 volume and the bass as a subtle whisper is ingrained into the subconscious mind of most people.
  4. on some cd's the bass is really up but others like Dream Theater, the bass is almost non-existent.. either some idiots who don't like bass turn em down or they just don't like to have themselves up high. Almost every Metallica cd has the bass turned down. ...And Justice for All has it down the most.


    Apr 13, 2001
    Kent, England.
    Depends what I'm listening to. In chili peppers the bass is loud enough but for an example of bass TOO LOW!!! in the mix (sorry got a bit angry there ;))there's metallicas "and justice for all" album. Bass it so low you hardly notice it.
    In general though, the bass is too low in most recordings I've listened to. I prefer that live sound with bass ypu can FEEL.
  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I think if you listen closely that many times it's not so much that the bass is low in the mix...it's that something like guitars are eq'ed with so much low end that you get a bunch of cancellation. Bass players in heavy bands like to scoop all their mids out, which almost guarantees that they'll get lost in the mush. Want to hear a good example of a rock band that has bass that's loud as hell, yet everything is audible and mixed well?

    Gov't Mule

    That's a band that knows how to stack freqs. Allen Woody's bass tone was like a baseball bat upside the head. They also had some of the best live and studio engineers in the biz.
  7. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    hear Sublime´s "Robbin´the hood"
    it has the most potent bass I ever heard... i´m not sure if Mp3 can show that, get the cd... it´s awesome.

    but if you ask which songs:
    -greatest hits
    -Lincoln Highway Dub
    -Falling Idols
    -All you need

    all of the Smashing Pumpkins albums have no Bass...
  8. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Yeah that's pretty strange, Metallica being such a heavy band and all. I suppose the weight comes from the guitars and Lars's kick drum eh.



    Apr 13, 2001
    Kent, England.
    Actually, ..."And Justice For All" is the worst Metallica album for scooped mids. The guitar sound is as hard as nails. I call it the "peg-on-nose" tone.;)
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...agreed!(100%). It's so nice playing with other musicians who know "where" they should be in the mix. I have played with a LOUD guitarist with a processor who wanted to be in everyone's freq range. Granted, by himself, his tone was phat & full...in a band, though, it sucked(IMO).
    Also, the mids allow the bass to cut through the mix.

    ...coming up, I listened to a lotta R&B/Soul/Funk/Jazz/Fusion; that stuff is "always" drums/bass heavy! ;)
  11. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    that is true, I just think that rock/metal groups (some anyway) bury the bass so much it almost need not be there!
  12. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    That could also be contributed to the bassist not being able to find "1" with a calculator...in other words, no groove. They think they gotta jack up the guitars to sound "heavy".

    No, kids, I'm not referring to anyone in particular... certainly not John Myung or anyone on his level. There are, however, lots of guys out there who spend all their time getting tattooed, pierced, and generally trying to look aggresive when they need to be practicing. Playing in time with the rest of the band works wonders!
  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Sorry I should have clarified, leave out the folks who hit the note the guitarist points out for them while whining about their spandex being too tight. I am talking about bands like Dream theatre. I do put Cliff Burton in the talented category BTW.
  14. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Agreed on Cliff.... I think the problem there is that the first few Metallica albums were done on a shoestring budget. Probably cut lots of corners on production in order to save $$.
  15. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Yeah that's true, but I like the sound of Cliff's bass better on Kill 'em all than the sound on Puppets. I may be a bit critical, but I have to agree with the guys who said Justice was the worst mixing they have ever had. Bob Rock, curse him, actually made the bass a little louder in strategic places.
  16. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Jeff Berlin's incredible playing is woefully low in the mix on all of the Bruford albums-on some of the songs you can't even hear the bass until he really digs into it.
  17. good call, dave. i love that album. bass is upfront on all sublime albums because in that band, it truly was the primary instrument, if you don't count brad's voice. but robbin the hood, man, it sounds like it was mixed by somebody who was bass deaf (although actually i believe it was mostly recorded and mixed by brad himself).
  18. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Rain by The Beatles.
    That's the way bass should be mixed on a recording and live.
  19. Mo' bass

    Mo' bass

    May 4, 2000
    A couple of weeks ago I did a PA job for another band. I thought I had made a great balance of all the instruments. I was especialy carefull not to mix the bass to loud. Still I got comments from some of my friends in the audience that the bass was to loud. They also come to shows of my own band and never complain about the bass level. That means that I'm probably mixed to low in level in our band. I have to talk to our sound guy about that.
    (I *could* just turn up my own amp...)

    OTH, our live demo was recorded on 24 tracks and produced by our drummer. Here the bass sounds great and the level is OK. I guess our drummer likes me....

    I agree with the statement that the bass could have been louder on the Dream Theatre albums.
  20. Hmmm...
    I'm starting to really dislike the musical director of The Whereabouts of Wally Dudes because he keeps turning me down, and I can't even hear OR feel myself through my monitor, let alone the audience. Our drummer couldn't play properly because the pianist has a VERY bad problem with speeding up, and the guitarist tends to play steadily, but about 2 or 3 times too fast. I'm the ONLY person in the band that can keep a steady and proper rhythm, and if they can't hear me, then the show is gonna be really poop.

    All the stuff I've been hearing about wanker guitar solos here...the musical director is one of those guys. We've got just over a week til performance day, and he's telling the guitarist to throw in solos in almost every song. Hell, he's writing solos on the fly and then tells our guitarist how to play them.

    And this is all coming from the SAME teacher who said "You can have a great band, but a bad bass player, and then the band just falls apart. Similarly, you can have a mediocre band but a GREAT bassist, and all of a sudden it's a great band."

    Our drummer at one point just stopped playing in one rehearsal because he couldn't follow along, and he couldn't hear me coming out of the monitor. After rehearsal I turned our monitor up (just one general purpose monitor for the whole band), and then told the drummer to sit at the back of the audience and tell me what he thought about my levels. I played some stuff, and he said it sounded ok. We got the pianist to play along, and all of a sudden he couldn't hear anything, so I turned myself up.
    And I KNOW it's bad, because my ears are the most sensitive in the band. Heck, I was standing RIGHT in front of the monitor, and I couldn't even feel the floor vibrate when I played an open E!

    Grrr...stupid wanker guitarist musical director! He scratched up my bass with his watch, too! My nice Fender! Now I have all these nasty-ass curved scratch marks right above the pickup cover because he didn't bother to use the strap. Well, he did, but then he raised his right leg on a chair and pulled the bass against his body with his right hand - he's left handed, but plays righty, and wears his watch on his right hand - and used wrist action to play stuff. Now...if it was ME that put the scratches on it, then I wouldn't mind. It's my bass, and if I screw it up, then I fully understand it, but this is a 'responsible adult' playing with my bass, which cost about 1/4 of one of his paychecks, and he's putting all these nasty scratches all over it!

    Ok. Enough ranting from me. From now on I'm probably going to refuse to let anyone else do the mixing, because I understand how important it is for EVERYONE in the band to be able to hear everyone ELSE in the band. NOT just for the guitarist to play his wank-fest solos over everyone else.