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Making bass and kick work live

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by loend68, Jul 10, 2012.


  1. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    NH
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    I'm sure this has been covered elsewhere, but I really didn't have any luck with search. I'm trying to work with my BL on my bass sound through FOH. He insists the way to make the bass heard is through adding top end in the PA. Maybe around 5-6k. I'm running a Spector NS-2 through the DI on my TC RH750 set to pre-eq. There is plenty of top in the Spector itself. My argument is that the way to make the bass heard is by making room for it with the kick. He runs a nice big round kick drum that sounds great, but I think it steps on the bass a little. My question is, I don't know what frequency to tell him to start playing with. Also, do you usually notch the kick and leave the bass alone or mess with a little of both. In the past most sound men tell me they leave my bass flat.

    Honestly it's me nitpicking because the overall live sound is excellent, I'd just like to experiment a little. Any help is appreciated.
     
  2. There needs to be a notch in one, and a slight boost in the other. I tend to notch the kick drum anywhere between 600 - 850 hz, and will boost that frequency in the bass. Good luck!
     
  3. TOG

    TOG Banned

    Jul 4, 2012
    For rock the bass is usually below the kick frequency-wise and is the foundation. For pop the kick is usually the foundation with the bass above the kick. Not sure what you'd want for worship music, prolly depends on the style of songs you play (rock Vs something lighter) and the attitude and ages of the worshipers.

    Check this out:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/expert-center/techtips/d--04/23/2004
     
  4. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    NH
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    Thanks! That's an excellent article, just what I was looking for. We're a pop/rock coverband.... Jessie's Girl, Brickhouse with some modern stuff like Muse and Pink mixed in.
     
  5. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Get the bass guitar above the kick (frequency wise) if you want your notes to be heard.

    And BTW, props for realizing that the kick and bass need to be considered as a unit and mixed as such. A lot of people don't "get" that and that's when one instrument or the other (usually the kick drum) winds up dominating the entire mix.

    5-6k boost to the bass guitar doesn't sound like the answer to me at all. That might add some harmonic content but in terms of positioning bass vis a vis the kick drum, your philosophy (notching the kick) makes a lot more sense.
     
  6. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    NH
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    Well I think the intent is there (with the 5-6k boost), but I also think the BL likes the sound of bass in the tweeters since he always is questioning why I turn mine off. 5-6k definitely gets it into the tweeters! He's running JBL tops that have horn and seperate tweeter.
    I've always thought bass sounds better when it's tied to the kick. The two together are super powerful.
     
  7. You've got lots of good advice above. More high end doesn't really do much for bass, IMHO. Proper notching is everything.

    When I mix, kick and bass are ALWAYS side by side faders. If the show needs more drive, they both get boosted at once...
     
  8. uhdinator

    uhdinator

    Apr 20, 2010
    Maine
    Kick boost at 50hz cut 200-400hz boost 5k.

    Bass cut below 80 , boost 100-200
     
  9. Mark Reccord

    Mark Reccord Supporting Member

    There's nothing but string noise, clicks and pops in the >5kHz range for bass guitar. In terms of any pop/rock based music, the kick drum should always occupy the lowest part of the frequency range. Even though the fundamental tones of the lowest strings may be below the kick's fundamental, most of their musical energy is in the harmonics above the fundamental, while the bulk of the kick's energy is at its fundamental frequency.

    As a general rule, I tend to cut low mid (~200 - 800Hz) from the kick and leave it in and sometimes boost it for the bass. In particularly boomy rooms I often use a 75 or 80Hz high pass filter on the bass guitar to help keep things clean. My goal is to get them to sound cohesive (which is a subset of trying to get the whole mix to sound cohesive) instead of two obviously separate things. Not to make them indistinct, on the contrary, I strive to make sure every note can be heard and by noodling with the frequency envelopes of the instruments you can fit them together such that you can hear all the notes and they're not fighting each other.

    One mistake I see sound people (and bass players) make on a regular basis is using way too much low end with bass guitar, especially in reverberant spaces. It's a recipe for a muddy mix.

    It can be different for jazz and other genres that tend to use higher and more openly tuned kick drums.

    Boosting the 5-6kHz range won't gain bass guitar anything in the overall mix.
     
  10. scotts42

    scotts42 Banned

    Jan 3, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    This works very well with my top 40 pop wedding band.

    Kick. +4 @ 62 w a med Q
    - 12(as much as you can) @ 550 w a wide Q
    +8 @ 3k-5k This gives you the attack

    Bass
    +2 at 80(I shelf it out and leave everything in till about 32)
    -4 @ 220 ( I move this around depending on the boominess of the room)
    +4 @ 850 w a med Q (will bump this if I need more clarity)
    +6 @ 4k-6k (string noise for slap)

    I also use heavy compression on everything under 120. I don't think most boards have dual-band compression, but if you do it's amazing.

    And after I do all of this I remember that I pay the sound guy for a reason, and I'm sure he changes everything.
     
  11. prd004

    prd004

    Dec 3, 2010
    The frequencies for the bass and kick drum need to be at least an octave apart. Especially for the low EQ, but for the mid too.

    I'm not a fan of too much high end on either< coming from the house that is
     
  12. I always just put a HPF on the bass and NOT on the kick.
    The other good trick is to use a peaking eq on the kick with about a 80-100hz bump.
    I hardly ever use a bass eq boost on mic or DI bass guitar. It just gets muddier and eats up headroom. On some PAs it makes the subs overload and generate that cheap cruddy sounding harmonic.
     
  13. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Hey everyone, I'm not the OP but just wanted to say how much I appreciate the input on this thread and especially those of you who have specified frequencies to boost/cut. We run our own sound and have a good, well-powered P.A. but we recently switched drummers and are having a bugger of a time dialing in his kick drum. Being able to give my BL some actual frequencies to work on will help big-time cause I have a hard time translating "thud", "boom", "snap" and "punch" into numerical terms.

    This will also come in really handy at my church.
     
  14. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    NH
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    Thanks for all the input! Next soundcheck when we have a little extra time, I'll be trying this stuff out.....
     
  15. Consider this -

    The lowest fundamental of a 4-string bass is about 40Hz, 30 on a 5-string. Whereas a kick drum doesn't even go below 60Hz.

    At my church I boost the kick at 60 and cut at 120, then do the exact opposite on the bass. I high pass both. Kick at about 56Hz, Bass at 45Hz.

    So why do you see information below 40Hz on a frequency spectrum? Well, I'm not an expert, but my guess is that microphones (such as the kick mic) are picking up low frequency rumble going through the floor caused by the kick and bass. But again, I'm not an expert, and someone else here might be able to explain this better.

    Also, have to remember that how you tune the kick drum is a huge factor here...
     
  16. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Great point. Two gigs ago our kick drum sounded like heaven in the P.A., and was singin with the bass so sweet. Then before the last gig our drummer decided he needed to re-tune it (using one of those stupid gauge things), and the sound completely went to ass. :rolleyes:

    I wanted to strangle him. Don't fix what ain't broke, son!
     
  17. wcriley

    wcriley

    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    Great info, guys! Really helpful to me right now.
    Any advice/comments on the benefits (if there are any) of using compression on the kick drum?
     
  18. uhdinator

    uhdinator

    Apr 20, 2010
    Maine
    I always compress and gate the kick, unless you like it wimpy and flabby.
     
  19. wcriley

    wcriley

    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    I have two choices with my limited equipment:
    1. Comp and gate/expansion, or
    2. Comp with decent EQ capablilities (semi-parametric lows and highs; full parametric mids)
    (Mixer has one-knob comp and set-freq EQ on channels. These are outboard units.)
    I'm thinking the comp/EQ unit would be my better choice for kick?
     
  20. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Compression on kick is a good idea if for no other reason then a lot of drummers aren't real consistent in their kick strength.
     

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