1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

more or less low end before mastering

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Savage_Dreams, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    if unsure about how much bass (frequencies, not instrument) there should be going on in the mix, is it better to maybe have a little to much bass and let the person mastering it roll some off if needed? or keep it on the side of a little less bass and let them boost it if needed?
  2. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Don't send it to mastering hoping they'll correct a little too much or a little too little. Best to mix it so it sounds just like you want it to in as many listening environments as you have access to.

    If you aren't sure, A/B your track against a couple well mastered big budget tracks that are sonically similar to what you want your track to sound like. Do this not just in your mix room, but on friends' living room systems, in the car, on headphones, etc.
  3. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    I dont mean too much or too little in extremes. more just as in personal taste as to how people like to hear their music differently. some like a lot more bottom end than others. i can completely get it to sound how i like it to sound, may not be what everyone wants to hear though. i guess i just meant as in the compromise between peoples taste, which direction is the way i should lean.
  4. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    No one can tell you the right answer here but derrico1's advice will show you how to discover the right answer for your particular situation if you're willing to do the work.

    Compare your tracks to well mastered, commercially successful recordings from the same/similar genre and use that as a benchmark. Listen for qualitative things such as low end, high end, & midrange clarity, stereo imaging, phasing or comb filtering, and noise. Also listen for mix choices like dynamics & compression, panning, masking, and use of fx.

    Then monitor your tracks and some of the benchmark recordings on different playback systems to see how they translate. Also, bounce your tracks to MP3 and see how the mix holds up, especially the low end. Your mastering engineer should also do this since there are a few MP3 codecs out there and they sound different.

    Once you've done your homework you'll be able to make more informed decisions about mix quality, how it translates to what your audience is accustomed to hearing, and how to have your tracks mixed and mastered accordingly.
  5. i agree with everyone here. but realistically if you had to choose, wouldnt making it low end heavy be better? that way if they had to cut the bass, its just cutting, whereas boosting would slightly raise the noise floor.
  6. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    thanks, i think thats sort of what i was getting at in a round about way without even knowing it, lol

    yes i listen to my mixes in every place and every system possible, but this is the first time we will be sending it to someone else for mastering. and like i said, i can get the mix to where im happy, but i know theres usually some eq'ing happening in the mastering process and we will more than likely let this person have the last say, within reason. so if there will be a compromise between what i like for low end, with the others in the band, and the person mastering, i guess i was looking for the answer that i should have known already, cutting is usually better than boosting.
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I think you're looking for trouble if you send anything other than what you think is the best possible mix before mastering. Boosting or cutting the bass will effect everything in the mastering, not just your bass, and you may be in for some unwelcome surprises when you get the finished product. If you're going to trust someone mastering it with the final say (which I never would), then I especially suggest you go for the best possible mix before mastering without trying to guess or predict what the mastering person is going to do with it.
  8. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    An experienced mastering engineer is not going to cut or boost more than 3 dB over any given frequency range, MAX, and usually a lot less. Don't look to someone to completely re-eq or compress a mix at the mastering phase. When in doubt, call the person who will be doing the mastering and see what they recommend or prefer.

    Most home systems have a huge boost in the low mid to low range (if they actually reproduce frequencies below 80 Hz that is), and leaving a mix bass- heavy going to master can have not-so-great consequences for the final product. It is much easier to boost a frequency that's already there than it is to cut something that is too forward in consumer systems.
  9. blue209


    Dec 16, 2006
    NoHo, CA
    I've always been told by very experienced engineers, producers, and mastering engineers that it's better to have your mix slightly bass heavy as opposed to lacking in the bass. As others mentioned, it's much easier (and sounds much better) to cut the low end as opposed to boosting it. You can't create something that's not there and boosting adds a bit of distortion and noise. It's true that you want the mix to be as perfect as possible but it'll never sound exactly the same after mastering (comp, eq, limiting, etc). So when in doubt add a touch more in the end so the mastering engineer has something to work with. Now, with that said, being a bass player I tend to prefer more bass than you find on commercial recordings. So, I tend to mix in less bass than I would prefer but probably more than is needed. When I go to mastering studio they tend cut just a touch 1-2db and it sounds perfect. Everyone is different though so....ymmv.
  10. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010
    Mix it to your taste, to sound as best as possible. If you have any specific questions beyond that, ask the mastering engineer. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to provide with information that will make their job easier. They all have plenty of horror stories about what makes their jobs a lot harder, so I'm sure it won't be an imposition.

    As far as low end goes I wouldn't excessively cut anything, hoping they can add it back in later if it doesn't sound great. As has already been said, it's a lot easier to cut off what you have too much of, than to add back what's missing. I do run high and low pass filters on tracks when mixing, to eliminate inaudible frequencies and improve headroom on the mix. If you don't know what I mean or don't have experience with that, don't worry about it.
  11. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    exactly. thats probably where most of my concern is coming from, but its not a huge worry.

    to most of the responses, obviously im not going to send a mix that i don think is the best or isnt what i want. i also dont expect anyone mastering to do any major changes, or 'fix' a bad mix from me. but there will some change, no matter how slight.

    and as far as trusting the person mastering to have the (almost) last say, im not sending it to some stranger who will warp it to their vision of great music, its someone i completely trust and like the work they do.
  12. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    i do use the filters here and there. do you use a high pass on bass? and if so at what freq?
  13. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010
    It really depends on the project, but I'm typically cutting below 35-50 Hz on bass and kick. Higher on some other sources. I will sometimes check the mix on a system with a sub woofer, just to make sure I'm getting what I want out of the lowest frequencies and not random flutters on the sub. The last project I sent for mastering I think I cut everything across the board at 50 Hz, some individual tracks higher as needed. YMMV though, it just depends on what you're trying to get out of the mix. No matter what, I'm always checking to make sure they're essentially inaudible changes though. I trust my ears first. I would never make a hard rule based on a number to fit every situation.
  14. MrCincinnati


    Mar 6, 2011
    Not sure if this was already suggested but..

    mix it to sound how you prefer it - reference it in your car, on your earbuds, homestereo laptop all that - against similar commercially produced material - then ask the ME if you can send over clips and get feedback on levels before sending over final passes - even if he/she charges you for their time it's worth the $ to get them the mixes in the best range for them to work on them and take to the next/final level...since you are going to spend money on mastering anyway. Not getting the ME's opinion on the mixes done by a non pro mix engineer - is like taking your car to a mechanic to get an oil change only using oil you pre purchased - and never bothering to figure out what kind of oil - or how much - your car requires.

Share This Page