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Thread: how loud should the bass be??

  1. #1
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    how loud should the bass be??

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    ok usually i keep my kicks around -14db
    and with my subs i usually keep them at -22db
    i EQ my bass under the kicks
    and the whole mix with all instruments playing never exceeds above -3db

    i dont have good monitors yet so i cant feel if everything is just right yet.. any advice??

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    Someone please correct me if i'm wrong. but i think this depends on the track. i don't think anyone can simply tell you what level to put them at.

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    Actually the thing that people have the most problem with (bass, snare, and vocals) are some of the only things that have a "standard". And I don't know where your getting your readings from OP but they don't sound right.

    Typically, without tons of compression the kick and bass and vocals should be hitting very close to 0dbFS. The snare about -3 to -6dbFS. Then mix everything else to match. Then turn down all the tracks down the same amount at the same time until the master channel reads about -3db max. Then drop on a bus compressor (Classic Compressor is great on Premastering preset). Make the minor adjustments needed. Drop on the Classic Master Limiter and turn it to about 6 on the knob. That should be damn close.
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    Yeah it depends on the track. If the bass is the focus of the instruments in one track then that won't apply to all songs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Young Hooligan View Post
    ok usually i keep my kicks around -14db
    Why? I mix to a VU meter and use -18dBFS = 0VU (+4dBu). The only reason I can think of why a person might use -14dB as peak for their kick is if -14dBFS is their reference for 0VU. But I'm not sure that is the case here.

    Like Morning_Star said, your numbers seem off.

    And in my VU metering method, my kicks are generally peaking at 0dBVU.

    Snares -2 dBVU

    Bass between -10 & -7 dBVU.

    Lead Vox between -5 & +5 dBVU (+5 being an extreme and weird case but worked once so can't rule it out)
    Last edited by HakimCallier; 01-10-2010 at 07:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morning_Star View Post
    Actually the thing that people have the most problem with (bass, snare, and vocals) are some of the only things that have a "standard". And I don't know where your getting your readings from OP but they don't sound right.

    The snare about -3 to -6dbFS. Then mix everything else to match. Then turn down all the tracks down the same amount at the same time until the master channel reads about -3db max.
    ^^^^ yeah after i turn everythng down the master channel ends up @ -3db and my kicks usually are at -14db. i dont want to over power the instruments with superrrrr loud bass...

    Quote Originally Posted by HakimCallier View Post
    Why? I mix to a VU meter and use -18dBFS = 0VU (+4dBu). The only reason I can think of why a person might use -14dB as peak for their kick is if -14dBFS is their reference for 0VU. But I'm not sure that is the case here.

    Like Morning_Star said, your numbers seem off.

    And in my VU metering method, my kicks are generally peaking at 0dBVU.

    Snares -2 dBVU

    Bass between -10 & -7 dBVU.

    Lead Vox between -5 & +5 dBVU (+5 being an extreme and weird case but worked once so can't rule it out)
    ^^^^^^ sorry but idk what ur talking about w/ all this VU stuff
    Last edited by Young Hooligan; 02-03-2010 at 03:43 AM.

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    Where are you guys getting all these numbers????

    The only time I know what my kick is hitting is when I first start a mix. And it's hitting anywhere from (scratching head to induce memory cells), -18 to -6 (dBFS) (I'm converting because it's analog at that point... I don't know what it is coming out of the DAW as I've never bothered to really pay much attention). That's a pretty wide swing. Why? BECAUSE IT DEPENDS on the song and the sound of the kick and everything else.

    The bass, it depends. For those really subby basses, I keep 'em pretty quiet. How quiet? I don't know as I've never bothered to see what they are reading numbers wise, but I know those numbers are pretty low. More full range and trebley basses are louder because the physics of playback handles it better. How loud? Don't know. More dBFS's than the subby basses. But even still, same sub bass, different song, gonna be a way different level.

    Anyway, OP: My advice is as follows. Stop worrying about the numbers so much because you can't mix by numbers. Not even close. Not even in the ballpark. Not even in the same zip code. Not even... you get the idea. Get some decent monitors (no need to go crazy) and TREAT THE ROOM with as much bass trapping as possible and absorption on all first reflection points. Then you'll be able to hear what's going on and you can start ignoring most of these numbers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
    Where are you guys getting all these numbers????

    The only time I know what my kick is hitting is when I first start a mix. And it's hitting anywhere from (scratching head to induce memory cells), -18 to -6 (dBFS) (I'm converting because it's analog at that point... I don't know what it is coming out of the DAW as I've never bothered to really pay much attention). That's a pretty wide swing. Why? BECAUSE IT DEPENDS on the song and the sound of the kick and everything else.

    The bass, it depends. For those really subby basses, I keep 'em pretty quiet. How quiet? I don't know as I've never bothered to see what they are reading numbers wise, but I know those numbers are pretty low. More full range and trebley basses are louder because the physics of playback handles it better. How loud? Don't know. More dBFS's than the subby basses. But even still, same sub bass, different song, gonna be a way different level.

    Anyway, OP: My advice is as follows. Stop worrying about the numbers so much because you can't mix by numbers. Not even close. Not even in the ballpark. Not even in the same zip code. Not even... you get the idea. Get some decent monitors (no need to go crazy) and TREAT THE ROOM with as much bass trapping as possible and absorption on all first reflection points. Then you'll be able to hear what's going on and you can start ignoring most of these numbers.

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    If it is so responsive to the song why not set some standard. For metal, Pop, EDM, Country, Folk. what was it during the 60's on average, 70's, 80,s, 90's, etc. I know during my mixes I can definitely make my mix louder and not blow my speakers focusing on a higher mid range tone. That sound then is loud, but there may not be any low end per say, or it there but tonally its just too mid range. Which I understand is not a pleasing tone. Now I listen to my mix on throughout my house on 3 different systems with subs. and 3 others without. I got really good on being pleased with the sound on all systems now, because one system doesn't have too much base or too much highs or the one rack tom doesn't punch out to much in the 8th measure. or the vocals are equal all the way threw. were my second take of the bass doesn't all of a sudden mask over my vocals. I know that from 20 to 20000 we can't have all the frequencies reading 0db... to me all that matters is the radio. it sounds to close to uniform. vocals sit nicely in the mix. its a big sound. and pleasant to listen to. regardless of the station. I am not sure if it is me but i always feel like my recordings are special in tone. but everyone has a different tone. I try not to focus so much on that and think it keeps my artists pure. I would definitely agree that when you have a proper listening ability in your "studio" that is would help you thinking your toms are not coming off on top of you mix because you couldn't hear the frequency response properly because of your room situation. So on and so on.

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    to everyone one particular frequencies are you speaking of that reach the threshold you speak of? say if I have a kick drum that I want to be heard at the punchyness of say 100hz. now I could use and eq to roll of all frequencies above and all bellow and as I bring back those frequencies, once the meter reaches above desired threshold to eq down those new found higher db frequencies... so you may be saying to set the "-14" kick Low end there or high end attack?

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