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Mastering the low end with BASSROOM

Tom Frampton

This blog post will tell you how to get the perfect amount of bass when mastering audio using BASSROOM.

This is where so many potentially awesome tracks fail. Too much bass and your track will sound bloated and lack clarity. Not enough bass and your track will sound weak.

I have a process that helps me set the perfect amount of bass for my clients every time. Since I implemented this technique I can honestly say that my mastering business has dramatically improved (more than doubled!)

I hope that this technique helps you too, whether it’s growing your studio business or simply nailing the master of a track that will further your career as an artist.

 

Let’s start with why nailing the low-end is so difficult:

  • Monitors with great low-end response are super expensive.
  • Acoustic treatment is expensive BUT essential for any monitors (expensive or not) to be effective.
  • Even when we have great monitors and acoustic treatment how can we be sure of what the perfect low-end level is?

So we’re up against a few hurdles here, but the technique I’ll explain will improve the low- end of your masters, even in the most basic studio set-ups.


Step 1: Load Up Our Mixing and Mastering EQ BASSROOM on The Master Channel

BASSROOM uses complex algorithms that accurately identifies how the human ear perceives low-frequencies relative to the balance of the whole mix. For that reason it should be loaded on your master channel so it can analyse and be applied to your whole mix.

Step 2: Choose A Preset

To get the most value from BASSROOM, start by selecting a preset that best suits the material you’re working on.

 

Step 3: Create A Target

Rather than choosing a preset, you can create your own target values by clicking the target icon in the bottom left corner and importing reference tracks. If you’re creating targets, we recommend clicking and dragging on the waveform to select the drop or chorus for the analysis, as this is usually the material with the best representation of the bass in the track. BASSROOM will create targets  based on all the tracks loaded into the analysis window.

 

Step 4: Shape Your Low End

Now monitor a bass heavy section of your production (i.e. the drop or chorus), and you’ll see the targets move to the suggested EQ positions based on the tonal balance of your mix compared to the tonal balance of your preset. Use the targets to get a great starting point, then adjust by ear to tweak your low-end to perfection. The algorithm accounts for differences in loudness, so the targets will be accurate and relevant whether you’re mixing or mastering.

 

Step 5: The Level Match

The EQ adjustments may have changed the overall gain of your audio. If the gain has changed by more than 2dB the speaker icon will turn orange. Hover your mouse over the bypass icon to open the output gain and level match pointer. Match the gain slider to the level match pointer to match the perceived loudness of your audio before it passed through BASSROOM.

HEAR THE DIFFERENCE!!

Not only will your low-end fall into place, but the level matching will give you a well-balanced sound across the whole frequency spectrum. Toggle bypass on and off to hear the difference.

 

Click here to get BASSROOM!

 

 

Need ANOTHER Reason to Join the Studio One Family?

Here you go – Deals like this don’t come around often!

Click to Shop!

We’ve combined the power and flexibility of Studio One with the Fat Channel Bundle for the ultimate StudioLive experience! Now through the end of August score the Classic Fat Channel Bundle for FREE when you purchase or upgrade to Studio One Pro! That’s a $249.95 USD value for FREEEEEEEE!!!!

Don’t forget—if you’re a StudioLive Series III mixer owner, these same Fat Channel plug-ins can also be run directly inside your mixer!

The following plug-ins are included in the Classic Fat Channel Bundle:

FC-670 Compressor
This model of an iconic compressor/limiter of the 1950s imparts an unmistakable silky warmth on just about any signal.

Brit Comp
Capturing the unique sound of a twin VCA gain-reduction amplifier design, the Brit Comp is ideal for taming piano dynamics or adding punch to drums and percussion.

Alpine EQ-550
The 1960s-vintage EQ provides consistent, repeatable equalization using three overlapping bands, divided into seven fixed frequency points, each with five steps of boost or cut. Its selectable peaking or shelving filters for the high and low band, along with an independently insertable bandpass filter, provide an easy path to creating acoustically superior equalization.

Solar 69 EQ
The sound of classic British EQ is absolutely legendary and has enhanced many a great recording. Emulating this classic British design, the Solar 69 EQ adds definition to kick drums, shapes electric guitars, and adds shimmer to acoustic guitars and vocals without sacrificing body.

 

Buy Studio One here and the Fat Channel Bundle will automatically be added to your account! 

 

 

Notion 6 for FREE When you Buy a PreSonus Bundle!

Yep.

You read that right. Get our award-winning notation software, Notion 6 for FREE when you buy a PreSonus bundle! That’s $150 USD for FREE!

If you have purchased and registered a qualifying PreSonus recording bundle between August 1, 2019, and September 30, 2019, you’re eligible to receive a free copy of Notion 6. Notion 6 will be added to your account automatically upon hardware registration.

The following bundles are included in this promo:

  • AudioBox 96 Studio
  • AudioBox iTwo Studio
  • AudioBox Studio Ultimate Bundle
  • ATOM Producer Lab

Hear what TopTenReviews.com has to say about Notion 6:

Notion 6 is by far the best music notation software for less than $200. It is easy to use once you get used to the interface, and the sampled instruments are the best we heard. We reviewed a few programs that cost less than Notion, but this software can compete with the best composition programs in any price range.

Click here to read the rest of the review! 

 

30% OFF ALL Zero-G Products for August 2019!

New month, new promos! 

Click here to shop!

Let’s introduce you to UK-based sample library developer Zero-G who we recently joined forces with to present dedicated sample packs for Studio One—and now you can enjoy 30% OFF the entire collection for the month of August. 

Zero-G offers six collections ranging from ambient sounds, vocals, and cinematic material to live played instruments and more, each Zero-G title has been fully customized for Studio One users in Presonus’ proprietary soundset format providing a smoother, creative experience and workflow.

Click here to shop the whole collection!

 

Save 30% on Woodwind Bundle for Notion in July 2019!

Get six Notion Add-ons for one low price! T his bundle includes the following woodwind instruments:

  • Alto Flute
    • Legato, Vibrato, Staccato, Flutter Tongue, Trills
  • Bass Flute
    • Legato, Vibrato, Staccato, Flutter Tongue, Trills
  • Contrabass Clarinet (wooden)
    • Legato, Staccato, Trills
  • Basset Horn
    • Legato, Staccato, Trills
  • Oboe d’amore
    • Legato, Vibrato, Staccato, Trills
  • Bass Oboe
    • Legato, Vibrato, Staccato, Trills

This offer ends July 31 – act fast!

Click here to shop!

 

HURRY – Half Off MVP Loops out the PreSonus Shop!

It’s the DEAL of the SUMMER! For one week only, save 50% off on ALL MVP Loops right out of the PreSonus Shop!

MVP Loops provide some of our most popular, top-selling loops and their whole collection is half off right now! Some of MVPs greatest hits include:

  • Afro Pop
  • Dark Moon
  • Drip
  • Feelings
  • Lights
  • Urban Paparazzi
  • Latin Trap

Check them out in the Shop here!

 

Limited Time Only – HALF OFF Ampire XT for SEVEN Days!

For SEVEN DAYS only– Score the Ampire XT Metal Pack for 50% OFF right out of the PreSonus Shop!

The Ampire XT Metal Pack is an Extension for PreSonus’ Ampire XT Native Effects plug-in with six new roaring amp models and six new cajun-encrusted speaker-cabinet emulations designed to bleach the tats off metal guitarists. Adding to the lethal-weapon qualities of this Pack is a brand-new Metal Drumkit for the Impact virtual drum instrument.

HURRY! This offer is available from July 1 through July 7, 2019 and is offered worldwide!

Click here to shop!

 

 

 

 

July ONLY – 30% OFF Chocolate Audio Pianos for Presence XT!

Looking for some of the best-sounding pianos you can get for Studio One? Look no further than this Piano Collection from Chocolate Audio. And, lucky you, save 30% on the whole collection for the month of July 2019! 

Three different pianos are available, each recorded with high-quality mics and expensive preamps. They also take advantage of Presence XT’s advanced scripting functionality to simulate the behavior of these beloved instruments as accurately as digitally possible.

Click on over to shop.presonus.com to hear audio demos of these incredible-sounding instruments. And if you’re still not sure after listening… get the combo pack of all three! The Chocolate Audio Piano Collection for Studio One is available only at shop.presonus.com.

Last but not least:

The Chocolate Audio Pianos are compatible with Studio One 3.2 or later: Prime, Artist, and Professional editions.

All of the pianos in this family have the following onboard script controls:

  • Tuning: 440/442 Hz
  • Level control for Sustain Resonances, Pedal Noise and Release samples
  • Velocity Curve control
  • Hold, Decay, Release envelope controls
  • Touch Response* control: sets the amount of pre-attack key noise heard, sets the attack time at higher settings.

This offer is valid through the month of July 2019 and available worldwide!

Click here to shop!

 

Friday Tips: The Best Flanger Plug-In?

Well…maybe it actually is, and we’ll cover both positive and negative flanging (there’s a link to download multipresets for both options). Both do true, through-zero flanging, which sounds like the vintage, tape-based flanging sound from the late 60s.

The basis of this is—surprise!—our old friend the Autofilter (see the Friday Tip for June 17, Studio One’s Secret Equalizer, for information on using its unusual filter responses for sound design). The more I use that sucker, the more uses I find for it. I’m hoping there’s a dishwashing module in there somewhere…meanwhile, for this tip we’ll use the Comb filter.

Positive Flanging

Figure 1: When set properly, the Autofilter’s comb filter can make a superb flanger.

Flanging depended on two signals playing against each other, with the time delay of one varying while the other stayed constant. Positive flanging was the result of the two signals being in phase. This gave a zinging, resonant type of flanging sound.

Fig. 1 shows the control settings for positive flanging. Turn Auto Gain off, Mix to 100%, and set both pairs of Env and LFO sliders to 0. Adding Drive gives a little saturation for more of a vintage tape sound (or follow the May 31 tip, In Praise of Saturation, for an alternate tape sound option). Resonance is to taste, but the setting shown above is a good place to start. The Gain control setting of 3 dB isn’t essential, but compensates for a volume loss when enabling/bypassing the FX Chain.

 

Varying the Cutoff controls the flanging effect. We won’t use the Autofilter’s LFO, because real tape flanging didn’t use an LFO—you controlled it by hand. Controlling the flanging process was always inexact due to tape recorder motor inertia, so a better strategy is to automate the Cutoff parameter, and create an automation curve that approximates the way flanging really varied (Fig. 2)—which was most definitely not a sine or triangle wave. A major advantage of creating an automation curve is that we can make sure that the flanging follows the music in the most fitting way.

Figure 2: The Cutoff frequency automation curve used for the audio examples.

Negative Flanging

Throwing one of the two signals used to create flanging out of phase gave negative flanging, which had a hollower, “sucking” kind of sound. Also, when the variable speed tape caught up with and matched the reference tape, the signal canceled briefly due to being out of phase. It’s a little more difficult to create negative flanging, but here’s how to do it.

  1. Set up flanging as shown in the previous example, and then Duplicate Track (Complete), including the Autofilter.
  2. Turn Resonance all the way down in both Autofilters (original and duplicated track). This is important to obtain the maximum negative flanging effect. Because of the cancellation due to the two audio paths being out of phase, there’s a level drop when flanging. You can compensate by turning up both Autofilters’ Gain controls to exactly 6.00 dB (they need to be identical). This gain increase isn’t strictly necessary, but helps maintain levels between the enabled and bypassed states of the Negative Flanging FX Chain.
  3. In the duplicated track’s Autofilter, turn off the Autofilter’s Automation Read, and turn Cutoff up all the way (Fig. 3).

 

 

Figure 3: Settings for the duplicated track’s Autofilter.

  1. Insert a Mixtool after the Autofilter in the duplicated track, and enable both Invert Left and Invert Right (Fig. 4). This throws the duplicated track out of phase.

 

 

Figure 4: Mixtool settings for the duplicated track.

  1. Temporarily bypass both Autofilters (in the original and duplicated tracks). Start playback, and you should hear nothing because the two tracks cancel. If you want to make sure, vary one of the track faders to see if you hear anything, then restore the fader to its previous position.
  2. Re-enable both Autofilters, and program your Cutoff automation for the original track (the duplicated track shouldn’t have automation). Note that if you mute the duplicate track, or bring down its fader, the sound will be positive flanging (although with less level than negative flanging, because you don’t have two tracks playing at once).

 

So is this the best flanger plug-in ever? Well if not, it’s pretty close…listen to the audio examples, and see what you think.

 

 

Both examples are adapted/excerpted from the song All Over Again (Every Day).

 

The Multipresets

If you like what you hear, download the multipresets. There are individual ones for Positive Flanging and Negative Flanging. To automate the Flange Freq knob, right-click on it and choose Edit Knob 1 Automation. This overlays an automation envelope on the track that you can edit as desired to control the flanging.

 

Download the Positive Flanging Multipresets Here! 

 

Download the Negative Flanging Multipresets Here! 

 

And here’s a fine point for the rocket scientists in the crowd. Although most flangers do flanging by delaying one signal compared to another, most delays can’t go all the way up to 0 ms of delay, which is crucial for through-zero flanging where the two signals cancel at the negative flanging’s peak. The usual workaround is to delay the dry signal somewhat, for example by 1 ms, so if the minimum delay time for the processed signal is 1 ms, the two will be identical and cancel. The advantage of using the comb filter approach is that there’s no need to add any delay to the dry signal, yet they can still cancel at the peak of the flanging.

Finally, I’d like to mention my latest eBook—More Than Compressors – The Complete Guide to Dynamics in Studio One. It’s the follow-up to the book How to Record and Mix Great Vocals in Studio One. The new book is 146 pages, covers all aspects of dynamics (not just the signal processors), and is available as a download for $9.99.

 

 

Artist Denny White Discusses Career and Studio One!

We were recently introduced to Denny White via his artist bro and Studio One fan Josh Cumbee. Denny combines pop and electronic beats, soulful blues vocals, and a singer/songwriter style that takes listeners on a trip! Living in Los Angeles has awarded him opportunities to play alongside acts such as Young the Giant, Dawes, and Tove Styrke. He JUST released some vocal sample packs with our friends at Splice, and he’s currently working on a collection of singles leading up to his debut full-length album coming out soon! We recently had the opportunity to chat with him about his career and his gear.

 

Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?

I grew up in a sleepy California suburb called Hemet and music was always at the centerpiece of everything we did. I fell slowly into making music as a career, and still find it crazy that I call this my  “job.” My freshman year of college, I met my good buddy Brent Kutlze, who produced my first solo EP and mentored me early on. I saw first hand how he wrote & produced for other artists, while also being a full-time one himself in his band OneRepublic. Releasing that first EP led to me meeting a manager, doing hundreds of co-writes, moving to LA, and eventually signing a publishing deal with Warner Chappell.

 

How has the music industry changed since your early days?

It’s such a catch-22… everything’s changed while nothing has at the same time. I was technically streaming music in high school with Limewire and MySpace, but couldn’t have dreamed it would morph into streaming as we know it today. On the recording side, I’m still producing on a laptop like I was in college, but everything is light years better and faster than anything I could have imagined then. One of the biggest changes is the vast amounts of knowledge and resources available to everyone now. The industry once sounded like some mysterious faraway place that only a few had access to, but now that glass ceiling has been shattered. I’ve written with kids who know about publishing, licensing, producing, and even their own frequency preferences on a vocal, thanks to amazing resources like Pensado’s Place, or podcasts like Ross Golan’s And the Writer is

 

Describe the first time you wrote a song.

My first song was written for a school talent show, and I hope to find a dusty VHS tape someday with a little me on it, most likely singing a mid-tempo Ben Folds-esque piano tune.

 

Who has been an influence in your life?

Hands down my wife’s been the biggest influence in my life. Musically, I’ve been the benefactor of so many talented friends and collaborators who’ve had an influence on me as well over the years, Brent Kutlze, Michael Brun, David Hodges, Alex Delicata, Steve Wilmot, and Jeff Sojka to name a few!

 

Have you ever wanted to give up on music? What keeps you going?

I’ve never wanted to give up on music per se, but have definitely contemplated other career paths, as this one has the propensity to drive you mad; you really have to love it despite the wild ebb and flow of the industry and embrace the process daily. My faith and family keep me going on days I don’t want to. 

 

How did you first hear of PreSonus?

I’ve always known about PreSonus but knew little about the products until really hearing about Studio One from my freakishly talented friend Josh Cumbee last year. 

What do you like about PreSonus? What caught your eye?

I remember being in Josh’s studio and was immediately intrigued when I saw the Start Page of Studio One. It felt so unique and custom to Josh. The first feature that caught my eye was the window in the middle where you can upload your own art, that prints on every mixdown. Also, the organization of seeing all recent files on the left, without having to scroll through a list or search your hard drive immediately spoke to my OCD-ness.

 

What PreSonus products do you use?

I use Studio One, Monitor Station v2, and just snagged the newest FaderPort for even more control! 

 

What features are you most impressed with in Studio One?

I really dig Console Shaper, and the immediate vibe it can give to any blank start. The hybrid dual buffer engine is insane and makes it possible to work in large projects that historically would have been a cluster cuss, and allows me to use instances of soft synths that are taxing on CPU like Kontact or Vengeance Avenger up until the finish line. Tracklist organization, Fat Channel, and “Candleblower” bass in Mai Tai are a few of the other million things I love in it.

 

Any user tips or tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One?

Recently I released a Vocal pack on Splice, and Sample One XT made all my vocal chops feel so much more creative and important-sounding than anything I could have accomplished in my sad old DAW’s sampler. First I’d record pass of adlibs, tune with the integrated Melodyne (insanely fast,) then map individual samples across 3-5 keys and quickly explore new melody ideas. Another huge lifehack is I have “W” set to “Locate Mouse Cursor.” It’s insane how much time these things have saved me, and now I’m able to be creative almost immediately. 

 

How easy/difficult was Studio One to learn?

The transition was so easy. I was very reluctant at first, thinking It’d take way too much time, but after doing a few sessions in it I was back at full speed with a whole new perspective on producing.

Where do you go for support?

From the Knowledgebase to millions of videos on YouTube, or texting one of my friends about Studio One, there’s never a shortage of support.

Recent projects? What’s next for you?

Last week I released my first Vocal Sample Pack on Splice that I’m really proud of. Currently, I’m in the middle of writing for my album, while also producing a record for Gabriel Conte!

Keep up with Denny on Instagram! 

Check out his work on Spotify!

 

 

Buy his Vocal Sample Pack from Splice Here!