Pro Tips for Mixing the Low End
The low-end frequencies tend to give engineers and music producers the most trouble when mixing songs.
It can be challenging to have the low end sound clear, whether you are listening to the track with headphones or in your car. It may sound great in one form, but then fall completely flat in another. Talk about frustrating!
The low end suggestions we are going to discuss today are designed to give you a head start on the process of getting a clear and balanced low-end mix.
If you're looking for clarity and additional presence in your mix, check out our 4 Low End Mixing Tips below!
Table of Contents:
- Roll Off Unnecessary Frequencies
- Kick and Bass Relationship
- Reference in Mono vs. Stereo
- A & B Your Mix with Professional Songs
How Do You Mix the Low End?
Many instruments will have unnecessary sub-frequencies that you can cut in order to brighten up the overall mix of your low end.
It’s a great start to go through all of your instruments that you don't necessarily need existing in the low end and cut them. This way they will not conflict with the bass or kick.
You can do this with a simple high pass filter in any EQ. You may not even be able to hear some of these sub-frequencies, but it is still a good idea to cut them out.
You may even find yourself running into phasing issues if these low frequencies are left alone.
Be sure that all of your sounds still have body to them because cutting too much of the lows will result in a thin sounding mix.
Oddly enough, the mix can actually sound louder when removing these frequencies that are not contributing to your song.
Kick and Bass Relationship
Sidechaining the kick to your bass will cause the bass volume drop every time the kick hits. This will result in the kick punching through clearly with more punch and without getting jumbled up in the bass frequencies.
Shortening the tail of the kick will reduce an unnecessary length of frequencies that can collide with more of the low end in your bass or 808.
A good start is to ‘solo’ the kick and bass together and start mixing just the two. Once you think you’re in a good spot, you can continue to blend them in with the rest of the tracks.
The length of the kick and the bass will be crucial, so if you have long bass notes, have a short kick and vice versa.
Click here if you'd like to learn more about the kick and bass relationship.
Reference in Mono vs. Stereo
Some audio interfaces will let you reference in mono vs. stereo. If you have an interface that does not allow you to do this, Ableton has an audio feature called ‘Mono’ that you can pull into your tracks to hear what it sounds like in a mono field.
You still want to be able to hear the kick and bass clearly when in mono and having your low frequencies in mono from the start will make this process easier; this way you won’t have to do more work than necessary.
Centering these powerful sounds will translate better onto big speaker systems at clubs and event spaces!
Saturation will also add some frequencies in order to make these low sounds more audible
A & B Your Mix with Professional Songs
Want a quick trick? What you can do is pull up Spotify or whatever streaming platform you use and reference a song similar to yours. Identify what sounds different in the professional song's mix and emulate that in your own song.
This can be something as easy as turning up the low end, saturating the low end, or even turning down the bass. Keep an ear out for key factors in the song to identify which frequencies need work.
Maybe their kick is punchier when you reference in mono and you want the same. All of these aspects help to get a better low-end mix when reaching the final product of your song.
Get to Mixing!
As these low end frequencies are sometimes difficult to lockdown, it’s not impossible to accomplish.
These four tips will give you a great head start to mixing your lows. Be sure to reference on different speakers to make sure it sounds good almost everywhere.
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If you want to elevate your recording, mixing, and mastering skills and surpass your DIY Music Producer peers, click the link below to learn more about AIMM today.