Computer Music - - Studio Strategies -


To en­sure your com­pos­ite bass sound works in the con­text of your en­tire track, you should con­stantly mon­i­tor the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween your midrange bass lay­ers and drums, as this re­la­tion­ship de­fines your over­all groove. Solo each track with your bass to see where things lie, mak­ing sure that low fre­quen­cies and other rhythms don’t block the groove’s ‘con­ver­sa­tion’, or clash with your sub el­e­ments in the mix.

Speak­ing of fre­quency con­flicts, ap­ply EQ or fil­ters with one eye on a spectrum anal­yser, so you can in­spect your low-end in­ter­ac­tions. When pro­duc­ing bass-heavy gen­res such as drum ’n’ bass, I like to keep the kick, breaks and per­cus­sive el­e­ments away from the sub bass range at all times, by re­mov­ing any­thing un­ecce­sary be­low 100Hz. This en­sures a smooth, clut­ter-free mix.


Switch­ing up synth tones and mod­u­la­tion amounts on the sep­a­rate lay­ers can shape things in a va­ri­ety of ways. You can do this by di­alling in dif­fer­ent rates of mod­u­la­tion for each layer, en­sur­ing dif­fer­ent notes have dif­fer­ent rates of mod­u­la­tion, and al­ter­ing vol­ume from one note to another. All this can be done by au­tomat­ing in­stru­ment pa­ram­e­ters, or by call­ing up new ef­fects. As an ex­am­ple, try vary­ing your bass after the sec­ond drop by in­tro­duc­ing a new os­cil­la­tor into your sub or mid splits, while mod­u­lat­ing a tremolo ef­fect at a faster or slower rate; at the same time, try sub­tly adding more re­verb and cho­rus to the top splits. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less here, and will give your bass evo­lu­tion and move­ment. Ap­ply this ap­proach through­out the course of a track – mix up tim­bre shifts and au­toma­tion sweeps at key sec­tions for next-level vari­a­tion.

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