bass bleeing into piano mikes problem

I have a live multitrack jazz recording where the bass bleeds into the piano mikes, making the bottom sound muddy. I tried experimenting with phase shifting the basstracks which helps a little but not enough. I don’t want to eq out too much bottom on the pianotracks.
Any good advice ? - maybe sidechaining, compressing, a plugin or something ?

I haven’t actually mixed music in a while now, so just take this as suggestions and thoughts;

First of all, if you have phase correctly then there shouldn’t be “muddiness”, just more bass. That’s because if it’s in phase you’re just adding level. If you then feel like you have too much bass, not just “muddy” bass, then I would simply cut whatever is most appropriate which might mean automating the EQ. By automating the EQ that is doing the cutting you can basically let both instruments have full range until you get too much, and then you can choose which instrument to lower the lower frequencies on… which leads to;

secondly seriously (re-?)considering the choices made by the musicians. Since it’s jazz there’s the chance that the musicians went for something that you wouldn’t have chosen yourself, and that can include both emphasizing bass by doubling those notes in the piano, in which case you’ll have to make sure you’re not lowering the level of either too much (or at all) - or - there’s a chance that they wanted the low end notes to “rub” and that’s why it’s “muddy”. Since that too is an artistic choice you have to be careful with what you do.

Lastly though, there’s the chance that they, or one of them (piano or bass player) aren’t that good yet, and violated the lower interval limit as it’s called. The lower interval limit is essentially when you have an interval that’s fine by itself, except it’s in such a low register that you get mud. A third sounds great in a higher octave, but play it low enough and it starts sounding bad. If the piano player was just comping then he really has no business playing those low notes if they interfere with what the bass player is doing. Now, if this is the case then I’d cut (or lower) the piano’s low end whenever this is a problem. I’ve mixed music for advertising with a composer that did this from time to time, and I just cut out lows on the instruments that weren’t bass without asking him. No problem. Sounded cleaner.

But this is jazz… so…

And ‘no’, I don’t have other suggestions I think.

You can try to use accusonus Drumatom, which is designed to clean microphone leakage for drums.
Normally it’s designed for something else than drums, but you can give it a try.

Something else you can test is Izotope RX7 :

Use the DeEsser on the piano track and sidechain it to the bass track

Thank you all for helping me out :slight_smile:
peakae - your suggestion works - I would never have thought of using DeEsser this way myself !
It takes out most of the bleeding at the expense of a little less richness of the piano sound - but the overall sound is better.
Compromises, compromises… :unamused: