I don't understand why I can't have bass

Why is it that when I add heavy bass or kick drums in my music that they ALWAYS sound like SHIT in a car or bigger system??? I can match EQ curves of hit songs, EQ and compress so the music sounds balanced in my studio and/or through calibrated headphones. I listen to my song next to other similar songs as reference tracks. Everything sounds GREAT… until I play it back in the car or a bigger system and suddenly the bass spectrum is booming like an earthquake and all but drowning out the rest of the sounds??? I don’t get it. What the hell am I doing wrong. How can I HEAR the true bass that will happen when the song is played in a car or a club??? I’m so sick of this problem. Thanks

That’s Audio 101. You probably have to re-EQ your studio gear.

Probably need to professionally treat my studio

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I’m guessing you have some smaller monitors to mix with that don’t have good bass response and you’re over compensating. You could get new monitors with a larger woofer if you can afford it, or the cheaper solution is to calibrate your ears so you don’t over compensate. You could try recording some bass tones at close intervals (30 to 120 Hz every 5 Hz) listen to them closely and repeatedly in your studio, then do the same in your car or home stereo and make careful mental note of how each frequency compares between the two environments. Maybe even take written notes for each test frequency if that helps. That way you know your monitors run say 6 dB less at 55 Hz than your car or stereo you know to keep your mix down 6 dB at that frequency. If you want to get more professional about it get a sound level meter or app for your phone and get actual numbers for the frequency range and generate an actual calibrated curve for your bass range.

Another solution is to get Sonarworks Sound ID Reference, although it tends to work better in the other direction, i.e., attenuating too much bass in your home environment due to proximity of your monitors to a wall or corner. It also has a very handy feature of simulating different listening environments and will try to give you an idea of how boomy your bass would be on a larger system relative to your studio environment.

Thank you for these great ideas. I will definitely experiment with your suggestions. There is a LF trim button on the back of my monitors (5” jbl lrs 305 monitors - as you suspected) that allows me to add 2 dB to low frequency. I’m going to try that and see how it translates to the car. Interestingly enough, the monitors are against the wall but there’s definitely not an overload bass problem in this room. Although it’s a pretty big room and I do have bass traps. It’s funny because I always thought these speakers had a great bass response, and they do if you’re just playing bass alone, but if you have a full mix, somehow the bass gets lost. I’m not fully understanding it

Maybe it’s being swamped by other instruments that need a more aggresive low cutting?

There probably is a buildup but it is location specific. Try playing some pink noise at a decent volume and move around your room listening for frequencies that pop out.

You’re right. I can find some buildup on the back walls. How do I solve this problem friend

Move your speakers away from the wall. Bass notes are omni-directional (that’s why sub-woofers work anywhere in a room) so you get the primary note from your speaker plus a reflection from the wall. The closer to the wall your speaker is the stronger the reflection. Google “speaker-boundary interference response” if you’d like to read in more detail.

The bass traps are really there to keep the corners of your room from acting like a megaphone (which is a good thing). But you don’t mention any other room treatment. I’d recommend at least putting some acoustic absorption panels up. There is a trick for where to place them using a mirror. Sitting in the sweet spot for your speakers have a friend hold a mirror against the wall at speaker height. Now keep your eye on the mirror as your friend moves the mirror against the wall all the way around the room. Whenever they hit a spot where you can see a Speaker in the mirror mark that spot (post-it notes are great for this). The marked spots are where you should put the panels.

If you want to go deeper Auralex has a great service where they will do a free room analysis - upload a room drawing and answer some questions and a few days later get the analysis. Then you can decide how you want to proceed. Below is the analysis for a space I was planning on moving into a few months ago (but apparently my work ethic is also having a supply chain problem). This is for 2 rooms but I only intend to do the large one - at least for now. And of course you can prioritize which elements to install over time to spread it out if needed.

Get Your Free Room Analysis | Auralex Acoustics

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Ahhh! A familiar story. Do you use a high pass filter on the bass and bass drum? If not you really need to experiment with this. You should experiment with the slope - 12% or 24%. The range 30 to 45hz.
I like to get the bass drum to come through the mix with a combination of higher frequency click and a more focussed bottom end. I learned about this by experimenting and going out to the car and experimenting more if it was not right. Actually the bass drum does not need a huge amount of bottom end to cut through s mix. The problem with a lot of bottom end is that it adds a lot of often unheard energy to a mix.

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Great insights. Really appreciate it. I have been experimenting with all of your suggestions and do you know what I discovered? I discovered that my bass was being masked by the mid range and low mid range of the other instruments in my mix. This never even occurred to me as a possibility as to why the bass in my songs was so boomy and overwhelming. I figured this out by starting the mix over with just the bass first. I made sure it was peaking right about -15 DB, then I built the rest of the mix around it. As I did, I realized I could not simply just bring the other instruments back up without burying the bass again. That’s when I decided to attenuate the lows and low mids of the other instruments—, and lo and behold when so did that the bass came shining through like the sun on a cloudy day lol. it was then I realize something else call and the reason I had not been able to get the low meds of my vocal to be present in the mix because they were also being drowned out by those other instruments. So I notched those other instruments right about 500 and lo and behold I could hear the lower mids of my voice without cranking the compressor to kingdom come like I had been doing. I thank you again for all your insights. They played a key role in his discoveries and I know my mixes are going to be 100 times better now… I will keep posting rants and raves because I want to keep picking your brains. Hopefully these threads will be helpful to others as well. Thanks again guys and gals

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Great! I use the high pass filter on guitars, keys and vocals. On vocals I use a 6% slope to 250kz or so. Guitars I vary a bit at 6% to kz that sounds right. You just got to find what works for the mix. You are right that it is all about creating the space to hear stuff. Pay attention to the display on the Cubase eq.

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If you lack good Monitors (and money) during mixdown you can use a Waves plugin CLA Nx ( actual 29$). It simulates a "perfect studio and is offering the character of different earphones available on the market. This lets you hear even the bass in perfect ballance. But don’'t forget to switch it off again before finally exporting your song.

Or use it on a Control Room Insert where it won’t be in the export signal path.

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I love the Control Room for this feature. I keep Sonarworks, Nugen Mastercheck, Klanghelm VU meters, and Waves NX there and you don’t have to worry about them getting in the way.

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