This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

How the hell do I convince...

Discussion in 'Andy Sneap' started by Fox Mulder, May 6, 2009.

  1. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder The Truth Is Out There

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    2,207
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
    ...Bassists that there is a difference between Metal and Hip Hop?:err:

    I usually have bassists telling me that they can't hear shit, even after a particular track is inappropriately boomy. I know, bass is supposed to be the Spine of ANY song. The bass is an external entity in metal. It is supposed to be an extension of the drums pretty much. But I come across certain bassists who demand that they be heard in an 'independent' manner. I know it's normal musician tendency to 'stand out'. Any goddamn musician would want to. But I feel most 'metal' bassists fail to realize their role in a 'metal' band. They expect their stuff to be heard like we hear the rhythm guitars.

    Now, I'm pretty unfamiliar to working with the "Chugga" tone, but I feel it's easier for the bass to be more noticeable in that situation, if I'm not wrong. But with stuff like Primal Fear that's not really the case. You can hear the bass glueing everything up and making the mix punchy, but you don't hear the notes like you do with the rhythm guitars. In fact, the better the mix, the better the bass blends in. The better the bass blends in, the less noticeable it gets. We can't hear it, but we can 'feel' it. You get what I mean.

    On the other hand, I know a few kick-ass bassists who never complain about the bass being too low and blah blah.

    So how do you guys deal with these people?
     
  2. ffaudio

    ffaudio Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I always have the bass as an extension of the guitars low end. Just enough pick attack to cut through on parts where they get fancy, just enough low end to make the guitars super heavy when they hit that drop d.

    Otherwise, whenever someone asks for it pop in a cd and have them listen to it. Especially if it's one they say they like the mix of. Point out to them where the bass sits in the mix.
     
  3. 462studio

    462studio 462 Studio

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Maine
    Give them a mix without the bass and one with it and send them away. I think sometimes bassists just don't realize how much of a part they are playing in a mix because they can't hear it in a very obvious way, but if you listen to a mix with it, and then again with it taken away it becomes very apparent.
     
  4. smy1

    smy1 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,755
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    It's always important to see the musician's side, too:

    1) when he practices alone, he hears ... BASS
    2) when he practices with the band, he hears ... BASS
    3) when he plays live, he hears ... BASS
    4) when he tracks in the studio, he hears ... you guessed it ... BASS

    Now when you play the mix, he will have trouble hearing the bass, because you mixed it in a way that it blends in. He is not used to that perception, so Sysera's advice about the mix with/mix without-CD is good. Maybe just mute it during playback in the control room. Also comparing it to a relevant reference CD (as ffaudio said) is a good thing, to show him that on the new XYZ-referenceband CD it's mixed like that, too.

    It's easy to look at it from an engineer/producer point of view because we may (or may not) have more experience with MIXING a song. Just look at it from the aforementioned musician point of view and you will see why most musicians act like they do.
     
  5. Notuern

    Notuern Bloody vaginal belch

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3,625
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    My personal opinion about most modern metal recordings and their bass-sound: It sucks.
    Seriously, a bass can be loud and heard without being boomy.

    What most people seem to have forgotten about a bass guitar is that it has mids and treble to!

    Now im not saying that you are wrong, or that your mix is bad(I haven't even heard it so..), but i can definitely understand that he wants to be heard more(That does not necessarily mean more low end in the mix.).

    Btw, my opinion is that bass is just as important as guitar, every song Ive EVER heard that stuck to my head has had a unique bass line(No matter if its a song by Michael Jackson or Pantera.).
     
  6. PhilR

    PhilR Studio Scapegoat

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    993
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    I don't have any problem with mixing my own bass parts down, but then as I'm the one doing the mix I can take one for the team.

    I know this problem all too well though. The number of bassists that show up to record with some piece of shit bass that has never been set up properly and strings that haven't been changed EVER. Announce that they like a "bassy, dubby sound" only to have me inform them that "It doesn't sound dubby, it sounds dead, lifeless, flabby and generally shit! And besides which, this is metal, not reggae!". On more than a few occaisions we've ended up running a parallel track through some kind of distortion just to try an get some kind of high harmonics back into the bass sound.
     
  7. PhilR

    PhilR Studio Scapegoat

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    993
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    Two of my fave mixes for bass sound are Tools 'Undertow' and 'Elementary' by The End. I so wanted to get that kind of sound for my own bass parts but, alas, circumstances conspired against me.
     
  8. John_C

    John_C formerly Skeksis268

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    3,457
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    i have to say i am a fan of mixes where the bass can really be hear as a seperate instrument, just so long as the bass lines are really good.

    However, getting them to somehow blend and be heard seperately is a talent way beyond me
     
  9. -Noodles-

    -Noodles- 3 Initals Mixer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Don't be silly ;)
     
  10. mr.L.

    mr.L. Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Netherlands
    This is some really good advise :worship:

    I have to agree with Notuern however that the problem is also partly due to the fact that a lot of modern metal mixes are really boring bass wise. Sometimes its good to just eq a bass to fill in the gaps of the rythm guitar, but I often feel that something is lost in this way making mixes sound more flat and making compositions less multi-dimensional. I really like mixes where the bass has some character of it's own (which does not necessarily mean that its always very audible). It also helps of course if the bass player does some interesting stuff that fits well with the music :rolleyes:

    On the other hand in general many (metal) musicians are way to obsessed about being able to hear every f*cking note they play instead of giving attention to the total emotion/atmosphere a song or mix evokes often sacrificing the latter in favour of the former (ultimate example those nasty clickety bass drum sounds with hardly any low end on some technical death metal albums). This might however be my crooked taste from growing up listening to black metal (a large part of which unfortunately also sounds horrible but in a different way) and 60s and 70s recordings :lol:
     
  11. beyond dead

    beyond dead heavy metal dad \m/

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    2,167
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    peterborough, ontario, canada
    this is a big problem for us non pros. alot of musicians dont understand you cant sound have in your face guitars, clear bass and drums like bonham. It just doesnt work. we are engineers, not magicians lol. If they are going anywhere as a band, they will understand you know more than them and take your word. if not they dont, then they are destined to fail anyways. if they said that to andy, he would kick them in the nuts lol

    sure compromises can be made, but at the end of the day, they are recording with you because you know more than them.

    it comes down to positioning. tell them that you can make the bass louder, at the expense of thinning out the guitars. let them sort it out between the themselves. give them examples so they understand the concept.

    I have been telling bands before I record them, that i am the engineer, and ultimately call the shots. If they dont agree, tell them your not interested. I have given the band their raw tracks and told them to take a hike before. months later you hear the shitty mix they did themselves, and they will think its the best ever. or they will come crawling back, with their tail between their legs, giving you complete control.

    dont lose sleep over it, just move on. Let someone else wrestle with them!
     
  12. 462studio

    462studio 462 Studio

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Maine
    Agreed, but a lot of that has to do with current trend more than anything.

    A lot of metal bassists these days are doing nothing but doubling the guitar parts exactly and as tightly as possible, which is cool. In that scenario I would try to blend the bass to the point where you can feel it and you'd notice if it were taken away, but I would necessarily make the mids and high end obvious amongst the rest of the instruments.

    On the other hand, if the bassist is doing something entirely different, harmonizing with the guitars, etc, I'd definitely try to mix that so it was a little bit more obvious.

    It really comes down to what style of music, the tempo, and what you have room for in the mix.

    I've noticed the latest Unearth album has some very very obvious bass lines on it in the mix which I think it fantastic, especially for a band that tends to play music that is on the faster side tempo wise. Good trend to try and set.
     
  13. beyond dead

    beyond dead heavy metal dad \m/

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    2,167
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    peterborough, ontario, canada
    yeah, usually not hearing bass is due to poor arrangement, not poor mixing!
     
  14. spioraid

    spioraid Fancy a pint? Or two?

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Centreville, VA
    Wait wait wait...metal bass?
     
  15. cobhc

    cobhc Amiga Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    5,420
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Nottingham, England.
    This is why I love Jacks playing and Andys mix on Tempo Of The Damned, the bass provides low end, but can also be heard pretty well in a lot of places.
     
  16. The spark

    The spark Klaatu.. Barada.. Nikto..

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Well said.
     
  17. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder The Truth Is Out There

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    2,207
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
    I had a bassist tell me, "You can hear the bass stand out in Quo Vadis' Defiant Imagination album!":Smug:
    I failed to make him understand the fact that the guitars were raped to death by the bass in that album.

    Oh well, I'll have to live with it. Moreover, it's not the same with every bassist. Some of them are really understanding.

    I guess I'll start giving them 2 versions of the mixes.

    1. With bass.
    2. Without bass + the guitars hi-passed at 150hz

    :Smokedev:

    Edit: Typo
     
  18. The-Zeronaut

    The-Zeronaut Mixing..Y U SO DIFFICULT?

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,795
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Dude...thats the best idea i´ve heard in a long time!
    thanks!!
    this is gonna help a lot in the future ^.^
     
  19. ParsonsMatt

    ParsonsMatt Alas, Tyranny

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Messages:
    2,124
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Athens, GA
    A good bass tone is audible, in that you can hear what its doing, as well as providing the low end for the mix. If it isn't doing one or the other, it isn't a good bass tone.
     
  20. Notuern

    Notuern Bloody vaginal belch

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3,625
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    +1000
     

Share This Page