Bass overload in my band

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sub guy
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Bass overload in my band

Post by sub guy » Sun Oct 23, 2016 2:02 pm

I would like to hear anyone's take on something that happened in my band with too much bass.

I have a Minimoog and two mother 32's. I usually play bass on the Minimoog and use the Mothers for drones. Our music is pretty bass heavy but in a really good pleasing dark way as a result of my playing style which uses a lot of sustained bass notes.

Recently one of my drummers amplified his rig. He uses world drums -- not a drum kit. Apparently a lot of his drums are bass heavy but we did not know that until he amplified and Fridays practice session was just horrible with all the bass sound waves crashing against each other. It was WAY to much and just didn't work.

This is my band which I formed 4 years ago and I am not willing to stop playing in the style that I am playing so the change has to come from the drummer but what is the solution? Can he use the same drums and just EQ them heavily? Or does he have to get different drums that occupy other sonic space?

Also in case it matters-- the goal of our band is to play live music on a weekly basis at my non profit. Right now we just practice twice a week in my downstairs. Recording and selling tracks are all an afterthought. We mostly just want to sound really good live. We dont EQ my bass stuff, or anyone's stuff at this point. I dont want to lose any of the intricacies of the sound of my synths....

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Chimponaut
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by Chimponaut » Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:18 pm

Arranging music for a tight bass section can be very challenging. (In the studio or live) Maybe play "around" each other so when one of you is doing the big bass the other can do something involving HF or Mids. Think of it as a side chain application for a compressor. When you side chain a compressor in the studio, the compressor acts like a volume ride. Example: When the kick drum hits, it lowers the volume of the bass instrument a little. Makes a hole for the kick drum to sit in politely. Or not so politely. To sum up...Work on your arrangements.
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Stevie Ray
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by Stevie Ray » Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:25 pm

You can't all be playing bass at the same time otherwise it's going to sound like a hot mess.

There needs to be room in the audio spectrum for individual instruments and parts (vocals, leads, rhythm, percussion etc.) otherwise they will clash and everything will turn to mud pretty quickly.

I have no idea what kind of music your band creates, but I suggest you shouldn't overlap bass parts, and give the music space to breath.

EricK
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by EricK » Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:09 pm

You should be willing to tone it down a bit yourself also, even if it's your project. The Model D can easily dominate almost anything else, so have some empathy for the guys who have to compete with that beast. Some acoustic treatment is likely going to be necessary where you both end up playing also.
You'll get it figured out.

What is your volume like? If folks are meditating, it doesn't need to be too loud to where the drummer has to amplify his drums, does it?
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sub guy
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by sub guy » Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:13 pm

EricK wrote:You should be willing to tone it down a bit yourself also, even if it's your project. The Model D can easily dominate almost anything else, so have some empathy for the guys who have to compete with that beast. Some acoustic treatment is likely going to be necessary where you both end up playing also.
You'll get it figured out.

What is your volume like? If folks are meditating, it doesn't need to be too loud to where the drummer has to amplify his drums, does it?

Erick--

Right now we are in the improvisational phase of our practicing. What that means is that we are exclusively focusing on the meditative aspect of our music. I'm on bass and drones, we have a violinist, a pianist, two drummers and a guitarist who is taking a break just now to see if it is truly a fit. The eventual plan is to take folk songs. most of which i have written. but also pulling from the worlds folk traditions and play them just as songs but then at some point within that song we will take a 45 min or so detour within that basic melody to really trip out meditatively and then maybe return to that song after that exploration.

During the parts where we play more like a normal band I can see LOTS of room to get out of the way and let the drummer play more down in the bass octaves because I would not be using sustained notes or drones in that context. Then it could be treated like a normal band and we could even EQ my bass and i could play around and stay out of the way of some bass drum.

Im having a harder time seeing how to do that during our extended improvisational meditative segments which compromise the bulk of what we do. This is because we have just found naturally that the extended bass notes OR drones (two oscillators) are profoundly conducive to meditative states and provide a kind of black expansive backdrop for the rest of the band to play in. This may be hard to relate to but the kind of meditation we all practice goes really deep and down and bass seems to be the pitch that most naturally resonates with it. Im not saying that my bass has to always be loud or in front in fact it is OFTEN not but it is always present during those segments... Im open to suggestions here but dont want to EQ the bass in these parts and lose what I think is a sort of magical property contained in synths.

To your question about his needing to amplify. First of all we are guessing that we will eventually be playing weekly for 50 people or so. It could get bigger but will certainly be that big. His reasoning for amplification is so that he can play the drums he plays with much more expression capacity. He chooses just wonderfully beautiful drums and they produce really beautiful but subtle tones and sounds that can only be really appreciated with amplification.

torinkrell
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by torinkrell » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:28 pm

Most (although not all) audio engineers will agree that the bass is the hardest part of a mix to get right for several reasons - including these:
1) Its subject to the greatest variability on the large variety of playback gear a track will be played on.
2) It is often best reproduced in the middle of the sound stage so both speakers can equally share in the strain of reproducing the difficult deep bass.
3) Therefore the middle of the soundstage usually has to reproduce the kick, bass, lead vocals, lead instrument and more which often all end up competing to be clearly heard.
4) The bass range of a sound system is also usually reproduced with significantly higher distortion and dynamic compression than the rest of the sound spectrum which further reduces the ability for all the instruments in low end to come through clearly.

A good mix of a track finds a place for each musical instrument so it can be heard well enough to do its part without obscuring other important instrumentation.
The kick and bass in particular are often in contention. Usually one will be equalized and / or pitched higher or lower than the other so both can come through.
This is a significantly simplified explanation but hopefully it will somehow be helpful!
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sub guy
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by sub guy » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:30 am

^^^^

Thank you. Luckily I have just a bunch of great band members. After thinking about this for a while the drummers decided that the Moog bass is just to important for the sound of the band to EQ it in any way so we have decided to just keep the drums outside of the bass range. Luckily the whole band is very original and neither drummer uses a drum kit so there is no kick drum. They both use world drums, tabla drums, symbols, wood blocks etc. One of them was using a small but really deep hand held drum that was designed for bass. We are just going to cut out the ones that are in the bass range.

BranoFabry
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by BranoFabry » Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:03 am

I think EQ would work really well and is the most common way the sound engineer will shape the sound. If you want to keep your basses, you need to eq out the bass frequencies from the drum's amplifier. Regarding how much - you need to use your ears. Play the bass note and have a drummer playing his most bassy drum and just turn the eq knob until the sound is cleared. You will still have a snap from the drums in high frequencies, so if you will have trouble hearing the drums after that, boost highs.

Stevie Ray
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by Stevie Ray » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:44 pm

Is any of your music available online, Sub Guy, so we might have a rough idea of the problem you are trying to address?

You can't just EQ out sounds you don't like and expect to get an accurate representation of the original performance.

@BanoFabry - Recording engineers use EQ (moderately) to fine tune the sound, not to 'shape the sound'. 'Shaping' the sound is the responsibility of the performers and ultimately the producer.

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stiiiiiiive
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by stiiiiiiive » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:48 pm

It reminds me of some thoughts of my friend / drummer / sound engineer. He told me:
J.K. wrote:EQing at mix stage could be avoided if you used the right instruments, amps, microphones etc.
I agree on the theory :)
Last edited by stiiiiiiive on Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

sub guy
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by sub guy » Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:09 am

Thanks for the replies. Since my last post stated that the problem is solved I just didn't check the thread after that. I appreciate the responses but we did solve it in the way I stated above with no hard feelings of any kind. The Moog bass is the foundation of our sound and no one wanted to limit it.

I do have samples of our music but am almost certain no one will like it. :lol: We are not very good yet and our vision for what music is is really unconventional.... If someone wants to hear it I can post a link from our Dropbox account.

Stevie Ray
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by Stevie Ray » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:32 pm

sub guy wrote:Thanks for the replies. Since my last post stated that the problem is solved I just didn't check the thread after that. I appreciate the responses but we did solve it in the way I stated above with no hard feelings of any kind. The Moog bass is the foundation of our sound and no one wanted to limit it.

I do have samples of our music but am almost certain no one will like it. :lol: We are not very good yet and our vision for what music is is really unconventional.... If someone wants to hear it I can post a link from our Dropbox account.
How do you know "no one will like it" if you don't put it up? I'm not motivated to go to dropbox for it. Just put a little something on SoundCloud or something. I'm intrigued by your dark, bass-heavy sound thang.


Stevie Ray
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by Stevie Ray » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:44 pm

Seriously Sub Guy, don't be shy.

I've viewed and responded often to your posts about the Minimoog D (classic vs reissue) versus the Sub-37, versus the M32 etc. and you always emphasise your need for dark (or preferably darker), bass-driven elements in your music, which you think the Minimoog D best provides.

That's very interesting to me. It could be that you (and your band) are creating something new. You may not be very good right now, but it sounds like you may have an original approach and originality is a very scarce commodity in today's music scene.

Put something up. If everybody hates it then it's not the end of the world. You will no doubt get some positive feedback that could help your band's direction in the future.

All great bands were trashed by the critics when they started out!

sub guy
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Re: Bass overload in my band

Post by sub guy » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:21 am

Thanks for the support from everyone. I dont have access to the music files we have on hard drive so I cannot put it on soundcloud. Here is a link though that should give you direct access.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/x38ndgbl8rjom ... P.mp3?dl=0


It takes a minute to get going. Our approach is totally improvisational so.......

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