Augmented reality – Mixing Workshop

Why the bass should also be an integral component of the mixing process when mixing down distorted guitars.

When mixing distorted electric guitars, it is important to include the bass signal in the process. This way, you can supplement both signals without reducing the intensity.

Splitting the Bass

Let's listen to the bass track:

Step 1: First, we split the bass signal by adding a new track

and duplicating the bass object on the new track (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + drag the bass object into the new track).

Bass 1

Step 2: The first bass track should now be responsible for the low bass frequencies. In this case, we create a deep powerful bass boost in combination with the drums at 50 Hz using EQ116.

Bass 2

Note: Sidechain ducking can be used to adjust the volumes of the kick drum and the bass dynamically to each other, since these compete for the same frequencies. You can use the compressor with side chain functionality to quiet the bass in the mix whenever the kick drum comes in.

Step 3: We create distortion for the duplicated bass track using a guitar simulation. To do this, we load Samplitude's own guitar amplifier, VANDAL, into the plug-in slot and set the preset to "Recto 4×12 V30".

Bass 3

Step 4: Now we mix both bass tracks together so that low frequencies and distortion are able to harmonize well.

Bass 4

The distorted bass section gives the guitars a more dominant and deeper sound later in the mix.

Editing guitar Frequencies

After we have created the foundation for the powerful guitar sound by editing the bass, we now edit the guitars themselves.

Step 1: Add a sub group

and route your guitar tracks to this subgroup.

Step 2: First, we want to be relatively generous in the bass range and edit the high-end range. Let's now listen to the guitar group:

Guit Group 1

Here, you can remove a lot without making the guitar sounds seem too thin. Lower the bass frequencies between 100 Hz and 250 Hz. You can find several rumble frequencies that crop the EQ with a narrow frequency band.

Guit Group 2

After 6 – 8 kHz, we cut the unwanted fizzle sounds using a low-pass filter. Or lower them by 2-3 dB using shelving characteristics.

Guit Group 3

To sum up, you can say that to give the guitar sounds more transparency, you refine the sounds by removing disturbing frequencies. The distorted bass compensates the frequencies in the sound image that you took away from the guitars.

Multiband Compressor in Place of EQ

When you crop the guitar frequencies with the above method, however, there is the risk that too many corrections made in a tight sequence in the frequency spectrum will make your sound too thin, despite compensating the bass. An alternative method for cleaning the frequency without taking too much energy away from the guitars involves compressing the disruptive frequency ranges in the multiband compressor.

Step 1: First, we integrate the multi-band compressor as an insert effect in the guitar group track.

Guit Group No Mb Comp

Note: Since we want to edit the individual frequency bands, we switch off the "couple bands" function in the "setup".

Step 2: For band 1, we set the separating frequency to 250 Hz, because first we want to compress the frequency range under 250 Hz. To do this, we drag the first dotted line in the graphic display to the left until the value 0.25 is reached for the cut-off frequency 1.

We also set the ratio energetically to approximately 8:1 and set the attack with 10 ms and release with 22.9 ms, relatively low values.

Step 3: The further you turn down the threshold controller, the more compression you will produce in the guitar frequencies.

Guit Group Mb Comp

Optimize the threshold so that the guitars have a clear and dominant sound without any disruptive bass sounds.

This way, you give the mix more transparency and it sounds cleaner.

Step 4: Even in the frequency range between 250 Hz and 500 Hz, the multiband compressor is an effective alternative for EQ editing. To compress elements in this area, we first set the cut-off frequency for band 2 – this time at 500 Hz.

5th step: Even in this range, we can let the compressor do the heavy lifting with a ratio of 5.30:1. Let's set the attack time to 10.0 ms again and the release time to 20.9 ms.

Step 6: Finally, we set the threshold lower again until a reduction of 5-10 dB is achieved.

Guit Group Mb Comp 2

Listen to the mix before and after. You will hear how efficiently the multiband compressor removes droning and rumbles, especially in the low frequency ranges and therefore brings more clarity and definition into the song.

Mix No Mb Comp

Mix Mb Comp

We hope you have fun integrating distorted guitars into the mix!

The Samplitude Team