3 Techniques to get your sub bass in control

3 Techniques to get your sub bass in control
Audiotent Tip 405. 3 Techniques to get your sub bass in control.
Sub frequencies play a big part in all genres of electronic dance music.
Making sure those fat throbbing sub-basses are under control is not always an easy task. Here are 3 techniques that will help to keep your subs in check:
1) Parallel compression.
If your sub bass is playing in staccato rhythm (each note detached and separated from the others), you will most likely want to emphasise it’s punch. Compression, set with a slow attack and fast release, can push the transient through, whilst ducking the tail of the sound. This greatly emphasises the punch (knock) of the sub bass.
However, it may also make your lowest frequencies appear quieter as a result. To get the best of both sonic characteristics, try blending the original and compressed (punchy) sound together. The result will have a deeper sub from the original, whilst introducing the extra punch it needs to kick in the mix.
Some compressors will have a separate mix knob, which blends the dry and wet signal together. Alternatively, just use the send fx in your DAW and pick any compressor you like.
Audiotent Parallel Compression
Audiotent Parallel Compression
2) Filtering.
If your sub bass is purely a sine wave then there is little to be achieved by adding an additional filter. However, if you use richer wave shapes such as square or saw etc, filtering any unnecessary harmonics can make a big impact on the way your sub feels in the mix.
Lowpass your sub bass around 60-100 Hz to get rid of any harmonics that are clouding up your midrange. This will clear up some space for your main bass and the punch part of the kick-drum too. If needed, use a high pass filter around 20-30 Hz, to cut any unwanted rumble that is taking valuable headroom space.
Audiotent Filtering
3) Limiting.
A lot of times, the individual notes of the sub can vary in pitch. This can be due to multiple reasons.
Maybe there was some processing (such as saturation or eq etc.) applied to the sound? Or a simple resonance boost in the synthesiser, that exaggerates a specific note more than the others.
We want to make sure that all the sub bass notes are tightly controlled and even in their amplitude. The best tool for the task a limiter. It will catch the loudest notes and then limit them down to the range of the others.
Make sure you look out for any additional distortion that limiter may introduce and adjust the threshold and other parameters accordingly for optimum results. It’s best to use slower release times to avoid any unnecessary clicks, pops or other distortion.
Audiotent Limiting
(NOTE: Need super solid phat sub bass now? Hear Audiotent's Tech-House Sub Tools by clicking here.)

Reading next

3 Ways to pitch bend your synth basslines
3 Effective ways to use sub loops in your music

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.