12/22/2010 8:52 AM
Universal Audio’s CS-1 channel strip plug-in is adding a midrange boost for definition, a lower boost for fullness, and about 6dB of
The band is pretty happy with my mixes, except
for bass. We do hard rock, and the bass sounds
kind of buried—it just doesn’t have the presence
and fullness that basses have on commercial
recordings. I take the bass both direct and miked
but that doesn’t seem to help. Any suggestions?
EQ: First, if your bassist is playing with fingers, try a
pick (preferably a heavy one) for a more percussive
attack that helps the bass stand out.
Next, you mentioned using amp and direct signals.
The mic signal will be delayed about 1ms for every foot
between the mic and speaker, so combining the two
could cause cancellations. In your DAW, nudge the mic
signal forward in time to line up with the direct sound.
This can make a huge difference.
EQ is crucial. The E string goes down to 41Hz,
where consumer-level speakers have iffy response. It
may seem counter-intuitive, but try boosting the mids
around 1.5–2kHz; emphasizing pick sounds and transients
makes the bass notes more defined, so it’s easier
for your ears to lock in to the lower bass frequencies. A
little low-end EQ boost can help too, but be conservative—
only a dB or two. Simply boosting the low end is
seldom the answer to fixing mix issues with bass.
Finally, although we usually recommend against
lots of compression, bass is an exception. Dead
spots on the neck, amp frequency response anomalies,
and room acoustics issues when miking amps
can cause some notes to be softer than others. Try
adding about 4–10dB of gain reduction with a 4:1
ratio to smooth out the overall response. Multiband
compression is also excellent for bass, as you can
compress the low end but leave the percussive pick
Ask EQ a technical audio-related question, and EQ will
answer it. Send it to EQeditor@musicplayer.com.