Mixing bass using filters can bring life to the low end in your mix!
Mixing bass using filters can add a lot of character to your mix. While filters might seem like simple, everyday tools for the mix engineer, they are actually quite complex. Understanding their subtleties can help you use them to your advantage. The first thing to keep in mind when mixing bass using filters is the math of what is going on behind a filter. Lets use the example of a high pass filter set at 100Hz. Remember that in music, octaves are found by either doubling or halving a frequency. Up one octave from 100Hz is 200Hz; down an octave would be 50Hz. If your filter is set to -18 db/octave, the decibel level will go down 18 at 50Hz, down 36 at 25 Hz, and so on. When talking about analog filters, there are also other concepts to keep in mind. Resistors and capacitors, the tiny gizmos that move electricity inside analog gear, are not perfect. The way they charge and discharge can create ripples in the filter, small waves that will become visually perceptible when looked at close enough. They can also create an overshoot, or a little boost at the point the filter is set. These characteristics are what give analog filters unique sounds. Many engineers including myself enjoying working with analogue gear for this very reason. Digital filters typically do not have any overshoot at the cutoff point. This is to give the mix engineer better control. If we want our filters to have that sought after analog sound, we should add a peak at the cutoff point. A great plug-in for this is the F202 that is part of the McDSP Filterbank v6 bundle. This is a technique Dave Pensado uses to help his digital filters achieve more character. Increase the Q or peak value and adjust slowly until you have achieved the desired effect on your track. A high pass filter set at around 40Hz with a substantial peak will add a richness to your bass that might not have been their before. A low pass filter around 2k Hz with another peak will add precision that will help the bass cut through the mix. Mixing bass using filters can help you achieve a unique, high quality bass track.
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