Need some advise on subbass

Feb 28, 2012

  1. Candleflame

    Candleflame
    54 posts
    Since May 7, 2011
    Hi,

    I am currently working on a remix for a contest and the original tune is in Dsharp, which means that the corresponding subbass (clean sine) is hitting at around 38hz. Now, my monitors dont actually go that low so I just mixed the subbass in with a spectrum analyser.

    The problem is that I am a bit concerned about the actual "sound" of the sub. I played the mix through one of my low quality logitech satellites + sub (something like this: http://www.sigmapconline.co.nz/images/16473.jpg) and even there I cannot really hear the sub, although that has not got to mean much considering the quality of the system ^^.

    Now... I started to layer the same sub an octave above which now hits at around 77hz (sidechained to the kick), but turned it a bit quieter. That actually makes the subbass quite audiable but I do not know if its very good idea to have 2 subbasses hitting down there and that it might sound quite weird to hear 2 subs on a system which can actually play that 38hz subbass properly.

    What do you think? Shall I just leave the one subbass at 38hz? (If someone here got a decent soundsystem or some monitors which go down that low I can send you a mixdown with and without the higher sub for comparison...Cant put the mix up for public download due to the contest rules...)
  2. futilerecordings Misanthropic Anthropoid

    futilerecordings
    1,996 posts
    Since May 11, 2008
    Well you probably want your mix to translate well to other systems... your best bet would be adding some saturation or subtle distortion to your sub bass (either as an insert or in parallel, try both) which will help add some harmonics that will be audible on smaller speakers. You could also try using a low-passed square, triangle, or other wave instead of (or in addition to) a sine wave.

    However, there are different schools of thought on this, and it really depends on your arrangement. If, for example, you have a Reese bassline with a pure sine sub bass playing the exact same pattern, then you may not want/need to add harmonics to the sub, as you already have a Reese which will come through on small speakers playing the same melody. OTOH, if your sub bass isn't mirroring another element, you probably want to make sure it's heard on smaller speakers.
  3. Sparks 85

    Sparks 85
    892 posts
    Since Aug 11, 2008
  4. j-potz

    j-potz
    1,985 posts
    Since Apr 17, 2002
    why not post a clip?
  5. Candleflame

    Candleflame
    54 posts
    Since May 7, 2011
    kk i bounced you a section just then:
    The first section you hear is the normal one (with the 38hz sub), second one is the same sub but lowpassed at 100hz with some distortion on it, the third one is the one with the 38hz sub + the quieter 77hz sub.

    --------------------

    its all in one audiofile after each other and i put a limiter on so all versions are all equalish volume
  6. Candleflame

    Candleflame
    54 posts
    Since May 7, 2011
  7. dfault

    dfault
    762 posts
    Since Dec 16, 2008
    Use something other than a sine. The only way your sub is going to be audible on a cheap system is if it has harmonics above the fundamental frequency. By definition a sine wave is exactly not that. Personally I often use square or triangle waves for my source waveform. The square requires some filtering obviously but it the harmonics actually make it sound more prominent even when steeply attenuated. You should find somewhere that has enough low end to check your mix. A few too many dB and a sub can dominate your whole tune, a few to little and the tune will fall flat next to other DNB producers. Distorting the sine is an option too and you pretty much end up with the same result if you can hear it.
  8. SmoothGroover Crasher

    SmoothGroover
    19,195 posts
    Since Dec 10, 2003
    You dont hear 38hz, you feel it, hence the name sub...
  9. Candleflame

    Candleflame
    54 posts
    Since May 7, 2011
    i have already distorted the sine and to be honest its not much improvement. its on the 2nd sample i uploaded....

    @smoothgroover that maybe be true at 38hz but subs are quite often situated at 60hz where its a good balance between hear and feel imho. i just want some insurance that im not wasting headroom and have an empty <100hz space
  10. dj0045

    dj0045
    693 posts
    Since Sep 2, 2007
    38hz is really low, like too low. Probably makes more sense to use a higher note that is also in tune. For example a perfect fifth up, or even a seventh. In any case, if your system can't reproduce it, you can't mix it properly, and I have to recommend leaving it out. Having no sub is better than having poorly mixed sub.
  11. mehta

    mehta
    2,986 posts
    Since Sep 20, 2007
    38 hz is not at all too low. Any proper system will be able to reproduce it.

    <30hz is where you will start running into some major translation problems but most good club setups get down to 25hz - that is where you can start shaking foundations and the sound is basically felt and not heard.
  12. dj0045

    dj0045
    693 posts
    Since Sep 2, 2007
    So you'd recommend that he mix frequencies his home monitoring system can't reproduce?

    And btw 38hz is dangerously low for club systems - I don't know where you got your data but it's complete BS. A ton of club quality subwoofers operate from 40hz and up. Don't get me wrong, if the club has 21 inch subs, maybe, but I'm guessing most places don't. In any case, the most important thing is his monitors can't go that low, so the rest is kind of moot. If people want to produce for only the best listening environments in the world, they can do whatever they want, lol.
  13. dj0045

    dj0045
    693 posts
    Since Sep 2, 2007
    Actually, let me back off from my earlier statement, because I don't want to imply something I didn't mean. I personally wouldn't hesitate to allow a tone in the 38hz range into one of my tunes and I don't want to suggest otherwise. (hell I'm working on a tune that sweeps down into that range right now). Just because SOME systems won't reproduce it, does not mean it should always be left out.

    The main and only point I wanted to get across to the OP is that he shouldn't work outside of the range of his own monitoring system. And the only reason I'm saying so, is because you can't properly mix down things you can not hear or feel.

    I don't want to get into a long debate on the other stuff, it honestly doesn't matter compared to the above statement.
  14. Sparks 85

    Sparks 85
    892 posts
    Since Aug 11, 2008
    My standard Yamaha sub goes down to 30hz, I would have thought club systems could easily reproduce this and possibly lower?
  15. dj0045

    dj0045
    693 posts
    Since Sep 2, 2007
    ~27hz should be the lower limit on most top end systems. I'm sure some go lower, but generally 27hz and up is a relatively safe range. Just depends on the brand of subs they have, and how much money they spent. Your Yamaha outperforms many of the cheaper brands, and/or cheaper lines from some of the major brands. Although, it's not really the same concept, tbf.

    For example Cerwin Vega's 21 inch sub (CVA-121) only rates to 35hz. And that is by no means a cheap or shitty speaker. :shrug:
  16. shapes fcy

    shapes
    172 posts
    Since Dec 6, 2007
    People keep quoting cutt - off freq's like these are 'brickwall' cutoff figures... they are not, some are fairly shallow rolloffs.

    a number of years back Fabric's system was analysed and was producing plenty of 17hz
  17. thesamuel

    thesamuel
    250 posts
    Since May 11, 2011
    im kind of stuck at this too, i making a tune the main bass riff is c3, c3 sharp and b2 flat. If i put the a typical pure sine wave as the sub bass but an octave lower the sub is bearly noticable and does nothing, c2 is around 36 hz and all the other notes are too low aswell. Should i still use these or should i put the sine wave the same octave as the main bass, the problem with that is that then its too high and is more audible. But having it an octave down does nothing and seems too low.
  18. LiamJ

    LiamJ
    7,965 posts
    Since Apr 1, 2006
    harmonics are your friend
  19. mehta

    mehta
    2,986 posts
    Since Sep 20, 2007
    Sure. Mostly I wanted to clarify this "38hz is too low" generalization - it's true that a lot of oldschool guys high pass at 40hz but honestly their rigs sound like shit for bass music.

    @ OP - additive synthesis (layering sines) gives you more flexibility but it can be tedious and you need to understand the overtone series quite well - here is a useful resource: http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-harmonics.htm

    most people use subtractive synthesis with resonant filters and whatnot for bass though, more immediate results
  20. texel Quadrant

    texel
    1,193 posts
    Since Jan 14, 2003
    38Hz will be pretty low, but it's not *too* low. It's more a matter of taste... your tune isn't going to be hitting anyone in the chest cavity if the sub stays at 38Hz the entire time, but it can be nice to have notes go down that low.

    The low note on this tune is 36.7Hz, and you can hear it on a system (well its harmonics anyway), but it's pretty damn low



    That being said, for all the people telling you to put in harmonics... that's basically what your'e doing by doubling up a sine one octave higher, and it's a perfectly reasonable strategy. Using a lowpassed triangle or square won't get you the first harmonic in the 74Hz range, but they will represent the 110Hz-ish range. Lowpassed sawtooths will give you all integer multiples, hence why they sound so "warm".
  21. Sparks 85

    Sparks 85
    892 posts
    Since Aug 11, 2008
  22. luthatron \o/ Lord Wavey \o/

    luthatron
    42,245 posts
    Since Feb 3, 2004
    is there a free or cheap alternative to maxxbass?
  23. SourBattery

    SourBattery
    495 posts
    Since Aug 15, 2009
    It wont be a problem, as long as they play the same thing with same porta/legato settings. what you doing is basiclly additive synthesis, adding sinewaves to create one sound. Using saturation or maxxbass or any plugin like that on the sub will do the same thing, add some sinewaves, probably more then one tho.
  24. roringtonsmithe

    roringtonsmithe
    400 posts
    Since Feb 1, 2010
    mda Sub-Bass Synthesizer - Several low frequency enhancement methods
  25. dj0045

    dj0045
    693 posts
    Since Sep 2, 2007
    Sure... the cheapest alternative is to use a triangle, square, or saw wave for sub instead... :teeth:








    Sorry... it's useless post day for me.
  26. luthatron \o/ Lord Wavey \o/

    luthatron
    42,245 posts
    Since Feb 3, 2004
  27. Wu Lala

    Wu Lala
    11,553 posts
    Since Feb 7, 2007


    welcome to the painful lessons of bass, our motto for today is 'never use B or C for the majority of your bassline'. Dont worry, lesson 15,327 is how to use B and C as the majority of your bassline, youll get there one day, for now avoid those keys no matter how badcore dark your mid bass patch sounds down that low. Stick around E, F, G until you are super at bass, think about it like taking your driving lessons in a nissan micra rather than a 50 foot artic lorry, just make life easy on yourself.
  28. roringtonsmithe

    roringtonsmithe
    400 posts
    Since Feb 1, 2010
  29. thesamuel

    thesamuel
    250 posts
    Since May 11, 2011
    ahh, ok cheers.
  30. dfault

    dfault
    762 posts
    Since Dec 16, 2008
    Like I said, use a square wave with a low pass filter. If you can't hear it on your system use a spectrum analyzer such as Voxengo Span. The cutoff of the lowpass filter can be fine tuned to allow just the right amount of harmonics. Sometimes I will further process the sub with some type of sub bass enhancer and I especially like to use the UAD2 Studer on the 30ips setting driven moderately. If you use a sub bass enhancer, read up on how it works because there are differences in how they work. Some literally synthesize a waveform an octave below the pitch of the audio you send into it. Some make the harmonics above the fundamental louder to take advantage of the psychoacoustic "missing fundamental" phenomenon. There are other methods that involve a combination of things like the first two methods with additional things like filtering, compression, saturation etc.

    A rapid pitch envelope at the beginning of the note makes bass sounds stand out more. Consider the interaction between the kick drum and the sub bass as well. They can partially cancel in an unpredictable fashion so it helps to look at the actual waveform to see what's going on there. If you have too much of any one instrument and you are using a full band limiter on the output you can run into problems. High pass filtering at a really low frequency on the sub can often free up some more head room.

    Read up on the principles behind all this stuff so you have enough understanding so that you can deal with these issues from the start of making a tune and you won't have to rely on people posting random frequencies on the grid.