Crisis Averted! The Mix is Perfect.

By in Music Creation

Professional audio engineers are only too aware of the last minute pressures of delivering a perfect mix. Deadlines get pushed forward and it’s crucial that you deliver a faultless bounce. However, in the heat of the moment, you can make simple but embarrassing mistakes… I can admit that it’s happened to me! LEVELS identifies these technical errors and warns you if there is an issue. It does this in a way that dramatically speeds up your workflow. In this blog post, I’ll be explaining how the ‘Bass Space’ feature was born out of my frustration of a time-consuming mixing process.

The Problem

Most audio engineers are aware that for your kick and bass elements to sound powerful and clear they need as much space as possible. To create this space, they cut the low frequencies on channels that are outputting unwanted low frequencies, such as a vocal recording with a low-end hum. Whilst mixing my client’s projects, I found the process of identifying  these channels to be monotonous and laborious. I simply wanted to get on with the creative part of the mix. So we created ‘Bass Space’ as part of our LEVELS mixing and metering plug-in. Bass Space identifies if any channels within your mix are outputting unwanted low frequencies.

The Solution

To use Bass Space, first, mute your kick and bass elements within your DAW. The frequency bars in the central display area will show the levels at 40Hz, 80Hz 160Hz and 180Hz. They will turn red if there is too much low-end energy. If this is the case you need to identify which channels are outputting the excess low frequencies. Solo the individual channels to find the culprit and then use a high pass filter to clean up this excess low-end rumble to maximise the clarity and power of your track. Be careful to not remove the material you actually want to hear in your mix.

Why It Works

Bass Space uses a particularly effective algorithm that analyses the low-frequency energy (measured in LUFS (Loudness Units Full Scale)) relative to the energy of the rest of the frequency spectrum. We analysed a vast and eclectic selection of incredibly well-mixed tracks with the kick and the bass muted to determine our set threshold. As with the other sections in LEVELS (Headroom, Dynamic Range & Stereo Field) Bass Space works on thresholds. If you breach the threshold the section will turn red. If there are no issues, it will remain green and you can continue working on the creative aspects of your mix uninterrupted.

 

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Tom is a musician, audio engineer and entrepreneur based in London, UK. His credits include Tiesto, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Max Vangeli and more. His studio, ‘Mastering The Mix’ released a mixing and metering plugin called LEVELS in 2016. Mastering The Mix will be releasing more innovative products in 2017.