How can I improve my mix and make the kick and bass sound clean?
Quite often upcoming producers send me their tracks for a feedback and ask how to improve a mix. Today, I’d like to share a simple, yet one of the most effective tips for improving a mixdown that beginners seem to forget about — check the low end.
You see, when certain frequencies overlap each other, they might create some phasing issues or a muddy mix especially in the kick-bass area.
The problem is many samples that you most likely use in the production has a lot of unnecessary frequencies in the lower end. For example, let’s take a listen to a typical TR-909-like hi-hat:
Sounds like a mid to high-frequency range hat, right? Well, take a look at its spectrum:
There’s a lot of low-end frequencies too! And the same applies to snare drums, ride cymbals, noise sweeps, and many other sounds that appear to be a mid to high, but in fact, include a lot a lower end as well.
The solution is simple.
First, make sure to actually check the spectrum of a sample you use. Second, if there is anything unwanted — cut it with a high-pass filter. Like this:
You can absolutely feel free to cut below 200 Hz in most cases and sometimes even below 500 Hz. You probably won’t even notice this audibly, but it does make a huge difference for the kick and bass mixdown.
It’s safe to say that I use EQ on pretty much every channel (or a group of channels) in my projects and I would recommend doing this too.