Final Mixes for Mastering: err on bass heavy or bass light?

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kRza.
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Final Mixes for Mastering: err on bass heavy or bass light?

Post by kRza. » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:15 pm

double checking mixes in all listening environments & just wanted to see feedback on how you like to send final mixes to mastering:
a) consciously making an effort to control the low end erring on the lighter side.
b) send bass heavy mixes, knowing they'll scoop it.
c) fuck it, sounds good - let mastering figure it out.

kslight
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Post by kslight » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:01 pm

A matter of perspective and the style of music, but in my opinion if you have a good mix to begin with the mastering should sound like that but louder...

For the most part I'd say get it as balanced as possible, make sure everything is clear and reasonably intelligible, don't make the vocals too quiet...and if you want it to be a bassy master then discuss your expectations with the engineer.

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Post by kRza. » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:03 pm

of course balanced as possible. My ? is what do YOU prefer to do.

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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:15 pm

I prefer balanced. That is not bass heavy, or bass light. It's bass where I can hear it occupying its own space but not blowing things out. I find this can be one of the most difficult aspects of mixing.

A mastering engineer will only have to radically change your bass frequencies if there is something wrong with them.

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Post by drumsound » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:10 pm

Send good solid mixes and a good ME will make them even better.

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Ryan Silva
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Post by Ryan Silva » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:16 pm

kRza. wrote:of course balanced as possible. My ? is what do YOU prefer to do.
I think what your asking is: after testing the mix on several different systems, you just cant make up your mind on which source you really trust.

So if you had to err on a particular side, which would you chose.

The ansewr may be your just not happy with your mix, but if I had to make a choice, my ear might prefer a subtractive EQ instead of additive one to correct the low end during the mastering process.

But hey, your mix is probebly fine, and you just lost perspective a little bit.

Happens to me all the time. :-)
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Post by ricey » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:31 pm

i have found in my experience that this is one of those questions that make mastering engineers squirm, i've never gotten a straight answer.

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Ryan Silva
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Post by Ryan Silva » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:59 pm

ricey wrote:i have found in my experience that this is one of those questions that make mastering engineers squirm, i've never gotten a straight answer.
So right.

I asked a question like this at a mastering workshop once, and I got some confused looks for sure.

Funny
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kRza.
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Post by kRza. » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:49 pm

the reason i ask is a good one. i'm very excited about these mixes - perhaps my best to date & am dying to hear them mastered. When I listen back and counter with other reference mixes, mine sound a tab bass light, but they're working - so I'm not going to start second guessing myself! ;-)

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Post by jgimbel » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:43 pm

kRza. wrote:the reason i ask is a good one. i'm very excited about these mixes - perhaps my best to date & am dying to hear them mastered. When I listen back and counter with other reference mixes, mine sound a tab bass light, but they're working - so I'm not going to start second guessing myself! ;-)
Sounds good to me. I've found that if you get things balanced, then if it sounds a little bass heavy or bass light compared to certain references, that often comes across as more of a stylistic thing than actually being right or wrong. I'm on the tail end of mixing a mostly hard rock record that leans a bit toward a kind of radio sound. Compared to the last album I made which is indie rockish, this rock one sounds way lacking in bass/very bright. But if you listened to the rock one first, one might say my album sounded bass-heavy/dull. I always feel like after you listen to the first song or two, maybe even just the beginning of the first song an album, you get used to the sonics and accept what the artist/mixing engineer/ME's version of "balanced" is and usually isn't distracting.
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Post by cgarges » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:08 pm

I'm almost always sendinh bass-heavy mixes to mastering. To me, it's WAY easier to get it right by taking a bit out than it is to find the right place to add low end. As long as the kick drum and bass guitar are balanced, then if it's a little boomy, I don't mind. This is, of course, assuming that you've got an awesome mastering engineer taking care of it.

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johnny7
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Post by johnny7 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:03 pm

The last time I was fretting about bas being boomy, my ME suggested i had gone a little far and taken the muscle out of the bottom. Let your ME pull it back. Just my .02...

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Post by Waltz Mastering » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:26 am

If you're uncertain about your low end translation, it's probably best to shoot a mix over to your ME to give a listen and get their feedback. Most will do this for you with time permitting.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:38 am

ricey wrote:i have found in my experience that this is one of those questions that make mastering engineers squirm, i've never gotten a straight answer.
oh please. the answer is send it bass heavy. as CG says, so long as your kick and bass relationship is solid, it's no big deal to roll some lows off in general. and i'd rather do that than add it.

high end is the opposite, i'd much rather add that than cut it.

mixes that are a little bass/low mid heavy and a bit top light master really well. and most of my friends/clients who i consider good mixers tend to mix in that direction...

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Post by Dakota » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:45 pm

3rds with CG and MSE - good words from them.

Most important is that the kick drum and bass gt (or synth bass if electro, etc.) are in good proportion with each other. It's tougher for a mastering person to get the lows right at the same time as trying to finagle those two if unbalanced with each other.

It actually is pretty typical that a mastering person may be reigning in or tightening areas of the lows some, and boosting some air in the high end... so if you have to err one way or another, that's good to keep in mind.

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