Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

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nicholasdover
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Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by nicholasdover » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:32 am

Hi guys
I recorded a trio the other day and the organ player used a really clean low bass sound - sine wave, pretty much - and it just disappears on iphone/laptop speakers. I took stereo Di and mic'd his (again, clean sounding) monitor in the room. I had room mics up too so the bass is represented on a few different levels. He didn't know how to split his bass and treble sounds, so I'm having to just low pass to filter off a bass part to treat from the whole organ submix (LR Di, momo amp mic). So far I've just done the obvious thing of parallel saturation on the bass portion of the sound (Decapitator) to try and bring out some harmonics, but it's just not doing much really when I test on iphone speaker. I tried a few other reamp-ish options on the buss, but I wasn't into anything I found. It makes a kind of "wool & sizzle" version of the bass up an octave which is more audible but not all that satisfying. Any tricks to try would be very much appreciated! I've got a bit of parallel saturation on the organ buss and the mix buss too so it's not that it's all super clean - sounds pretty good in room, just totally dependent on low extension to work at the moment.
Cheers
Nick

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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:29 am

nicholasdover wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:32 am
He didn't know how to split his bass and treble sounds, so I'm having to just low pass to filter off a bass part to treat from the whole organ submix (LR Di, momo amp mic).
that is making a tough task a lot tougher, cause your bass part which is already hard to hear now has no high freqs at all.

best thing would be to get the guy to figure out how to split his sounds (how hard can it be?) and retrack.

short of that, you're already on the right track. reamping, parallel sat/distortion...just do whatever it takes to get some midrange information in there. put it through guitar amps, eq it like crazy, etc.

also, i think an iphone speaker is way too extreme a test, that thing is what, a 1/8" big? you have to accept that you're not gonna hear low bass on that, whether it's the recording you just did or some big fancy expensive record.

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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by kslight » Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:04 am

I’m not sure about “stereo” on that bass...I would check your mono compatibility.

Sometimes plugins like Vitamin and Rbass can help make bass come across on compromised systems.

I don’t think that type of sound really has any harmonic content to come across on a phone though. Maybe try doubling the part with a bass or synth.

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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by nicholasdover » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:26 am

There can be no retracking, sadly - I just have to work with what I have.
My understanding of the saturation approach is that it should create some upper harmonics based on the fundamentals I feed it, but it's true that there is no real high end to the product of my attempts at the process...
I think the comment about "that type of sound" is the thing - it's SO different to the way even upright bass comes across on shitty speakers. I've recorded a lot of jazz so I'm totally used to the boom of double bass disappearing on phone/laptop but with a bit of parallel grit you can still sense the root because the harmonic information is more complex - there's twang and honk in there as part of it. Organ bass just has nothing except the bottom! I recorded a guy with a proper tube Hammond amp and cab setup - the bass and treble weren't fully separate, but it was much easier to deal with because I guess the good amp and characterful speaker had already enriched the fundamental note by the time it got to the mic, and that just wasn't happening with this sterile setup and resultant sound.

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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by nicholasdover » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:28 am

Oh yes, stereo - it's okay, I've only been doing the extreme filtering and drive on the mono amp mic feed so I'm safe there.

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:41 am

I add lots of Hammond pedals or combo organ bass parts to singer songwriter sessions all the time. In that context your supposed to feel the bass but not really notice it so organ bass is perfect. Trying to have it as a feature part gets way trickier even with decent monitoring though. Theres just no edge to the sound. You're on the right track with parallel comp/distortion. Try re-amping. Try running it through an octaver (set to give an octave above) and really mess with the sound before you blend it back in. Try everything.
Another trick might be to high pass your parallel feed before the distortion. Maybe also use a heavy handed limiter to really level out the notes before your diatortion.

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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by losthighway » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:45 am

EDIT: A. David was typing something similar at the same time as me. Proof I'm not crazy.

Something to try:

Mult the bass signal and send one through something middy/gainy, a small tube amp, a distortion pedal with moderate clipping. Try high passing it at like 200hz. Add a little mids where you can find a useful overtone, if they're not already super-present on the way back in.

Blend that with the boomy one (check the phase). Sometimes texture plus mids gives something more of a voice in the mix (if you need it), whereas before it was only low-end reenforcement.

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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by nicholasdover » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:50 am

Thanks for the ideas - I hadn't thought of crushing pre OD, I think that might help make a more even result.
The band was just singer, drums, organ so it's literally the only harmonic element.
My parallel buss chain went: Low pass at 100ish (to single out pedals and dodge low end of chord mush) > Decapitator > High pass at 200ish (to see what information had been "generated" by drive and also because low bass is already great and don't need more of it) > LA2 comp (to level and drive a bit more)
Next step might be to gun it all into my 5E3 > 57 and force the wallowing flubber to just be a midrange laserbeam....

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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by nicholasdover » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:52 am

Ha! And now I'm writing things a bit like you're suggesting!!
This is great - I'm glad I wasn't wasting time on a dumb approach and you've fed me more ideas to push a bit further with.
Cheers guys

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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by drumsound » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:01 am

Do all the things suggested, but also mix on some small speakers. Something that at least simulates a typical crappy listening environment.

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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by vvv » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:24 am

Perhaps slightly outta left field (where the left-hand cigarettes are used), but I have various foot pedals that can add harmonic information, using the original signal something like a trigger.

A POG pedal, for example, or The Meatball clones. Even a Q-Tron, or a MuTron type. Also, the Source Audio Orbital Modulator or MXR M82 Bass Filter are easily found. IOW, filter pedals, particularly if intended for bass, could really help.

And don't be afraid to stack 'em - an octaver in a chain with distortion and a envelope filter might get you an acceptable, if somewhat synthy, sound.

I've not used one in years, but it strikes me that an exciter, like the BBE, might also be useful.
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Re: Getting organ bass to translate to small speakers

Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:16 am

The sound disappears on tiny speakers, well, because those speakers are not designed to reproduce that sound.

I would just add some of that sound an octave higher or even two octaves higher, but not loud, to "emulate" that low sound on those tiny speakers.

Or, leave it alone.
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