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The Low End Thing

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The Low End Thing

Postby calmposer a » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:38 pm

I love my NS10s. I love my Beyer Dynamic DT100s. Doing a recent test with the DTs I surprisingly found that I could clearly hear a 20hz rumble!!

I monitor my tracks in other very decent studios as well.

Would working with the NS10s in general and cross checking low end with the Beyers (and not just low end) be satisfactory for finalizing bass heavy tracks (e.g. dub and hiphop) and sending them to mix? Is a subwoofer really required? Thoughts anyone? :headbang:
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby planetnine » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:58 pm

DT100 are not what I would call full-range monitor headphones, more like vocal range. There is a better frequency range with their sibling DT150 headphones.

I always cross-reference mixes from my studio monitors with my headphones, good practice.

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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby Octopussy » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:39 pm

Maybe you can hear some kind of harmonic based on 20 Hz but can those headphones really put out 20Hz? Can any headphones put out 20 Hz?

Seriously though, I too mix between my in ear monitors and my mains. But with NS10's or any inaccurate monitor that isn't full range you will not be able to tell if you need to compress the bass guitar by another .5 dB even if you've managed to get the kick and bass instrument balanced.

If you can get a track or 2 mastered at a pro mastering facility with a flat room response and seriously high end monitors and attend the mastering session then you can find out what's happening with your mixes happening on your speakers. I learned that my mixes where a little bit down around 1.8-3kHz (very important vocal frequency range) that I should need to pay closer attention around 200Hz to get consistent resolution of the mix elements. So now my mixes sound pro! lol The mastering session let me hear improvements identified by working with a musical and talented mastering engineer working in a better environment than my mixing room. My mixes before the mastering session where sounding ok to good on other peoples stereos etc but that only identified that the mixes where working overall. The mastering session gave me the info about the tendencies brought out in me by my mix environment and let me hear improvements.
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby RegressiveRock » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:58 pm

Headphone referencing is about a number of things, including: differentiating hard-to-hear minor defects in your mix; looking for anything in your mix that grates in cans like overlong pan throws and; if you have really good cans, resolving difficult-to-monitor mix conflicts.

Honestly mate: DT100s are not designed for this job. They're a robust, modular and hence easy-to-maintain, tracking-room can.

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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby calmposer a » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:02 pm

Okay I'm a bit behind with the headphones.... there was a good article Jan this year overall praising the Sennheisers. Can anyone recommend great headphones for mixing?
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:46 am

Headphones compared.

My choice - AKG K701.

I do all of my work, including mixing, in headphones. I would dread to think of having to do it in the DT90s and DT100s I use for tracking. They are pretty dismal-sounding devices.

But to get bass truly nailed down you're going to have to use some trustworthy speakers at some point. NS10s would not be my choice on any level TBH, but many people seem to manage fine with them.
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:30 pm

And my choice is Sennheiser HD650 8-)

I do lots of sound design work under these as well as music demo creation and album writing, and they have never let me down.


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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby Crying Chic » Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:40 am

I use Sennheiser HD650's too I also check the bottom end with:

http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/

If you are concerned about compromised low end due to monitoring and perhaps room acoustic issues have a peek as well as a listen :)
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby The Elf » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:58 am

If you feel like trying something a little more 'off the wall'...

I feel the speaker cone with my finger to check what's happening at the bass end. It's a technique I've been using since I was a kid and it's served me well.
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:15 am

Yep, a very useful technique - over the years I’ve spotted quite a few mammoth cone excursions that were scarcely audible but required a steepish lowcut filter at 20Hz to avoid loudspeaker damage :beamup:


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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby Mixedup » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:57 am

Martin Walker wrote:a steepish lowcut filter at 20Hz to avoid loudspeaker damage

It may be good practice to filter such frequencies earlier in the chain, but saving an insert slot at the top of the master buss for a high-pass filter never hurt anyone!
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby Zukan » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:34 am

First off: the NS10s are not going to reference the low end well. That's not what they're for.
Second: headphones are great but will not reference the low end or pan positions well.

You need a well treated room with monitors that are suitable. TBH, if the room is properly treated then most monitors will translate the low end pretty suitably.

A combination of the two is the way to go. I use both.
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby Zukan » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:37 am

Mixedup wrote:
Martin Walker begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting wrote:a steepish lowcut filter at 20Hz to avoid loudspeaker damage

It may be good practice to filter such frequencies earlier in the chain, but saving an insert slot at the top of the master buss for a high-pass filter never hurt anyone!

I use the Nugen Visualizer to assess what's going on and this helps a great deal in determining frequency spread and particularly redundant frequencies that will not be heard but felt and can mush up the mix. Additionally, it helps to understand what to filter because filtering the low end can also thin the mix. I know we're talking about 20 Hz here but I can hear that frequency and have, on occasion, opted to leave it there and filter well below that, usually more to do with the final compression stage at the mix bus.
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby StuartBallingall » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:15 am

The Elf wrote:I feel the speaker cone with my finger to check what's happening at the bass end. It's a technique I've been using since I was a kid and it's served me well.

I just tried your technique Elf on some mixes on an album im currently doing and i have to say its a revelation to me!

I could really feel the overlap in the bass guitar and kick drum frequencies and with a bit of HPFing of the bass i've tightened up the low end no end!

Also we're using samples for the drums and its made it so much easier to judge the decay of the kick samples!
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby Exalted Wombat » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:22 am

StuartBallingall wrote:I could really feel the overlap in the bass guitar and kick drum frequencies and with a bit of HPFing of the bass i've tightened up the low end no end!

It's not fair, is it! Bass players spend all that money and trouble lugging giant Trace Eliot stacks around for an extended bass end, then we glibly apply "a bit of HPFing" (sounds so much more politically acceptable than "cut the bass end") :-)
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby StuartBallingall » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:39 am

We could save all the arguments and change the instruments name to.....

The Low Mid Guitar!!!
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby onesecondglance » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:16 pm

that's a baritone guitar, isn't it...?
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby The Elf » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:00 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
StuartBallingall wrote:I could really feel the overlap in the bass guitar and kick drum frequencies and with a bit of HPFing of the bass i've tightened up the low end no end!

It's not fair, is it! Bass players spend all that money and trouble lugging giant Trace Eliot stacks around for an extended bass end, then we glibly apply "a bit of HPFing" (sounds so much more politically acceptable than "cut the bass end") :-)
I've never found much of any worth below 60/70Hz in a bass guitar. A 4-string bass bottoms off around 80Hz.
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby narcoman » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:05 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
StuartBallingall wrote:I could really feel the overlap in the bass guitar and kick drum frequencies and with a bit of HPFing of the bass i've tightened up the low end no end!


It's not fair, is it! Bass players spend all that money and trouble lugging giant Trace Eliot stacks around for an extended bass end, then we glibly apply "a bit of HPFing" (sounds so much more politically acceptable than "cut the bass end") :-)


that's because bass players {excluding me - as i'm enlightened} think that bass guitar means bass frequencies. The silly tykes....
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby The Elf » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:08 pm

StuartBallingall wrote:
The Elf wrote:I feel the speaker cone with my finger to check what's happening at the bass end. It's a technique I've been using since I was a kid and it's served me well.

I just tried your technique Elf on some mixes on an album im currently doing and i have to say its a revelation to me!

I could really feel the overlap in the bass guitar and kick drum frequencies and with a bit of HPFing of the bass i've tightened up the low end no end!

Also we're using samples for the drums and its made it so much easier to judge the decay of the kick samples!
Glad it works for you! :D

Most people just think I'm mad, but it really does help, as you've obviously discovered. If you 'get it' then I think you'll find it a useful tool from here on. I often do my cone-fondling with my headphones on too.

Beyond simply sussing out errant extreme lows, it can tell you a lot about the relationship between kick and bass and whether you have any other instruments spoiling the party down there. I can also feel timing dicrepancies between kick and bass and also make decisions as to whether a little kick/bass side-chaining might be required.

'My hand moves out and... I have the touch!' ;)
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Re: The Low End Thing

Postby RegressiveRock » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:17 pm

The Elf wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:
StuartBallingall wrote:I could really feel the overlap in the bass guitar and kick drum frequencies and with a bit of HPFing of the bass i've tightened up the low end no end!

It's not fair, is it! Bass players spend all that money and trouble lugging giant Trace Eliot stacks around for an extended bass end, then we glibly apply "a bit of HPFing" (sounds so much more politically acceptable than "cut the bass end") :-)
I've never found much of any worth below 60/70Hz in a bass guitar. A 4-string bass bottoms off around 80Hz.

That's why we invented the 5 string, silly! ;) It wouldn't so to have the studio engineer thinking the bass tracking / mixing is going to be easy now would it! :D

Having said which, I can see my low B cycling when I pluck it and pretty much never use that actual note.

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