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Ear Bud Bass Frequency

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Ear Bud Bass Frequency

Postby Suntower » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:58 am

Looking for advice on which frequenc(ies) need to be emphasised (or which cut) to get a decent bass guitar bottom end on typical ear buds.

When I mix, I'll get a sound that seems great on my monitors. It also translates well to PC speakers, car and even old 'home stereo'. But when I audition on ear buds, the bottom just disappears.

And yet, the 'pro' mixes seem to handle this very nicely. I'm thinking of a typical rock mix like Velvet Underground's 'Slither'. Sounds fantastic on all transducers.

What's the secret?
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Re: Ear Bud Bass Frequency

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 18, 2020 11:03 am

If the tracks sounds great on speakers then the track isn't the problem.

The usual issue with ear buds is that a poor fit in the ear canal drastically reduces the amount of bass they can reproduce.

So my advice would be to try different ear tips to find a size and type that works better with your personal ear canal shape and size.
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Re: Ear Bud Bass Frequency

Postby blinddrew » Wed Mar 18, 2020 11:19 am

But if commercial mixes sound ok that would indicate an acceptable fit no?
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Re: Ear Bud Bass Frequency

Postby The Elf » Wed Mar 18, 2020 11:54 am

I urge you to abandon this idea of mixing for a specific target device. A good 'commercial average' mix will sound of its best no matter what you play it back on.
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Re: Ear Bud Bass Frequency

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:26 pm

Could it be that you are tracking/mixing the bass with few or no harmonics? Cheaper ear buds often have little low bass so the commercial mixes rely on the harmonics in the bass sound to fill the gap, say a low E at 40 Hz is inaudible but if there is good harmonic content an octave up at 80Hz that gets reproduced by the buds and your brain fills in the gaps.

But, as Hugh says, even with good ear buds or IEMs (I have ACS T3s with custom moulds) if you lose the seal the bass will totally disappear (pushing them slightly more firmly into the ear canal makes a dramatic difference in that case).
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Re: Ear Bud Bass Frequency

Postby Suntower » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:45 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:If the tracks sounds great on speakers then the track isn't the problem.

The usual issue with ear buds is that a poor fit in the ear canal drastically reduces the amount of bass they can reproduce.

So my advice would be to try different ear tips to find a size and type that works better with your personal ear canal shape and size.

I am not worthy to eat the crumbs from yer couch. But... still I'm not sure I agree.

I can't get it out of my head that there is one frequency... maybe the octave above the fundamental? 2 octaves? My -intuition- tells me that it's like a B3--there's a drawbar you can raise that makes the apparent 'bass' pop out.

I guess I was hoping someone would say, "Duh. Just boost an octave and a fifth 2db and Bob's yer uncle."

Probably a fool's errand but I'll just bugger off to experiment. :D

Cheers.
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Re: Ear Bud Bass Frequency

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:13 am

Perhaps you can provide a link to one of your mixes that sounds right to you on speakers but not on buds. That might help give us a clue as to the bass sounds you're working with.
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Re: Ear Bud Bass Frequency

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:21 am

That's pretty much what I was suggesting, but it's not a single frequency and you can't boost what isn't there.

It's probably the bass sound that is the problem, much better recording minds than mine will come along and give specific advice but, IIRC, an 'exciter' or distortion plug-in on the bass can add some higher harmonics.

Imagine a pair of buds with a frequency response starting at 80Hz (and an infinite cut off below). If you bass sound is a pure sine wave the lowest note you'll hear is the E on the D string*. So if you played your bass line an octave up it would all be audible. Change that sine wave to a square wave and you'll hear the harmonics of those notes below E 82Hz rather than the notes completely disappearing.

You could probably simulate the effect using a very steep HPF and some synth bass. I might go and try it later just for fun and learning (and to see if I'm talking nonsense or not...).

* I'm talking in Bass Guitar as it's what I know best but if you're talking synth bass it's probably easier to fix.
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