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Q. How can I boost bass on tracks for the Internet?

I have a few tracks that I'd like to put on-line, but I'm having trouble getting the bass to sit forward enough in the mix to be audible on standard speakers. The mix sounds fine on my studio monitors, but when it's played back elsewhere, the bottom end is missing. These are bass-led tracks, so the low end really needs to sit up-front.

I don't want to just crank the bass up and swamp everything, and equally I don't really want to change the source patch, as it's the sound I want. Can you suggest anything?

SOS Forum Post Q. How can I boost bass on tracks for the Internet?

Boosting lower-mid frequencies can help to give the impression of deep bass on domestic loudspeaker systems. You can do this with EQ, or by using specially designed software, such as Waves' Maxx Bass. As that software's GUI shows, the the original bass (the blue curve) is augmented by a secondary hump of low-mid boost: the yellow curve.

Editor In Chief Paul White replies: The problem here is that most home systems, and those connected to most computers, won't be able to reproduce the deep bass that you can hear on your studio monitors. However, a lot of what sounds like bass is actually in the 150-250Hz range, so it's here that you should be applying boost, possibly in conjunction with some shelving low-cut filtering below 70Hz or so. Alternatively, you could try using software such as Waves' Maxx Bass to process your bass sounds (, as this moves more of the energy into the lower-mid range to create the illusion of deep bass on smaller speakers.

Before you begin processing, it's important to play some commercial mixes that you're familiar with over your monitors, so you can establish a reference point. Bear in mind that your room could be emphasising bass frequencies, making you mix with less bass than you actually need. Once you've completed a mix, double-check it on other systems (large and small) to see how the bass sounds.

When it's time to encode your mixes as MP3s, there are some points that you should consider. First, it's probably wise to mix a separate version for MP3 encoding, so you can apply slightly different techniques. As your material is bass-driven, try not to over-compress, as this can lead to a muddled low end, partly because the HF content is attenuated and shifted around by the encoding process. Second, reduce your peak levels by one or two decibels, to give the encoder a bit of space to breathe. This can be done by either lowering the output level of your mix-buss limiter, or normalising the mixed file appropriately.