How to Compress Bass in a DAW like Ableton, Fl Studio or Logic to get a tight low-end and great sounding results. Use this Bass Compression settings for groovy Basslines, Sub Bass and Guitar. If you still have questions about the compression for Bass, you get help here.
Mixing Bass is one of important parts when producing music, especially in EDM and hip-hop. Not only does it adds the low-end but also power.
If hip-hop or electronic music tracks don't have a good bass sound, they will not sound good no matter how good speakers you listen to.
You can use many great electronic music and hip-hop plugins to make the Bass sound great, but the compressor is the essential tool to make the Bass powerful.
A compressor makes the bass sound more powerful and allows you to control it. Because Bass is a very dynamic instrument, it will make the mix muddier without proper compression.
In this post, you will learn how to compress Bass properly for hip-hop, house and Techno music. Here you you can read more about great sounding electronic music VST-Plugins.
7 Steps To Bass Compression
Find out how you can compress Bass in six easy steps. This method works great with EDM and hip-hop styles of music but can be used for other genres too.
1. Record And EQ Bass
Firstly, before you compress the Bass, you need to record your bass instrument and then EQ it. Both steps are critical, and you should do your best.
Recording a pleasing bass tone is important because it's the source sound, and you can't change the source sound after compression for Bass. So, you should record the exact sound you like from the start. Also, make sure that it sits perfectly in the mix.
Especially, the bass sound should work with a kick drum. A Kick adds a pulse to the music and, blended with Bass, will make both instruments more powerful and juicier.
After you are satisfied with the recorded sound, it's time to EQ the Bass. This process shouldn't be long because if you have a good bass sound that sits nicely in the mix, it will need minimal EQ tweaking.
Use pass filters like HPF and LPF to eliminate very low and high frequencies.
Boost the best sounding frequency for the Bass and cut unnecessary frequencies that the Bass doesn't need. It will also free up the space for other instruments.
In general, the best frequency to boost for Bass is between 60Hz-250Hz. This range is very safe, and you will find the best frequency for your Bass in this range.
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2. Choose Your Favorite Compressor Plugin
Now it's time to compress your Bass, and any compressor plugin can work, but I recommend using your favorite plugin. It's essential to know how the plugin works because it will help you to create better sound easily.
It may be a free plugin with your DAW or any free third-party plugin. However, I recommend premium compressor plugins like FabFilter Pro C because it offers excellent features and it's effortless to use.
Not only does it offers excellent sound and ease of use, but it also has some great features. For example, you can choose between different kinds of compressors; you can do parallel Compression and more.
But if you use another compressor plugin, ensure it has a threshold, attack, release, ratio, knee controls, and ability to control input and output signal levels separately.
3.Find The Sweet Spot For Threshold and ratio
The First setting you want to tweak is the threshold which determines when the compressor starts to act. For example, if you set a threshold to -2dB, it means that when a signal passes that threshold, the compressor will engage.
You may think that finding the sweet spot is hard, but actually, it's very easy. You don't need to set it very low because it will squash the sound. The threshold goal is to find the spot where bass sound becomes more consistent and even.
Bass is a very dynamic instrument. Some notes might sound too loud, and some notes may sound very quiet. Threshold helps us to control it and make the sound more even.
There is no specific setting for a threshold because it varies from sound to sound. But you can start with a general setting that works most times.
Select a ratio of 4:1 and start dialing in the threshold knob and listen to the sound. As soon as you hear that compressor has an impact on the sound, stop.
From now you can find the spot where it affects the sound but doesn't make it unnatural and too compressed.
To find the best spot, choose the loudest section of the bass track and stop when that loudest part gets between 2dB and 6dB of gain reduction.
However, it may be different for your bass tone. That's why you must listen to the sound and make decisions based on that.
Pro Tip 1: Do you have problems hearing the difference through the bass compression? The Ratio sets the intensity of your compressor. Set the Ratio at the beginning to the maximum value, for example, 20:1, so you can hear how your compressor works. Start with the attack, set the value to 0, and then slowly increase the value until the desired transients come through. Then adjust the release value and finally adjust the Ratio back down to around 4:1.
4. Set Compressor To Fast Attack
Next, it's time to set the attack knob, which tells the compressor when it should start engaging. It's measured in milliseconds, and you can select a fast, medium, and slow attack.
For example, if you set the attack to 20ms it means that as soon as a sound passes the threshold, the compressor will engage after 20ms. So, you can control when the compressor starts working.
20ms is a fast attack, and it's a very common setting.
This means that you will hear the transient of the Bass, and then Compression begins. With This Bass mixing technique, the compressed sound will be more natural, and you will avoid the dull sound.
But if you want to just smash the bass sound, you can set it to 0ms and compress the sound immediately.
Attack control is many times overlooked, although it's an important setting. So, use it wisely and make decisions based on your sound and in the context of the mix.
5. Set The Release Knob To Slow
The release is the opposite of the attack knob, which controls when the compressor stops working.
For example, if you set it to 100ms, the compressor will stop working after 100ms when the threshold is passed.
A slow attack is recommended because it creates sustain and the bass sound will become more even and consistent. The note will last longer, and this is great for quiet parts.
But sometimes, it's good to use a very fast release, especially if you want to create a punchy bass sound. Fast attack and release will make bass notes pop up from the mix.
If it's what you want, then you can do it.
Attack and release are the most crucial bass compression settings that allow you to control the sound and shape your bass tone.
These controls with thresholds are very powerful tools for controlling the bass sound.
After you are done with all settings, you can listen to your Bass again and make some final and minor changes to the threshold and other settings.
It's essential to make these changes now because you need to have the final sound for the next and last step.
Pro Tip 2: Sometimes, using two different compressors for your Bass sounds fantastic. To add specific sound characteristics of other compressors to your mix.
6. Level Match Input & Output
The last step to compress Bass is to make input and output signals equal, and this is very important and often skipped, which is a mistake.
The bass sound output might change when you tweak the compressor and set threshold, attack, and release.
It may become louder or quieter, which you want to avoid.
You want your output signal to be exact to the input sound.
How hard the compressor works is mostly shown as gain reduction (GR). The gain reduction value must be adjusted and increased with the output or makeup gain control. For example, if you have a gain reduction of -5db, then set the output control / makeup gain to +5db.
Some plugins offer auto gain function, an algorithm that calculates your settings and tries to match output signal to input signal.
But in general, these features don't always work great. So, you should check it manually and use your ears.
FabFilter Pro C offers a dedicated knob, and your plugin might have different control. But the goal is that the input and output signals should be the same.
7. Parallel Compression for Bass (Optional)
Parallel Compression lets you easily mix in the compression signal. This way, you can also integrate more extreme bass compression settings without the sound sounding too unnatural.
Many compressors have parallel Compression integrated; then you will usually find a control knob where you can set values between 0% and 100%. At 0 percent, you will not hear the compression signal at all (Dry). At 100%, you hear the wet signal, so to speak, only the processed signal.
If your compressor does not have parallel Compression, simply use a bus channel.
Pro Tip 3: Splitting the Bass into two compression busses works well. One for low-end and one for mid frequencies keep both elements focused.
With this bass mixing technique, you create two buses with compressors. Before the compressor, however, an EQ is used on the bus.
You filter out the highs in one channel and, in the other, the lows. Now you can compress upper and middle frequencies individually.The compressed signal can now be added via the buss according to taste.
Compressing the Bass is one of the most important steps in mixing, and perhaps it's the most powerful tool. Following these steps and practice will make your bass sound more awesome and punchy. Also, you can implement your methods because there are no rules in mixing.
The best setting for compressor or any plugin is the one you like the sound of. These steps are general guidelines that will help you to compress Bass faster and better.
Pro Tip 4: Another excellent bass mixing technique is to use a multiband compressor. Make sure that only the frequency range below 150 Hz gets compressed. This way, you get the low end under control and get warm-sounding results.
Pro Tip 5: Mixing kick and Bass? After you get your Bass under control with Compression, it's time to mix your kick with the Bass. Your mastered song will generally sound cleaner and tidier if the kick is more in the foreground. So if you mix the Bass a little softer, your mastered music will sound punchier.
Use the comment function if you have further questions about bass compression. Or tell us which are your favorite compressors?