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Beatmaking EQ: Fixing Unwanted Sound Clashes

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Reconciling Kick and Bass Low Frequencies

By Kate Luo (Kay Kay) and Amir Said (Sa’id)

Drum choice and editing is arguably one of the most important aspects of beatmaking. In fact, drums are often what makes or breaks a beat. Needless to say, the quality of your drums will ultimately determine the quality of your beat. This is why knowing how to avoid and “fix” particular drum-related problems is essential.

One such problem that can occur in beatmaking, is the sound clash between the low frequencies of the kick and the bass. Generally, this clash is the muddiness you can hear when both your kick and bass has high volumes of the same lower frequencies. One method to fix this is to cut out frequencies 0-65 Hz from the kick. Then try mixing the kick and the bass alone and try to find a balance of frequencies that sound right to you.

Another method for fixing the unwanted sound clash between the kick and the bass (or any other sounds) is called “sidechaining compression.” Sidechaining compression uses one of your audio tracks to control the volume of another audio track; this produces what is commonly known as “ducking” (lowering the volume of one of your audio tracks when the other gets loud). For example, the bass will be softer at every instance your kick hits, creating a clearer and punchier sound. Sidechaining is pretty much a universal technique, however, depending on which DAW you use, the steps to setting up a side chain will vary. Below is a great tutorial that walks you through the process of setting up sidechain compression in Pro Tools.

For educational purposes…

How to Setup Sidechain Compression – Pro Tools (via Winksound)



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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album ‘The Best of Times.’ Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual