DA Studios: Savoy’s top 5 tips on making the bass bump
Welcome to DA Studios, a feature that dives into the world of production. In partnership with Point Blank Music School, DA Studios is returning weekly, with a variety of installments that will include guest posts from artists offering inside tips, detailed looks into the minds and tools of producers, diary entries from Point Blank students and much more.
Hear from your favorite artists and to learn about their worlds when they leave the decks and hit the studio. Dancing Astronaut and Point Blank’s weekly series is educational for music students, informative for fans, and entertaining for all.
This week’s guest is electronic rock trio Savoy, bringing you their top 5 tips on making the bass bump. Well-versed in their craft, the group has proven more than capable of making special things happen with body-controlling percussive production.
Known for tracks like “Leaving You” and “I Dare You,” Savoy keep steady with their newest work dropping this week; a collaboration with Prismo, featuring K!NG Z3U$, dubbed “A1.”
1. Use a spectrum frequency analyzer
Don’t hesitate to break this bad boy out to make sure the bass frequencies in your sub and kick are correct. If you are browsing through 808 kicks in a sample library their notes are not always labeled. So put an analyzer on the channel (we use the Ableton one) and make sure those kicks are in the right key.
2. Choose the right key
If you are trying to get some walls and asses shaking, it’s critical to use the right notes. Some notes just sound a lot deeper than others but it depends on the synth. Usually somewhere around G range sounds nice. If you go any lower you might lose that chest rattling effect.
3. Make sure your sub bass is Mono
You don’t want the bass on the sides of the stereo spectrum because you will lose punch and the mix will quickly sound muddy. The more centered the sub, the more clean and bumpin’ the mix will sound. If you are using a synth for your sub make sure the synth is set to one voice and that the stereo knobs are turned to 0. There are mono plugins that give it an extra push towards the center and most DAWS have a native one. When they work it’s awesome but make sure you AB it because sometimes the Mono plugins can sound a little weird.
4. Beware of Phase Cancellation
Sometimes people just put too many things in the same sonic space which makes all the sounds cancel each other out. If you have two basses going on and a huge sub kick, your mix is going to sound like mess. If you are going for a nice low end just keep and simple. A sine wave (square works well in some keys) and a nice kick sample is usually all it takes. The more space there is for the bass to breath, the more it will shake the club. Inverting the phase is also worth a shot to avoid frequencies clashing and canceling. One out of ten times we invert the phase of a kick it sounds better so its always worth checking.
Sidechain compression is when you program a compressor to duck one sound in response to another. We have everything sidechained off of the kick so when the kick hits, all the other sounds (especially the bass) ducks. This ensures that the kick is coming in big and clean and thepulse of the song never gets lost. This pumping effect could be used subtly just to give the kick a little room and to prevent phase cancellation. Sometimes we use this effect in an extreme way to create a big pumping sensation. On a big system using sidechain creates a huge impact on the drop, gets people dancing, and will guarantee at least 7 fist pumps.
For more expert tips, visit Point Blank, the award-winning music production and DJ school with classes in London, Los Angeles and online. Six-time ranked ‘Best DJ & Production School’ by DJ Mag, Point Blank offers ground-breaking courses taught by expert instruc-tors including songwriters, producers and Grammy award winners. Former students include: Claude VonStroke, Nicole Moudaber, Gareth Wyn, AlunaGeorge and more. Head to their site for production tips, tutorials or to sample an online course for free.