Sidechain kick & bass without losing the punch of the bass

Studio Tips: Sidechain kick & bass without losing the punch of the bass

Posted on October 24, 2013

We all love sidechaining, don’t we? Who doesn’t sidechain their bass lines by putting a compressor on it and have it triggered by the kick drum? It’s a very effective way to separate these parts and it cleans up your mix.

But what we sometimes don’t want is losing the punch and attack of a bass line. What happens is that if you need to sidechain quite heavy, that it can affect the transients, most notably in the mid- and higher range of the bass sound.

Here’s a really simple method we use a lot, to separate the kick & bass parts by sidechaining, without losing the punch of the bass.

What you do is this:

- Make an EXACT copy of your bass line (what we often do with soft synth parts is just bounce it down to audio and work with the audio)

- Put a linear phase EQ on the original AND the copied parts

- Low cut EQ the original part to let’s say 200 Hz 24dB/Oct, or just listen and adjust it to the point that you lose the subs without affecting the punchy mids.

- High cut EQ the copied part to the EXACT same frequency

- Sidechain the copied part to the kick drum, it’s alright to use some pretty heavy sidechaining

- If you want, sidechain the original part to the kick drum, but use it more moderately to preserve punch and attack

Bass sidechained heavily over the full frequency spectrum resulting in heavy pumping

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Bass sidechained heavily only on the lower part of the frequency spectrum, the mid highs are sidechained moderately, resulting in a cleaner sound

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  • http://www.djkix.com/ DJ Kix

    very smart! thanks for the tips :)

  • Charles Fernandes

    THANKS

  • Benjamin Bates

    We always just send it to two separate busses (with settings similar to your example). That way you don’t have to bounce or duplicate, keeping things a bit more flexible… Anyone know of a multiband compressor with side-chain input? That would ease up the process even more.

    • poweruserjoe

      (1 month late)
      fabfilter Pro c or Pro MB

  • Algrus

    Brilliant. Thanks!!

  • reDJesh

    cool!

  • http://tweakers.net/ Rob Nijhof

    Excellent and very useful tip guys! Thanks for sharing! :)