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Layer Your Bass | Audio Layering

Why should you layer your Bass?

Sound Layering is one of the most important techniques to master when developing a new sound. Bass Layering adds loads of harmonics and great texture. Although this will add fullness to the sound, you need to select the sound selections carefully.

The goal with sound layering is to harmonize different timbres to deliver a smooth sound that does not cause any mixing issues. There’s usually a lot of experimentation with finding the different combinations that compliment each other.

Sub Bass Layering

To support the low end, sub bass is used to form a solid foundation for the bassline. Since the Sub bass includes the lowest frequency range, you will feel this when its heard on big speaker systems.

The Sub bass layer range in between 20 Hz and 200 Hz. Usually the sub bass is in a sine wave form. You must tweak the pitch on the notes or oscillators to make the bass sound clear. We recommend to make the sub bass mono and cut the lowest frequencies out.

Here are some steps to mix the Sub Bass:

  1. Copy main bass and turn it down an octave or two. Next change the pitch on the notes.
  2. Throw the bass into an EQ and cut the high end frequencies and taper off the very low end frequencies for more ‘punch’.
  3. Add a saturation plugin to slightly increase harmonics.

Mid Bass Layering

The Mid Bass is one of the more important layers of bass because of its central nature. This is where most of the sound we hear resides. The range of the mid bass is 100 Hz to 500 Hz. This is a great area to add character and richness.

There are many things you can do to widen up this layer for a fat sounding bass. Some things you may include are saturation, reverb, stereo width and any effects that add harmonics to the mid range of the frequency spectrum.

Here are some steps to mix the Mid Bass:

  1. Cut the low-end frequencies along with higher-end frequencies to form a mid-bass layer.
  2. Add some peaks to your desired locations on the frequency spectrum.
  3. Add plugins for saturation, reverb, and other effects to achieve your desired sound.

High Bass Layering

The high bass layer adds a vibrant presence to the bass and the upper harmonics play an important role in the mix. The range is between 500 Hz and 2000 Hz. The processes are similar to those applied to the mid bass which is adding saturation and reverb. These effects will fill up space and make the layer cut through the mix to deliver that punch.

Here are some steps to mix the High Bass:

  1. Cut out the low-end frequencies and add peaks on the high-end frequencies.
  2. Duplicate the mid bass layer and turn the octave up along with some pitches on notes.
  3. Add saturation and add a little bit of reverb to your liking.

Conculsion

Creating a unique bass takes many trials and errors but the result should be worth it. Layering your bass will bring much more harmonics and create a unique sound for your music. Take time to familiarize yourself with the whole spectrum and see what areas you’d like to boost or cut. Also, don’t forget you must side-chain your kicks for a professional sounding track. What do you guys think we missed with this tutorial?

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