Recently the studio purchased the Pure Analyzer system from Flux to help with our analyzer needs. It’s a really beautiful RTA that you can insert on a track and it sends out to a separate program and displays all sorts of graphs, meters and spectrograms. It’s useful at showing you things in your mix that you might have missed or overlooked.
Something that it’s been helping me to see is if bass is unevenly centered in my mixes. When I get trackouts on a mix or when I’m mixing a band, I always center pan bass and most bass instruments (Kick, 808, Bass Synth). When I get a 2trak to record over though, I can’t always control how the instrumental was mixed. I’ve been noticing that sometimes the bass is off center or weighted heavy to one side. Knowing that wouldn’t be good for the power of the playback system, I set out to figure out how to center that easily.
At first I was using Izotope Ozone to adjust the stereo spread of the low end of the mix. It honestly worked perfectly fine, but that particular plugin makes my system run terribly. I often have to change my playback settings to keep the system all on the same page, and that’s just frustrating and makes my rig run sluggish. I considered buying the Advanced version of Ozone, but the price tag is insane for what I’m trying to achieve. There are definitely cheaper alternatives, and I was sure I could find one for free.
Then it dawned on me that I could use midside processing to remove the bass from the sides which would align the bass to the center. You can split the signal into what’s in the center and what is on the sides, and then remove the bass from the sides with a high pass filter leaving only bass in the center. I was really hip on that idea and nearly settled for that being my solution, but then I realized one fatal flaw in that method. Sometimes I get beats that are mixed TERRIBLY. They’ve got all kinds of crazy things going on, and one of the common ones is the bass being panned all the way to one side. 808′s and bass synths or whatever have no place over there, but they still end up there. Well, it dawned on me that if I just low cut the sides, that I could end up with no bass at all! Totally not what I was going for.
This is when I started to look into different plugins that I maybe hadn’t used before or had never heard of. Some searching on Google lead me to some free VST’s that were for PC only, and some paid ones that were a bit too high priced for me to justify for such a simple and mundane task. I wondered if I could use any of my current plugins in a different way that I hadn’t thought. My go to plugin for situations like this is Guitar Rig by Native Instruments. You can build so many amazing things inside of it by using their effect modules to make something bigger. So I decided to dive in and see if I could easily set up a mono summing section for bass.
This is a great example of how customizable Guitar Rig and how useful of a resource it can be in studio work. I’ve got a handful of presets that I use to tackle different things on a regular basis and I’ll be sharing those as well over the next few weeks.