QUICK TIP: TIGHTING UP KICKS

advice low end mastering tips

We all want that big, thumping kick going on. But sometimes it's quite hard to do because you might have a few different instruments working in that area, getting in the way of each other.

The way I approach this is I forget about what's doing what and who's doing what in the low end. I'm listening to this whole sound of kick – not to the individual instruments – which goes anywhere from like 20 Hertz up to about 100 Hertz, and around the outside too. What I do is get that, so it's a bit tighter. For me, it's more about the punch. It doesn't mean that I have to do loads of cuts, but one cut that I suggest you do is a super low cut about 20 Hertz.

Everyone used to cut 40 Hertz back in the day because that meant that you'd get more onto the vinyl and get it louder. It was standard procedure for pop music. But these days more subs and stuff are happening in the low end. So you can't do a cut that high up. You want to cut around 20 Hertz so that it keeps that bottom end. There's stuff happening in below 20 Hertz you can't hear. The speakers aren't going to play back well if it's there, so you're better off just putting that cut on and keep it nice and clean there.

You might think this is mental, but what I do is, even if I've got loads of low end, I add some more anyway. I EQ into that area so I can pick a frequency around wherever I want to be: whether it's 50 Hertz or 70 Hertz. So I'm pulling out the frequency of that sharp bit that I want to do, then I get it with a compressor and crush it together. I don't care if it's too flabby, because by the time I spike it up, crush it down, and put it together, I've got a perfect smacking bottom end.

It's an interesting technique, and I think you should give it a try. But it's not something I would suggest if you're a mix engineer since you have to do it after you've done your mixing. If you are mastering your own things or if you're a mastering engineer, then it'll get the low end thumpy and tight. It's my speciality, and I love doing that. I've been doing it forever, and I can really clean out the low end.



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