Sub-bass sounds are those approximately below 60 Hz and extending downward to include the lowest frequency humans can hear, typically 20 Hz. In this range, human hearing is not very sensitive, so sounds in this range tend to be felt more than heard. Sound systems often feature one or more subwoofer loudspeakers that are dedicated solely to amplifying sounds in the sub-bass range. Hearing sub-bass sounds on headphones is rarely possible.
If your kick drum has no bottom end, then it is possible to modify the kick to add more frequency content. There are a few ways to do this. The first is the SubBass plug-in in Logic Pro which takes a specified part of the audio signal’s frequency spectrum and synthesizes sine tones at frequencies below the analyzed frequency.
It is fairly easy to over-use and can create low-end problems, such as clipping if used carelessly. Ideally, you would work on this unit using near field monitors.
For our purposes in class, we will use headphones and a kick sample that can audibly use more bass frequency.
Load Eternity Kick Beat into your Logic Audio track. Turn off all FX that pop up automatically.
Loop it and then turn on Cycle mode so that you can let the loop repeat itself as you work on adding sub bass
Add a SUB BASS FX to the drum track. It can be found under SPECIALIZED.
Logic’s SubBass plug-in is actually synthesizing two sets of sub-bass tones in its default setting... you will see two waveforms in the window. You will only need one for now...
Move the Frequency Mix slider fully down so that only Low subBass is heard.
A ratio of 2 means that frequencies will be synthesized at half the analyzed frequency i.e. one octave below – so this is the right setting!
The kick sound will be analyzed and a sine wave tone will be produced one octave lower.
A ‘Center’ frequency of 130 Hz and Bandwidth of 0.26 Octave means that only frequencies within a quarter of an octave range centred on 130 Hz will be analyzed – so with a ratio of 2 the main frequencies synthesized will be at around 65 Hz. (half of 130HZ)
Keep the bandwidth quite narrow otherwise the SubBass plug-in will synthesize sine tones based on harmonics (or upper partials) of the recorded kick track.
Listen carefully to the change.
If you turn down the Output to 0% you will hear exactly what is being added to your sound.
If it is clipping, drop the Wet signal until it clears it up.
If you want a deeper pitch, go back and lower the center frequency.
Understand that the number of hertz shown is what is being analyzed. You will then be adding a frequency half the hertz. So... move it down to 60 and you will get 30 Hz.
Bring your output back up to max to hear the result.
Consider turning the Sub Bass on and off to hear the difference.
Be careful, when you mix your song with the Sub Bass, don’t over do it. It may overpower your mix when you finally listen to it on a good sound system.
If you want to add another frequency to boost, use the HIGH settings. Make sure the Frequency is far enough away from the LOW settings or you will get phase cancellation and lose the sub bass effect.
Back in the day when Sub Bass Plugins had not been invented, Gates were used to trigger sine waves to fire when another sound, such as a kick was played. This technique is very important to understand because it can be used to augment other types of sounds in addition to just supporting a bad kick sound.
Use the same drum sample as before “Eternity Kick Beat” Option drag it to new empty audio track. Name it Second Example. Remove or turn off all FX on the track. Mute the first track and for now mute the second track.
Create a third new Audio Track and call it GATE
Load Utility > Test Oscillator into the FX input on the new Gate track. You will want to grab the Level and drop it... this plugin plays without any input control, this is why we use it.
Insert a Dynamics > Noise Gate plug-in on the same channel as the Test Oscillator, then connect its side chain input to the second Kick Track you created. (Mine was called Second Example.) You will hear the pitch start to make beeping sounds. Adjust the threshold of the Noise Gate so that it only opens when the kick drum plays. If you are getting some random gate openings, consider lowering the high cut so that no high frequencies trigger the gate.
Drop the Pitch of the oscillator to around 50 Hz if you haven’t done so already.
Before you un mute the second track, adjust the Attack and Release to get the low pitch to sound more realistic... then... un-mute the “Second Example track.” Adjust the volume of your gated track and mess with the frequency of the Text Oscillator.
Press Solo on Track 1 and hear the difference. I find that using the Gate gives me more control and a fatter sound... just my opinion.
Once you get the sound you like, bounce it out and post.
Before you move on, Change the Waveform in the Test Oscillator to White Noise.
This trick is being used to give a bite to kicks. The goal is to hear a very short
flick of white noise just before the kick fires. To do so you need to adjust a few settings.
Play with the High Cut and Low Cut, as well as the attack and release. These were my settings:
- Add the Gate
- Sounds best on Nearfields with Sub.