Compression Bass

Bob Katz Leave a Comment

Hello Bob,

First of all, Thank you for sharing your wisdom and for your help to this music world.

My Question:

Sometimes when i design sound effects that have a lot of low freqencies, the low freq sound confused, not densed or straight.

So, first question, do you know what i’m talking about? This phenomena has a name?

Yes, Tom, it’s called “too dense and confused”. But seriously, I suggest you get as accurate and wide-range a monitor system as possible. It will help you settle out what’s the problem in your mix. Probably you have two or more effects both working at the same frequency range, which causes masking and muddiness. The solution is often to equalize out the competing frequencies, so only one instrument or effect works in the same range. This is a problem with arrangement, fundamentally your concept needs work. Similarly when a bass and bass drum work together, they complement each other and when they work in the same frequency range, they can conflict and add up. 

I noticed that the only thing for me that solved it, was compressing almost limiting, above 10 ratio, with very very little amount of threshold. Usually i’m trying not to effect the dynamics over time of the sample with the attack and release. It seems the compressor kind of make the low freq more Fundamental.

Many times for example I used it on very processed kinda noise that i used as if it was my kick sound, so on this very short sample the compressor probably isnt working as the typical “fader riding” usually used in longer sounds.

What am i doing? is this the way to do it?

Honestly I don’t know. I’ve not encountered this solution, but if it works for you, go for it. Send me some samples and I’ll study them. 

If i’m making a kick from a sine wave, usually i dont even require this compression because the low freq sounds perfect for me.

Also, When i hear low freq in reality it never sound neither confused nor compressed, just real and natural 🙂

Welcome to the world of artificial reality.

I used to work near machines that sounded with a lot of low freq. I think i never heard a recorded audio material that captured that low freq behavior.

You should hear my shuttle launch recording. I need about 50,000 more watts to sound realistic. The ear is insensitive to low frequency sounds, so they require much more power than many systems can deliver.

Would love your knowledge on this,

Thank you very much


My pleasure. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some educated guesses 🙂


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