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Making Bass Cut Through [8 Production Tips]

At PML, we love sharing our production tips with you. Today we've prepared for you 8 tips we found useful.

1. Making bass cut through

To make your bass cut through better, split it into two tracks. Use one track to play sub frequencies (lowpass everything below 60 Hz with EQ8) and another one to play harmonics (highpass at 60 Hz). Then make sure your sub frequencies are mono and stereo enhance the harmonics.

2. Jazz up your chords

To give your chords a more jazzy feel, try these techniques:

- Extend them into 7th, 9th, 11th or 13th chords for that lush sound

- Invert your chords to make them sound more interesting

- Nudge your MIDI notes’ positions and velocities to emulate the sound of a piano player

- Get creative with syncopated & unconventional rhythms

3. Sample selection

Taking the time to pick out good samples can really improve your sound. Try out going through your sample libraries and picking out favorites. That way you’ll have the „ultimate sample pack”. Having the best sounds in one folder can really speed up your process when making drum patterns. Remember to categorize your samples in subfolders for easy access.

4. Kontakt Libraries

If you’re aiming at a more „live” feel in your tracks, then try using Kontakt. Its libraries are used in a lot of movie soundtracks and the quality of some instruments is outstanding. There’s plenty of free libraries to emulate string instruments, guitars, brass instruments and a lot more.

5. Use foley textures to add rhythm

Automate the velocity of long foley recordings such as cassette noise to create rhythmic patterns. Try out mixing together sounds of keys, rain, vinyl surface noise etc. for original textures. In Ableton Live you can do that by using the „Max For Live LFO” effect to automate the track’s volume. 

6. Learn from the best

Take the advantage of live streaming producers like Deadmau5 and see what their tricks are. Try to also find tips and tricks in artist interviews, Reddit AMAs, or on their social media. You will find out not only what their production process is but also what their stories are. When you see that other producers started out not making hits you realize everything’s possible.

7. Use Utility’s „Width”

Utility has a very handy option for balancing center/side frequencies. You can use it to:

- make sure your bass frequencies are all mono (0% Width)

- bring a „too heavily panned” percussion pattern closer to the center

- bring additional samples to the sides when layering drums (to make the overall sound wider) 

8. Smoothen vocal chops

To smoothen a looped vocal lead, try applying reverb. Use its Dry/Wet knob to achieve a balance between having a smooth vocal lead and losing the vocal’s character. Once you’ve found a good setting, record a long note onto another Audio track and put it in a Simpler to play a melody.

What are your own production tricks? Post them under our Facebook post so others can benefit.

Good luck with your production. See you in the next articles!

k pizza author soundcloud


I’m k-pizza, a music maker who likes to share his experiences with other producers. I’m regularly going to show up with music and content at PML.

Listen: https://souncloud.com/k-pizza


Learn more about preparing your mix:

NEW PML 5h+ Course: Mixing A Track From Scratch in Ableton (with stock effects)



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