Getting Clarity Out of the Bass Guitar You Didn’t Even Know That You Had

I’ve got a subtle one for you today.  But as with everything in mixing, a million small changes add up to one massive sounding mix.  This one helps improve the phase relationship between your bass mic and DI signals.  In doing so, it’s creates a bit more clarity and power.  Let’s start!:

So here you’ve got your two bass tracks.  DI on top, amp on bottom.

Bass Phase 1

Step 1:  Find a note that is hit clearly and is preceded either by silence or by a long, fading note.  The beginning of the song or the beginning of a new section of the song is usually a good place to look.  Zoom in really far on this one note.

Bass Phase 2

Step 2:  Set your counter to “Samples”.  Now check out where the note starts in each track.  In this particular example, the bass DI is 37 samples ahead of the bass mic.  The DI will always be the one ahead, it’s just a matter of finding out how far.  Play with your zoom to make sure you’ve highlighted the exact lag time between the start of the note in the DI track and the start of the note in the mic track.

Bass Phase 3

Step 3:  Pull up your TimeAdjuster plugin (or whatever delay plugin you have that lets you adjust down to sample accuracy).  Delay your Bass DI signal by the amount that you found in Step 2.  Then check your phase by flipping the phase button on and off.  Which one shakes your booty more?  Go with that one.

Bass Phase 4

Voila, done. You may notice that notes tend to be a bit more clear and the bass feels less “blurred”.  Always remember that phase coherency in your mix is critically important, never skimp on it!

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