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How to gauge the low end when mixing

June 16, 2012

Mixing the low end is probably the hardest thing to get right in any mix; over-boosting it will result in a horrible boomy mess, and cutting it too much will result in a mix with a lack of punch. For the home studio enthusiast like myself, gauging the low end on monitors with 5 inch drivers is pretty hard, but even with smaller drivers, you can still get some idea on what the low end is doing in your mix.

Let’s discuss the simple science of it all. When you see a waveform of bassy content, it’s long and smooth in shape, contrasted to high end content where the waveform is a lot more compact and jagged. This is because low end frequencies can travel far further than those of high end frequencies, which is why you hear the bassy rumble when you walk past a nightclub and don’t hear the high end as much.

When I mix, I tend to sit back from my monitors by about 5-6ft every so often just to hear what the low end’s doing. By sitting back from your monitors, you’re letting the low end develop some more and sitting in a position where most music consumers would probably listen to music on their sound systems at home. This takes out the immediate high frequency content when sitting close to your monitors, and should give you more idea whether you need to boost or cut the low end more.

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