How to Boost, Compress, and Tweak the Bass for Added Punch

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Mixing bass guitar is always a challenge. Too much bass can muddy the mix, eat up headroom, and drown out everything else. But too little bass can make a mix sound thin, not to mention that a lot of a song’s energy can be in the bass frequencies. There’s no magic formula that will always get you a great bass sound that fits perfectly in your mix, but here are three suggestions to get you started:

  • Add a slight boost around 80 – 100Hz. This is where a lot of the energy of the bass sits, and is a good place to punch it up, while being lower than all but the most detuned guitars and sub-frequency synth tones.
  • Keep the bass under control with compression, especially if you’ve added an EQ boost. A compressor can help keep the bass from getting boomy, and evening out the level will help you mix it more prominently in the mix, without it taking over.
  • Consider using transient-shaper hardware or plug-ins, such as the Softube Transient Shaper, SPL Transient Designer, Sonnox Envolution, or others. A transient shaper gives you a lot of control over the attack, punch, and sustain of a tone. A transient shaper is a great way to customize a bass to fit right in the pocket of your mix.