Last updated on September 14, 2018 by Rob Mayzes

In this video, you’ll learn a super quick trick that uses split processing. It’s really fast and easy to do, and in the right context it can instantly improve your kick or your bass.

You can even use it on the toms, snare, and a bunch of other stuff! If you want your kick or bass to sound powerful, but also stick out on small speakers, watch now.

 

In this video, you’ll learn a super quick trick that uses split processing.

It’s really fast and easy to do.

And in the right context, it can instantly improve your kick, or your bass, and even the Tom snare, and a bunch of other stuff.

So if you want your kick or bass sound powerful, but at the same time standout on smooth speakers, keep watching.

But first, download the free low end cheat sheets to make sure you get the kick and bass right every single time.

There’s a link in the bio or on the screen now.

[Music]

Hey, guys. How’s it going?

Rob here from Musician on a Mission and today I have got a bit more of an advanced technique for you.

So quick disclaimer: make sure you have the basics down first before you think about something like this split processing or parallel compression or other interesting techniques like that.

Now this Split Processing trick is simply the act of splitting a source, whether that’s a kick or a snare by frequency.

So we can have a crossover say 200 hertz and then we split into two channels. So we have the top end on one channel and the bottom end on another channel.

You could split into more. You could split into three or four, but I normally just do this with two.

So this is how you actually set up in a mix.

Well, first, we need to take our original kick channel and need to duplicate it.

So if we go to the project view, highlight this and in logic we can hold command while we click this and it will also copy the audio.

So we can call this one Kick high. Not Kick Hugh. Who’s Hugh? Definitely don’t kick him and Kick low.

Now what we want to do is actually filter this. So we’ve just got a duplicate of the kick at the moment.

So we want to take this one and add a low pass filter at around 200 hertz. So we’ve only got everything below 200 hertz.

And then on the other one, we want to do the opposite. So we add a high pass filter at 200 hertz.

So now when we listen to these together, it sounds like the normal kick drum. That’s both of them and this is with just the original one with no filtering.

So as you can hear, it’s pretty much the same.

So now that you have these two separate channels, let me give you some ideas for what you can actually do with this.

Here we’ve done it on a kick drum.

So on the low channel, maybe we could add some heavy compression to make sure that the lows are really consistent at providing a nice solid foundation to the track.

But at the same time, we leave the highs uncompress, which means the actual dynamics of the kick drum is still going to be there if it goes through a soft part.

And the song is going to actually sound quieter and in the course it’s going to be boom, boom, boom.

It’s going to sound louder, but the low end just sounds consistent and we can heavily compress it to achieve that effect.

Then what about some EQ? Well, that means we can leave this low end as it is just maybe no EQ at all on the top end.

We might want to just add a little bump to help the beater come out and this means now that low end isn’t going to be affected by that.

Now I find myself using EQ with this trick more often on bass guitar if I want to have again the low end more consistent and then I want to bring out the upper mids to help it cut through on this higher channel.

And then you can do crazy with it. You could try add saturation. Again, I do this all the time.

So here I will boost the upper mids to help it cut through the small speakers and then add saturation only to the high channel so that we are not saturate in this low end.

This is nice, and solid, and consistent, and unprocessed, and clean and then its high channel we can add some of the mids.

We can make it dirty with some saturation. Make it some really nice and juicy and have fun with it.

You can even throw effects on this channel.

So I could use reverb only on the high channel so the kick low stays without reverb nice and center and focused.

But we still have reverb on the kick on this high channel.

So now I’m going to walk you through a few examples of actually applying this in a mix.

Let’s just get rid of this boost and we are going to start with the kick drum here because I had already set that up.

So we’ll first let’s take a listen to the track that we are working with.

The author is David Tyo. The track is called It’s So Easy To Love You and it’s kind of an indie folk vibe to it.

[Music]

And let’s just check a couple of references to kind of tune your ears in.

So I have got a Vance Joy and Mumford & Sons song. Of course, obvious choices to go for.

Let’s have a quick comparison.

[Music]

So I don’t know if you notice any stark differences there comparing them.

There is a big difference in energy. The other two tracks have got a bit of a high tempo, a bit more energy.

So we can try and some more energy in the mixing process, but it’s a slightly different vibe to it.

And the big thing I notice is in these two tracks Vance Joy and Mumford & Sons, the kick drum is so permanent, it’s providing most of that low end.

It’s really loud to such a bit of reverb on it to focus on that kick drum is a flick back and forth between these two references.

[Music]

The other track.
[Music]

Not as loud, but it’s providing lot of that low in foundation. There is not much going on down there.

So right now I think the kick in our tracks sounds a little bit thin and wimpy.

[Music]

It’s there, but it’s really not adding much low end. So let’s start playing around with this.

Well, the first thing we can do is just compress the low end and not the top end.

So you might be wondering at this point well, how is that any different to using most band compressor?

And you’d be right.

There is no difference if all you want to do is compress a certain range of frequencies like below 200 hertz differently to say above 200 hertz , then you could just do that with the most band compressor.

The benefit of this trick is we can then add EQ, saturation etc., and we have a bit more control over it.

So it really just depends on the context.

What I’m going to do here though is use the compressor to just really tighten up this low-end channel to get it pump in in the mix.

[Music]

So what I’m doing here is just tweaking it until I can hear this punching through a little bit more and it’s also more consistent.

That’s the main thing we are going for is consistency and just the act of adding compression is going to make it more consistent.

So I’ve got quite a high ratio, quite a lot compression going on, making up the gain and just tweaking it so I can release it.

So it’s punching through the mix a little bit more. So this is before.

[Music]

And this is after.

[Music]

So that’s better. It sounds more consistent.

Now I am also going to use waves all bass on this because it sounded a bit thin.

And rather than just using an EQ to boost 50 hertz, for example, which wouldn’t work that well because there is probably not much going on there.

I can use something like all bass really cheap plug-in. I use this all the time to actually add in new harmonics on the low end.

So this is what it does. If we solo the kick, this is without it.

[Music]

And this is with. I’m just going to turn off that reverb now.

[Music]

So you can hear it adding that low end.

Let’s just solo just the low end channel. So this is without.

[Music]

This is with.

[Music]

Now that’s way over the top. So we’re going to come out solo.

Let’s do this in the context of the mix and I’m thinking around 60 hertz would pretty work.

So I’m going to stop by adjusting the intensity until it’s adding more bottom, but it’s not really clogging up the bass drum and making the sound distorted.

And then we can play the frequency afterwards.

[Music]

So let’s have a quick listen to the references and see how they sound.

[Music]

So I think we have definitely gone a bit too low.

Sounds like in this drummer, we probably want to avoid really heavy sob bass content because it’s not electronic music.

It’s meant to [indiscernible 00:08:36].

So let’s this pull this up a bit.

[Music]

So that’s great. That’s just on in a little bit more bottom, but it’s not over the top.

Now this is what I find myself doing most frequently is just tightening up that bottom end so that we have a more consistent low-end.

And the top end of this kick is going up still be dynamic. It’s still going to sound natural musical.

So in this genre of music, it’s great because I want there to be variation in the dynamics of the kick.

I don’t want it to be really heavily compressed like hard rock sounding kick or don’t want it to be too consistent like electronic music.

We still want dynamics in there, but now we’ve got that tight low end with the dynamics, which is great.

You can do that on bass guitar too and it’s really, really effective.

So that’s technique number one.

Now the second way you can use this trick is to enhance presence on small speakers.

And now that we’ve got this high kick channel, we can make sure this is going to cut through on lots of speakers that kind of stuff by adding some saturation and may be a bit of EQ.

And it really is that easy.

So if we again in the context of mix add some saturation just until the kick drum is poking out of the track a little bit more but without sounding really distorted.

So for that you can use any saturation.

So I’m using FabFilter Saturn. But there’s lots of free saturation tools out there.

Because we’ve already got this on a separate channel, you don’t even need a tone control because we are only going to be saturating the everything above 200 hertz anyways.

So it’s not going to affect the low end too much.

[Music]

So I’m going to tighten this up a little bit more.

Focus on the click of the kick drum.

[indiscernible 00:10:36] really poke out a lot more since we bring the saturation in.

So whether the beaters hit in the click drum, focus on that.

[Music]

Really brings out. So I’m going to dull that back a bit until I’m happy with how much the kick is poking out.

[Music]

And you could do the same with EQ.

So if you want to bring that beater up even more, we can just use the same EQ and just find where it is.

[Music]

So again, that just brings up that beater a little bit more.

And then we can just volume balance the two until we got enough presence in the mix, enough low-end.

And it’s nice just to have those two fader set to be able to balance these two elements on different channels without having to focus on doing it all on one channel.

[Music]

And there we go. Pretty cool.

Now you want to be careful that you don’t focus so much on making sure that the kick and the bass cut through small speakers that you neglect how the low end will sound on a bigger speaker system.

Here we are kind of dabbling on that.

But again grab that low end cheat sheet because it will really help with that part and making sure that your mix is always some great on bigger speaker systems too.

Okay.

So moving on now to the third technique, get creative with it.

So now that we’ve got these split channels, we can start to use effects on each of them.

So in a lot of indie folk music, there’s actually reverb on the kick drum.

Now we could try adding reverb to the low end part.

But I already have some reverb hit on the top end part just from where I copied across earlier.

So we are going to focus on that now and we could even try adding some more interesting effects as well.

So let’s solo the kick drum. So this is with no reverb.

[Music]

This is with reverb on both.

[Music]

And this is with reverb only on the high channel.

[Music]

So one is not better than the other.

Generally, you want to avoid using reverb on low end parts like the bass and the kicks.

We want them sound really tight.

So in a lot of rock music if you do you want a bit of reverb on the kick, this is a great way to do it.

In this context, I think it might actually sound good with a bit of reverb on both of them anyway.

So I’m going to stop by just passing these together so that I don’t have to keep mixing them separately if I want to add reverb.

So now here we’ve just got an Oaks, which is our whole kick drum, so kick and we can bring that next to these.

So now if we do want to do anything on the entire kick drum, we want to add more EQ, anything like that, we can just do on this channel because they both go in to that.

And we just want to make sure this is then routed to our percussion bus.

So let us try adding reverb and I’ve just got a room reverb set up ready to the whole kick drum.

[Music]

Now let’s compare that to only having it on the top end part.

[Music]

So that is much subtle that it is adding space to the kick without making it sound too boomy, and then in comparison this is with it on the low end channel.

[Music]

So it’s adding quite a lot of space.

So it’s also a bit boomy and a bit muddy.

So I’m just going to flick through these a few times until I can decide which I prefer in this context.

[Music]

So I prefer just on the high channel, it’s subtle. It’s adding space to the kick.

It’s creating that kind of more reverb sound that we expect to hear of this drummer.

But at the same time, it is not adding mud or mess to the mix.

Now beyond that if you are doing this on a Tom or something like that where you’re trying to make it sound really big and epic, you could even try adding some flanging to it.

You could get a bit more creative with it.

We could try using some chorus to see how that sounds.

[Music]

And you could even start using automation, so we could create another boss just for this reverb.

So we could create a whole new reverb and call this Kick verb.

And now we can just copy this across so that we’ve got that same reverb sound.

But let’s try adding some interesting stuff here. So we could just add some chorus.

Of course, it’s a great way to just beef up your reverb buses and just get creative with it.

Have some fun. Not everything has to be stereo and done properly when you’re mixing.

When it comes to effects, you can really, really get creative with it.

So let’s just solo this.

[Music]

Sounds pretty bad in solo, but let’s see if we can get this to sound interesting in the mix.

[Music]

So it just sounds a little bit different.

This is how the kick sounded with just normal reverb going to the room reverb bus.

[Music]

And this is how it sounds with this new reverb bus. This only apply to the high channel.

[Music]

Big difference and in the mix…

[Music]

…just makes the kick fill out that stair to spread a little bit more.

I’m not sure if I leave that in, but feel free to experiment with this.

Give it a try, because I often find the funniest parts of mixing are just playing around with the effects and see if you can get some really cool effect throws and spot effects and all of that jazz.

[Music]

So there you go.

The split processing trick, use that to beef up your kick and your bass to enhance presence on small speakers or just to get really creative with effects.

Of course, there is a lot more that goes into getting a great low end than just a simple trick like this.

You really need to make sure the relationship between the kick and the bass is right.

If you want that low end to be consistent and strong, then you need to think about way more than just this one trick.

So make sure you go and download that low end cheat sheet that is going to run you through a bunch of other tips and techniques for getting the low end right every single time.

And of course, if you are new here, don’t forget to subscribe and hit the notification bell.

So that’s all from me.

I’m Rob from Musician on a Mission, and remember, Create Regardless.

[Music]

 

Audio professional, musician and founder of Musician on a Mission.

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