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I'm currently working on keyboards for a metal album and I should provide a low frequency sample which would be used in making a LF boom in mixing stage. For example Strapping Young Lad is known for this kind of effect where so much low frequency material is fed to the master compressor that you can hear it compressing/limiting the mix quickly and then releasing slowly. I'd like to know what kind of a sample would be best suited for this? Bass drum sample perhaps? At what frequency area should it peak most: 60, 80, 100 hz?
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I think the effect you are talking about is generally considered undesirable. Bill@WelcomeHomeStudios would probably be a good person to comment on this. Basically, what you are talking about, is when an overall mix is OVER compressed, and the kick drum causes the rest of the mix to sound like it's "throbbing" to the beat, because everytime the bass hits, it forces everything else to sort of cut out.


That's the phenomenon - can't comment as to frequency or relative levels. I would say just mix the kick hot and set the compressor threshold low, but I haven't "tried" to achieve that and don't know anybody who would WANT that sound - it's generally a really bad mix.



Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Heh, I'm sure it's generally considered undesireable (like many other things in the extreme genre of metal) but that's exactly what I'm talking about. Matter of opinions, really, because I for instance think it sounds great.


But, because it is just used as an effect (two single times during a whole album in this case) you can't attain it just by mixing the kick hot. When master compressor releases, you must hear kick coming in "normally" with the rest of the instruments. That is for me the hard part in creating the sound (subsonic explosion of some kind?) that helps achieving it.


Tusker, check out Strapping Young Lads album City if you're interested.

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Don't know the album, but I think I get what you're after. Personally, I would try a couple of things:


1) Layer a bass drum sample with a couple of copies of itself transposed at lower frequencies (like, a fourth lower). You might have to strip the attack out of the copies, to avoid ugly double attacks. This way, you'll have the original attack plus a powerful low frequency sustain.


2) Add reverb, with exaggerated predelay and all high frequencies cut out. You might experiment with a gate so the sound doesn't continue for 5 minutes. :)


3) If you find that the attack portion is too weak, try adding a snare drum sample, transposed a fifth downward, or even more.

(in the old times, you would have done it with white noise, a bandpass filter with resonance, and and an envelope... but that's another story :D )


4) "Tweak it until it sounds right". That's Carlo's first law of programming. :)





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