Bass and Guitar Treatment


Gear Gods presents Studio Pass: Kurt Ballou


Lesson Info

Bass and Guitar Treatment

Based treatment um let's go back to the base guitar and touched on this earlier but I want to talk about some of the independent treatment of the base microphone and the base sub now the base microphone when it's a heavily distorted signal like this I won't typically do any processing on that at the pre mixed phase aside from sending this to some sort of a reverb um and not and using using that sparingly I will however particularly with someone like kenny who's playing sort of all over the fretboard he's got some high stuff he's got some low stuff I want to convey maintain some sort of continual bottom end so I will process the sub mike if the subject is not already many cute I might do something q to exaggerate the bottom end on it I believe that it is sending okay at this point so good amount of sub coming off that not too much trouble I could low pass it some more if I wanted to but I'm not going bother with that right now but what I am going to do actually know what I am gonna both...

er with that right now and I'll get to that second um the first thing I'm gonna do with this is, um is uh I'm gonna start thinking about not just the base tone but the bottom and as a whole so as as I said earlier I feel like in any mix you don't want your low into come from too many sources. Obviously, the bass drum has a lot of bottom, and in the bass guitar has a lot of bottom in you don't need to have a lot of ottoman from your vocals or your overheads, or or your guitar, if, if the bass drum and the bass guitar have a lot of bottom in, but because the bass guitar and the bass and drum are sharing space in that bottom in, you want to make sure those two things work together and there's a lot of things you can do to make the bass guitar and the bass drum work together, some people just choose too high, pass the bass guitar like, eighty hurts, and then let the bass drum take care of all the bottom, and some people choose to do the other thing. Let the bass guitar, you know, all the bottom end and high, pass the bass drum and just make the base from a bang, and not a not a deep thud. Other people will set up some sort of master fader ox master bus master on a console or whatever to combine the bass drum and the bass guitar single on a shared fader, and then compress that fader as a group, so you have bass drum and bass guitar group compression so as the bass drum comes in, the bass guitar will essentially duck out of the way to make space for the bass drum I'm going to do that a little bit differently and my favorite technique for that recently has been a side change compressor on the bass guitar keyed off of the bass drum so in a way which I handle that is gonna go up to the bass drum when take the kick turbo track because that's the shortest track just the attack I don't care about the tone of the of the side change single that I'm going to send to the bass guitar I just care about where it happens in time so now I'm going to let's just give it some arbitrary bus bus twelve isn't used someone used bus twelve set pre fader and I'll click on the fader just to return it to zero now thea, I'm sending from the kick terrible mike out bus twelve at zero decibels and its pre fader sent okay now let's go down to the base sub track and on the first insert of the base sub track I'm going to put a dynamic plug in which will be let's just use the stock dj dan and plug in okay so bypass this thing for a second and listen to our bass guitar some track again okay now on this particular compressor and not all compressors have this feature, which is one of reasons why shows the did you want I'm going to make my key and put bus twelve and now in a side chain I'm going to select key input and I'm also gonna have little speaker button which lets us monitor the key inputs and now I still have the base sub tract solo but I'm monitoring the key and put on my past so bass drum signal is feeding into the side change so all compressors have what's called a detector path and an audio path. So essentially if you want to think about in simple terms when audio comes into a compressor, it's split into two paths there's a path which is the audio which will be processed by the compressor and then there's another path which is audio that tells the compressor what to do and that's the detector path. So whenever you hear something about a side chain that is a way to have access to the detector side of the compressor it's a lot of tricks you could do with that you can e q the detector path in your side chain you can key it from an external source like a bass drum you can even make your own tremolo effect. For example, if you have a click track, you can feed the click track into the side of the compressor and make a guitar have a tremolo sound by feeding to click into it a lot of stuff he could do what I'm going to use right now is a ducker effect so half the bass drum feeding into the compressor on the base sub track and let's stop listening to the side chain and now let's start going to do it kind of heavy handed at first but let's start compressing the bass guitar sub off of the bass drum it's going to sound kind of weird on its own, but when you put it in the context of the mix it will cause the sub portion of the base to get out of the way the bass drum every time the base hits so it's pretty handed and pretty heavy handed and kind of cliquey right now sort of the nature of that the clicks you actually won't notice if if you bring the bass drum and you'll actually hear those clicks actually might add a little bit of attack to the bass drum so it could be beneficial. But now I'm going to I said earlier that I wasn't going to use any q on this track, but I think I'm actually going to bring in something new now just because of those clicks I don't really need any high end on this sub track and the clicks are happening in the high frequencies so let's just low pass this thing and get rid of those cliques. So with these both of these things bypassed so sounds mangled and fluttery but let's hear that in combination with the bass drum and the bass mike, you don't really discern it is being fluttery once you start putting it in context and the reason to do this is now your bottom and is going to be a little bit more steady. And, um it will not tax any stereo bus processing you do at the end of your mix or any of the stereo bus processing done at the mastering phase nearly as much. Those compressors won't be working is harder, so they will sound more transparent. Um, additionally, you may choose to put an additional compressor after this q and let's uh, let's do that what we have c t five I'll throw that on there. This one is not for ducking purposes. This one is now for controlling the range of the bass guitar based on where is playing on the next wave, this compressor also has a blend control so we can kind of wet dry a little bit. All right, so hopefully that will sound huge in the context of the mix um all right, let's, go back to slides here, the keynote and uh, we have next now we'll talk about some guitar treatment we touched on this some of these concepts a little bit earlier think yesterday and let's go into some more detail about the now um so I'm gonna go back I'm actually going tio drop the volume down on the forty four and the s and fifty seven since I'm since I didn't use those in the final mix for the song and let's just let's just listen to the end twenty two again okay? So that's sounding pretty cool but let's do a couple of little things I don't think that I actually needed a ton of q on these things in the next one is going to demonstrate a couple of principles that you can use in pro tools s o one is a high pass filter and let's do kind of a steep high high pass filter this time and see where do we start like losing information that we like and where we can we can lose a ton of this low and information rumble and stuff it's not really contributing to the tone of the guitar that's just kind of getting in the way and muddying up the overall bottom in so let's find out where that spot is it's important to do this on monitors you're comfortable with and that have a reasonable amount of low frequency extension otherwise you can't really make good decisions about this kind of stuff I'm not familiar with these monitors so I can't make a great decision right now but typically you know, somewhere around one hundred hertz might be a place that I would hae pass a guitar it's more of like a rock song like this is you might go a little higher ifit's metal song, you might go a little lower. It really just depends on how you want the guitar to interact with the bass guitar and drums. So let's, do a little bit of, say, let's, say, around a hundred ish, leave that there, and then let's say, you have a super sicily guitar town fact, you know what? I'm going to go to aa randall's guitar for second, which is the left side, and move the cq over there because his his tone he was playing out of the same cabinet with same microphones in the same guitar, but we used a different head with him, and I think his head was little cecilia lead stuff to get us a meat, potatoes cool so let's, find out where that guitar is really sizzle, usually somewhere around eleven k with guitar sometimes a little lower, sometimes little higher, but we could do a little now that we have boosted at that frequency to find where the sizzle is, we can then cut at the same frequency to remove some so it's a subtle thing and it's actually not super important with this particular good tower guitar sam but if I was recording out of say like a duel rectifier or something like that it would have a whole lot more sizzle and it would be pretty crucial if I was for this song to get the sicily component of the guitar out of the way of the symbols uh yeah, okay, one other thing about human guitar and queuing base is something I like to do to give them their own spaces dial in one one instrument or the other first and if I find that I'm cutting base at a certain frequency I might try boosting guitar at the same frequency or from, you know, boosting base in one spot I'll try cutting guitar on that spot so rather than like building up a whole bunch of one frequency in those two instruments give them their own space by doing opposite cutting and boosting between the two and then you can mix both of them lower and they'll still have their own space I don't really have any audio examples of that prepared um but that's something I like to do uh okay, I already mentioned bus compressing the guitars I think actually I don't have any guitar overdubs in this song so it's not a great example but I will I do like to set up bus compression on the guitars if this guitar overdubs just as a way to auto auto mix them and sometimes I can also do a little bit of reverb on each guitar if there's not already room tracks to give it a sense of realism or if you want that sort of guitars in a well kind of sound for some reason actually know what it's a good opportunity tio plus another one of my convolutions so that, uh that lead part that randall's playing it's pretty stylized on it's pretty trashy let's try um let's try adding a little bit of one of my spring rivers in there so to make a mano oh um actually make it to make a stereo a case you know making mano uh ox input and ah simon output of that to rot tracks assigning input to say bus fifteen and then um let's send some of this guitar out bus fifteen and uh just for now let's make it a pre fader send so that I can solo just the reverb and let's call that get verb and let's put our trusty uh ha fa reverb on there and I'm gonna use the one that converts on incoming mon a signal to a stereo output this way only I only need a monos and into the river to get a stereo output and, uh let me load up my um where did you go on death top uh have my incredible of course and reverb impulses. And I've got three different spring rivers here. This the furman, the pv in the roland and roll, is probably my favorite, although they're both pretty cool. So let's, take a listen to what, sending some guitar to that sound like that super loud doing. I'm doing something wrong, prefect. Oh, yeah, well, no, the oxen should still should still affect a little so that's, pretty trashy, mangled sounding, spring river ah, that's a little long, let's, try one of the other I travel in my other springs, let's, try the furman, theo, come along, maybe the pie's better, or maybe you don't use this at all. I don't know, it's a little more subtle, a little brighter. I might not be using that kind of trashy, and I kind of like that. So, yeah, that's, uh, that's using one of my sprinkler convolution river bs.

Class Description

In this two-day course, prolific producer Kurt Ballou will take you behind-the-scenes of GodCity Studios to show you exactly how the magic happens. This all-access studio pass will immerse you in every aspect of Kurt’s distinctive sound — from choosing and setting up gear, to tracking and mixing.

Kurt will show you the basic and advanced techniques he uses in his studio every day, and teach you how to apply them to your own recording — regardless of whether you’re working in a studio or at home with a DIY setup. Using anecdotes from his years behind the board, Kurt will also teach you his best practices for working with bands to extract the best and most inventive sounds.