Electronic dance music relies heavily on sub-bass, especially when played in clubs. When done right, sub-bass brings a lot of energy to the dance floor and gets people moving. At the same time, mixing the low end is the most difficult part.
The Sweet Spot
In practice, great sub-bass starts with the bass melody and arrangement. In the table below you can see the sweet spot between the notes E1 and G1. Notes below can be difficult to reproduce on many systems, notes above can sound weak. Of course, you can make some notes of your sub-bass line higher or lower, but try to stay within this range.
How to get a great sub-bass line
There are a few simple rules you can follow to improve your sub-bass.
- Move slowly. Your sub does not have to follow the bass. For example, if your bass is playing 1/8th or even 1/16th notes, your sub can stay on the same fundamental and play 1/4th notes.
- Stay mono unless intended. Live set-ups vary greatly from club to club. You may see one sub, two subs playing mono, multiple subs, stereo subs, etc. It is very difficult to predict exactly how your mix will translate. Keeping mono below 100-150Hz is a safe bet that will give you great results.
- Check for phasing problems. Your DAW probably has a phase meter. Make sure your bass, sub and kick body are in phase.
This technique is used:
Instruments: bass sub-bass kick
Stages of production: arrangement sound design