Mixing the Low End

Getting the low end right in a mix is challenging especially if you are listening in a compromised sound field. There are tactics that you can use to get the low end of a mix to fit well into the bigger picture. iZotope posted seven tips for the mixing the low end.

At some point, every engineer has had difficulty taming the beast that is low end. Why? Multiple factors are involved. For one, imperfect rooms treat low-end information imperfectly—and many rooms are imperfect. Another factor compounding the issue is monitoring, especially in project studios; nearfield monitors, often utilized in home-based mixing rooms, tend to taper off below a bass-hound’s favorite frequencies; subwoofers are untenable in certain situations (ones involving neighbors, often); and cans tend to over-exaggerate the lows, leading to a cure that might be worse than the disease.

The third factor is experience, or a lack thereof. Yes, it takes time to learn how to identify low-end issues, to tell them apart from your room and monitoring issues, and to find practical, actionable solutions.

If you are running into some issues with the low end, give these tips a try especially tips 1, 5 and 7. I use those all the time.

iZotope makes the following observation in their post:

Stephen King once gave some particularly apt advice on receiving writerly feedback. To summarize, he said that if you hand out a story to a bunch of readers, and they all give back different, conflicting critiques, discard it all. However, if they all gave back the same critique, you need to address that one issue.

The post goes on to suggest that you listen back to your mixes on a variety of monitors. Good advice but they did not emphasize the importance of getting others to listen to your mixes. I always get the artist and a few trusted ears to give me feedback on mixes. If there are problems with the low end, they will no doubt come up in their review.

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