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Muddy or Unclear Low End in Your Tracks?

Are you dealing with muddy or unclear low end in your tracks?

It’s actually a pretty common problem. And luckily there’s a solution for it.

The first step is identifying the problem tracks. Here’s how to do it:

After you’ve decided that your mix should be clearer, the best thing to do is to mute individual tracks until the muddiness goes away.

For example, start by muting the piano. If that doesn’t fix it, unmute it and move on to the guitar. If that doesn’t fix it, move on to the bass. Once you’ve isolated the problem, you’re well on your way to solving the problem.

On some rare occasions, it is difficult to find just “one” problem track. If this is the case, try muting two tracks at the same time. Then find the two problem tracks.

Let’s assume that just the bass is the issue (as it often can be.) When you mute it, your mix becomes much less muddy.

Open up an EQ and put a low shelf on it. You can start lowering the frequencies around 80 Hz and work your way up to 180 Hz if need be. Lower it a good -5 dB to start, adjusting it based on how it sounds in the overall mix.

Next, find the complementing track – in this case, it is usually the kick drum. This is the track where those super low frequencies are going to come through.

If your mix sounds great already – perfect. If you’re still a little flabby in the low end, try this.

Add a multi-band compressor to the secondary track (kick drum). Then heavily compress the very low end, maybe from 20-80 Hz. Give it a 4:1 ratio to start. Then compress the next band slightly less. Play with these settings until you’ve got the tight low end you’re looking for.

Overall, you’re basically carving out frequencies and giving everything space in the mix.

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