I can’t overstate how helpful Chocolate Puma’s Studio section is over on their blog! Even though they only have a handful of articles, they are extremely helpful. This Match EQ Tutorial was particularly helpful, though I’ll warn you that sidechaining your bass to the kick drum for Template Learn/Match purposes (see their step by step instrux) really takes the wind out of the bass, even at a low Apply Percentage like 17%. This means you’ll definitely have to add 1 or 2 additional bass layers to pack enough oomph in there. Well worth what it does to carving out problem frequencies, though!
Say you got a fat kick drum and on top of that a fat bass line. They both sound great if you solo them, but tend to clash when you play them both at the same time.
There are a few tricks to separate them. Most of the time you decide which one of the two is covering the sub frequencies, and which one is covering the higher bass frequencies. So say your kick has the most energy at 60hz and your bass line the most energy at 100hz, then you can be sure that you’re quite safe.
But what if you have trouble separating the two with just using your regular EQ? And what if you want to have a really low subby kick AND a really low subby bass line? Of course you could sidechain the bass line with a compressor. Or program your bass line, so that it doesn’t play at the same time as your kick drum.
But there’s another way: For example in our remix for ‘Mike Dunn’s Gitcho House On‘ we wanted to have both a low kick AND a sub bass line, the bass line played at the same time as the kick, and sidechaining wasn’t sufficient.
Bring on Logic’s Match EQ:
1. Put Match EQ on your bass line channel.
2. Go to the upper right hand side and choose your kick drum channel at the Side Chain dropdown menu.
3. Click ‘Template Learn’, press play and let Match EQ learn the characteristics of your kick.
4. Press stop, set your Side Chain to ‘None’.
5. Click ‘Current Learn’, press play and let Match EQ learn the characteristics of your bass line.
6. Click ‘Material Match’.
7. Set ‘Phase’ to ‘Minimal’ (especially with low frequencies this is important, if you use it to separate higher sounds, use ‘Linear’)
8. Slide ‘Apply’ to a minimal value (say -20% or something).
9. Use ‘Smoothing’ to fine tune.
10. Use Fade Extremes to cancel out frequencies you don’t want to be affected (click the triangle in the lower left hand corner to unfold).
Presto, you just separated your bass line from your kick drum!
Now you can also use this method to separate strings from a vocal. Or if you use a positive value at step 8, to match one sound to another sound.
Very important topic: sidechaining. Here’s a decent video explaining one way to sidechain the bassline to the drum kick—which is a total must to clear up clashing low-end frequencies and give your mix more headroom (loudness) in the mix for mastering. Depending on your taste, it also sounds pretty cool. Keep in mind that the effect can be be very pronounced/obvious (as in this video and in styles like Electro, French, and Tech House), or more subtle—but the end result is a brighter, cleaner, more thumping mix.