The technique of "mixing kick and bass" is often a common struggle that beginners are prone to deal with on a constant basis.

This is mainly because beginners fail to understand that for particular genres of music the listener is not used to hearing so much bass in the song. Instead they do the opposite.

Of course, there are certain cases were listeners want to hear rumbling bass notes otherwise they would consider the song to be extremely "weak" especially for the following genres of music:
  • Reggae
  • Dub Reggae
  • Rap (Hip Hop)
  • Trap (Hip Hop)
  • Dubstep
  • Drum & Bass

How Loud Should The Bass Be?

The loudness of your bass should always be mainly determined by the GENRE of music you are mixing or you are mastering.

But a good guideline is to have your kick peaking at - 6 dBFS and your bass at -10 dBFS before the mastering stage.

*NOTE: always remember to trust your ears rather than following dBFS metering numbers strictly. Although general audio mixing guidelines may be useful as a starting point.

Furthermore, to quickly determine your bass instrument's dBFS level or your kick drum's volume you are highly recommended to follow these steps:
  1. Reference the loudness of popular songs in the same genre of the music you are mixing
  2. Once you know the loudness of your reference songs in RMS or LUFS level, proceed to "feasibility-limiting".
  3. Feasibility-limiting means you slap nothing but a brickwall limiter on your master fader just to hear how loud your kick and bass are going to be and get back to mixing.
  4. "IF" your kick and bass are both too loud bring down their fader levels; "ELSE" correct the balance of other instruments by bringing up their volume or do the opposite were necessary.
For example, with Hip Hop/Trap music, you generally want your kick drum and bass synth (or 808 bass) to have a good balance such that the mastering engineer can push the song to about -8 dB or -9 dB RMS level without struggling with the balance of these two instruments.

Bass Too Loud In The Mix?

In layman terms, in hip hop music your kick and bass should hit hard in a manner where both of these things don't overlap in a disorderly fashion.

Audible "frequency overlapping" is a sign of poor mixing where the mixing engineer is clueless of whether the kick should occupy the subs (i.e. frequencies from 20 Hz to 80 Hz) or whether the bass should sit there.

This type of confusion can't be fixed it in the mastering stage. How are you going to move a sitting elephant?

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