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808s on smaller speakers
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author 808s on smaller speakers
raccoonboy
Hi everyone.

For those of you who like your 808s, how do you make them more audible on smaller speaker systems (in the modular world)? I realise a lot of this is in the mixing and I have a few articles to read regarding this but what would you do on the modular side?

My mate does most of the mixing, but I want to send him the best stuff I can for processing in this way. My 808s are already really banging and don't want to change the tone drastically.

Should I mix in a rectified (freq doubled) signal, or add more saturation or wud it be more benificial for my mate who's mixing if I sent him two versions. The original and a really saturated rectified version for him to subtly add on top in the mix? A bit like parallel distortion.

Any tips? I'm away from my system right now so can't test these ideas.
thetwlo
I don't think so, but see what .... heh..." really banging ". too funny. I assume you know the next step.
milkshake
raccoonboy wrote:
Hi everyone.

For those of you who like your 808s, how do you make them more audible on smaller speaker systems (in the modular world)? I realise a lot of this is in the mixing and I have a few articles to read regarding this but what would you do on the modular side?

My mate does most of the mixing, but I want to send him the best stuff I can for processing in this way. My 808s are already really banging and don't want to change the tone drastically.

Should I mix in a rectified (freq doubled) signal, or add more saturation or wud it be more benificial for my mate who's mixing if I sent him two versions. The original and a really saturated rectified version for him to subtly add on top in the mix? A bit like parallel distortion.

Any tips? I'm away from my system right now so can't test these ideas.


If your 808 doesn't come through on small speakers, there's only one option: Add harmonics.
Many ways of doing that, rectified frequency doubling with lots of low pass filtering as you mentioned is one. Clipping opamps, transistors and tubes or software distortion pluginns are other options.
Rectify stuff creates even harmonics, symmetrical clipping creates uneven harmonics.
Compression works to.

So basically, you already know what to do.
raccoonboy
thetwlo wrote:
I don't think so, but see what .... heh..." really banging ". too funny. I assume you know the next step.


If you're trying to make a joke it was a bit of a failure as you have misquoted me and it makes no sense. Thanks for your input though
raccoonboy
milkshake wrote:
raccoonboy wrote:
Hi everyone.

For those of you who like your 808s, how do you make them more audible on smaller speaker systems (in the modular world)? I realise a lot of this is in the mixing and I have a few articles to read regarding this but what would you do on the modular side?

My mate does most of the mixing, but I want to send him the best stuff I can for processing in this way. My 808s are already really banging and don't want to change the tone drastically.

Should I mix in a rectified (freq doubled) signal, or add more saturation or wud it be more benificial for my mate who's mixing if I sent him two versions. The original and a really saturated rectified version for him to subtly add on top in the mix? A bit like parallel distortion.

Any tips? I'm away from my system right now so can't test these ideas.


If your 808 doesn't come through on small speakers, there's only one option: Add harmonics.
Many ways of doing that, rectified frequency doubling with lots of low pass filtering as you mentioned is one. Clipping opamps, transistors and tubes or software distortion pluginns are other options.
Rectify stuff creates even harmonics, symmetrical clipping creates uneven harmonics.
Compression works to.

So basically, you already know what to do.


Yeah. I do most of this stuff already but perhaps I can do it a little more. Thanks.

Perhaps its more of a mixing thing. But also, do you think it would be benificial to have a seperate over-distorted hipassed version of the kick mixed ontop as a seperate channel? This way it can be dialled in to taste when mixing. But maybe this would sound too seperated. Maybe its better to try and get more high end on the original kicks, but I just don't wanna change the tone too much cos I already love them.

I guess I'll try a few methods and see what works. I just hate being at work with ideas but no means to try it out. Dead Banana
Home soon
Nagasaki45
In addition to more harmonics, what about more "click" on the accent? A very short noise burst or the same short envelope going to the pitch, in addition to the existing pitch drop (if something like this is even possible with an 808). When my kick disappears I usually either need to clean the mess that hides it or add more click. Nothing 808 specific here, so maybe I'm missing the point. I've never worked with an 808...
raccoonboy
Nagasaki45 wrote:
In addition to more harmonics, what about more "click" on the accent? A very short noise burst or the same short envelope going to the pitch, in addition to the existing pitch drop (if something like this is even possible with an 808). When my kick disappears I usually either need to clean the mess that hides it or add more click. Nothing 808 specific here, so maybe I'm missing the point. I've never worked with an 808...


You can add more click in my 808 module. This can help but it can sound too clicky. It's not actually the clicks I want. The 808s are beautifully mixed and sound amazing on the monitors (no sub yet). There are kicks for the higher end and clickyness.

But the 808s don't show up much on smaller speakers systems so I think maybe subtle doubling might work. There is alreasy saturation and distortion but not too much. 808s by their nature are subby but sometimes you can fool the listener into hearing bass and sub, even on a laptop.
acidbob
Well, guess it depends who you ask, but I personally prefer a bit of EQ the right places and tiny bit of compression, that's it, to me 808 is supposed to sound like cardboard boxy and olskool. If you want it to rip, then just put it through a wavefolder and you are set.
raccoonboy
acidbob wrote:
Well, guess it depends who you ask, but I personally prefer a bit of EQ the right places and tiny bit of compression, that's it, to me 808 is supposed to sound like cardboard boxy and olskool. If you want it to rip, then just put it through a wavefolder and you are set.


Yeah definitely need to try more wavefolding. Used to have a wavefolder but didn't like it much but getting a new one soon.

I guess classic 808s is not what I'm doing, but I start off with an 808 as a template and add a lot of compressions, distortion and saturation. But yeah I need to do more wavefolding etc. I'll experiment a bit with things on the mixing side and sound design side and see which options work best
acidbob
Just an idea, but you can also use an envelope to shape the wavefolding, say you dont want any wavefolding when the BD clicks smile
Pelsea
Don't know about 808s, but real kick drums are usually tracked with fairly heavy compression. The point is that the compressor takes a few µS to react, so the very first part of the drum attack gets through at full volume. Then the compressor lowers the ring of the drum so it doesn't overwhelm the mix. You can vary the compressor attack and threshold to get various styles.

Another trick is to add a tiny amount of delay. This is usually done by a mic on the kick drum. When added to the overhead mics the attack is broadened because of the distance from the drum to the overheads. Bringing up the kick mic is actually moving the kick sound forward in time. (Note that many drummers will kick just ahead of the beat.)

Reverb is added when you have a drum that is so stuffed with pillows and junk that it doesn't ring at all.
flo
I don't really get the question... Are you talking about your own speakers? Then I would buy better speakers, avoiding any subwoofers.

Apart from that, the harmonics of a real 808 kick will be strong enough so that one can hear some of it on any speaker - pretty much at any setting that the original allows (except with the volume down Mr. Green). Personally, I mix them so that they sound fine on my studio speakers (and I use good headphones to quickly reference another perspective on the balance of sounds in the low end - they are used for that and for that only during the mixing process). Everything else is the job of the mastering guy, IMO.

Then again, on the listener side, I also think this kind of thing is mostly the problem of people listening to such sounds on shitty speakers or headphones - i.e., not my own problem hihi thumbs up

Cheers Guinness ftw!
raccoonboy
flo wrote:
I don't really get the question... Are you talking about your own speakers? Then I would buy better speakers, avoiding any subwoofers.

Apart from that, the harmonics of a real 808 kick will be strong enough so that one can hear some of it on any speaker - pretty much at any setting that the original allows (except with the volume down Mr. Green). Personally, I mix them so that they sound fine on my studio speakers (and I use good headphones to quickly reference another perspective on the balance of sounds in the low end - they are used for that and for that only during the mixing process). Everything else is the job of the mastering guy, IMO.

Then again, on the listener side, I also think this kind of thing is mostly the problem of people listening to such sounds on shitty speakers or headphones - i.e., not my own problem hihi thumbs up

Cheers Guinness ftw!


I agree that folk need good sound systems.

My 808 is not actually an 808 but its similar and can be more subby.

My own monitors are great. I was just listening on other less powerful speakers and would rather more come through.

I do plan to get a sub soon but I will bypass to hear without also.
Joey P.
I don't have a "real" 808, but I have the TipTop 808 module, and it comes through over my ADAM A3x just fine. That said, my 2HP kick module does not at all. It has the click, but moves absolutely no air on the small speakers, while setting off car alarms through the sub. Which is why I am replacing it with the TipTop.

But to the issue at hand, the thing to do is to add a second frequency component (harmonics were mentioned) and use a second set of small speakers when monitoring your mix. If you have control of FM envelope on the kick, you can sometimes get it to move from the "low" to the "sub" during the hit, to satisfy the needs of each speaker system.
synthetic
I agree that bass + distortion = harmonics. Soundtoys Decapitator, despite the name, is very good at adding subtle overdrive and I believe it's on sale right now. My other tip would be to listen to other tracks that use 808 on small speakers (Gin and Juice, etc.) and emulate those.
raccoonboy
Joey P. wrote:
I don't have a "real" 808, but I have the TipTop 808 module, and it comes through over my ADAM A3x just fine. That said, my 2HP kick module does not at all. It has the click, but moves absolutely no air on the small speakers, while setting off car alarms through the sub. Which is why I am replacing it with the TipTop.

But to the issue at hand, the thing to do is to add a second frequency component (harmonics were mentioned) and use a second set of small speakers when monitoring your mix. If you have control of FM envelope on the kick, you can sometimes get it to move from the "low" to the "sub" during the hit, to satisfy the needs of each speaker system.


It's the mutant BD I have as well as ADAM A7X, on which sounds amazing. I think you're point is right about having some small speakers to hand and cross referencing more often rather than doing days of mixing of loads of songs and checking them all later on other setups.
nostalghia
The monitors most widely used by pro studios to provide a check for how a mix will translate on a small speaker with limited frequency response is the Auratone 5C. 4.5" full range cubes, passive-needs a decent stereo amp. $370 for a new pair, may be able to find used around $200 or so.

Auratone 5C Super Sound Cube

I've worked with the original vintage 5Cs back in the 80s, getting those used or maybe the Avantone Active Mix Cube (more or less a modern clone, with internal amps) would be your best bet. Judging by this review in SOS, the new reissue of the 5C from Auratone may actually be too good sounding (!), delivering better bass than the originals or the Avantone-which oddly, is not the idea of having something like this around for comparison...you're trying to find out if the essential parts of the sound will be heard even if the listener is using a budget system with small cones than rolls off the low end.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/auratone-5c-super-sound-cube

Avantone MixCubes (also available as a passive version if you have an amp):
http://www.avantonepro.com/mixcubes-active-creme.php
tardishead
808 is often used with other drums to add beef but isn't that "punchy" in itself. Not compared to a LinnDrum for example. And this is emphasised by having small speakers too. But its the ultimate enhancer, Check 10- 15 years of old skool hip hop Public Enemy, EPMD, Eric B etc etc. Its always there to beef up the bottom end of sampled breakbeats. For tech sounds it is often used with other things as well 909, DMX, Korg, 606 etc. Its the ultimate bottom end. To be punchy on all systems you need "banging" midrange. Lower mids and upper mids. Bottom end is the icing on the cake but only really works on bigger speakers. To make it "banging" across the whole spectrum will take quite some doing.
I guess it all depends on your definition of punchy
raccoonboy
tardishead wrote:
808 is often used with other drums to add beef but isn't that "punchy" in itself. Not compared to a LinnDrum for example. And this is emphasised by having small speakers too. But its the ultimate enhancer, Check 10- 15 years of old skool hip hop Public Enemy, EPMD, Eric B etc etc. Its always there to beef up the bottom end of sampled breakbeats. For tech sounds it is often used with other things as well 909, DMX, Korg, 606 etc. Its the ultimate bottom end. To be punchy on all systems you need "banging" midrange. Lower mids and upper mids. Bottom end is the icing on the cake but only really works on bigger speakers. To make it "banging" across the whole spectrum will take quite some doing.
I guess it all depends on your definition of punchy


I guess I should have elaborated. I don't need punchy as I get that from samples or I cud use a 909. I know 808 is more for lowend and its doing a great job. Just when I have some long ass isolated 808s with distortion, so they are boomy as hel I just want the higher end* 'fizz' to come thru a bit more without screwing the mix too much, more so those sections don't sound so empty on smaller speakers. So I'll need to try frequency doubling etc when I get the chance and different mixing techniques.
Maybe even just matching the pitch with a synth ontop of it might be a good idea, subtly mixing it in, I guess I could use also turn the volume up a bit on the high end any time they are more isolated.

*high end for 808 at least
raccoonboy
Just gave the frequency doubling a try (with my newly acquired moddemix). Yup. This is what I wanted.

I then put it thru a lowpass gate to get rid of the fizz, so it just adds more harmonics in the upper mid-range of the sound.

Sounds great just what I wanted, still sounds like an 808 when mixed in correctly but the 'range' has increased and I've tested on a little £20 speaker and it comes through well. So I'm happy with that grin
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