Getting them to stand out in a mix is no easy task. They tend to vanish when played on laptop speakers, and frequently, they clash with the kick and bass, resulting in a muddled, overpowering sound.
It can be frustrating.
If you're finding it difficult to achieve clear and impactful 808s, rest assured you're not the only one facing this struggle.
Here are 5 tips for mixing 808s that exude an immense and commanding presence.
Tip 1. Soft ClippingIf you are an FL Studio User Make sure that there is no limiter on the master track and replace it with a clipper. If you want louder 808s. make sure that they are clipping. Limiters prevent clipping so replace it with a soft clipper of your choice. You can use your DAWs native clipper or you can use the ones listed below.
TR CLASSIC CLIPPER (Our Top Pick)
Tip 2. Mono BassMake sure that your 808 is in MONO. Stereo isn't inherently bad, but excessive stereo width in low-frequency elements like the bass can lead to phase issues, poor mix translation, and a loss of power when played on mono playback systems.
You can use any stereo tool for this such as Ozone Imager which is free
Tip 3. Sidechain your kick to your 808Sidechaining is a great way to ensure that the frequencies of two sounds don’t clash. Removing the initial transient of the 808 and leaving space for the kick to punch can make your beat sound more powerful and less floppy
Let’s go over how you can quickly sidechain your kick to your bass in FL Studio 21
First, locate the 808 track on your mixer and then add a fruity limiter to it
Then add your kick to a separate mixer track and route the kick to your 808 by selecting route to this track only
On the 808 track, open the Fruity Limiter plugin by double-clicking on its slot in the Mixer.
In the Fruity Limiter plugin, go to the "Comp" tab (Compressor).
Locate the "Sidechain" section.
Enable the "Sidechain" button.
Use the drop-down menu to select the Mixer track where your kick is routed.
In the "Comp" tab, you'll see a "Threshold" knob.
Decrease the Threshold until you start to see a gain reduction on the 808 track when the kick hits. This will depend on the intensity of the effect you want.
Adjust the "Attack" and "Release" settings to control how quickly the sidechain compression kicks in and how long it takes to release.
You can also adjust the "Ratio" and "Knee" settings to control the intensity and smoothness of the sidechain effect.
Play your track and listen to the sidechain effect. Make further adjustments to the settings as needed to achieve the desired "pumping" effect. Pay attention to the timing and the amount of compression applied.
Tip 4. Add saturationIf you want your track to be more present on speakers like phones and other systems it's important that you do this.
Adding saturation also adds warmth and character which can be effective in genres like hip-hop and electronic music.
Add saturation to 808s and boost just the mid and high frequencies to ensure that your 808s are able to be heard on most audio systems.
You can use Fabfilter Saturn to do this. A free alternative is Saturation Knob by Softube
Tip 5. Choose Great 808 Samples.Without the correct 808 samples it will be really hard for you to get the punch and low end you are looking for in your beats. It's especially important to get high-quality bass samples because when your 808s don't sound right then your track will sound disfigured.
Think of sound selection as the basis for high-quality music.
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Retro 808s and Basses
Incorporating these tips into your music production process can help you create tracks with a powerful and well-balanced low end, ensuring your music sounds great on a wide range of playback systems.
If there are any topics or tips you would like us to cover please let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!