low end theories
i love bass. any playback system that can't adequately reproduce some kind of bass is, to me, a piece of crap. music devolving into ringtones made for tinny phone and computer speakers distresses me. i don't believe everyone needs a club or concert system to enjoy music, but some kind of happy medium should be the standard. unfortunately, that's not in my control. but our recording quality is.
in the past, my love of bass has cost me. more bass often means less volume (at least, the way we hear volume). it also means more sonic confusion. you can't have downtuned samples, deep kick drums, sludgy bass guitar, and rumbling sound effects all at once. at least, not without compromises.
so much of the time spent working on this album, as i've said before, has been involved in tackling engineering issues. a big one has been dealing with bass. several songs have multiple bass guitars and bass synths, as well as slightly different kick drums. then there's trying to even out the volume on bass parts that sweep up high on the neck (louder) as well as play low (quieter), and trying to get the bottom notes of a 5-string bass or a rumbling explosion to resonate without destroying speakers. and of course making all these things sound good and loud at the same time.
learning different techniques to make sense of all the murk has been illuminating and time-consuming. it's also not an exact science, at least not at my level of knowledge. just when i think "that kick drum's solved the issue, it punches straight through the bass now", i realize "it's tuned way too high, it's like a toy electronic drum", and it has to be replaced.
another danger is in focusing too much on the bass, consequently making the music bottom-heavy. pushing a frequency ends up pushing volume, so that has to be compensated for.
in the end, i have to believe it's worth it, since even unmastered versions of the new songs sonically blow away anything we've released so far. one song has been previewed at a club, and held its own next to commercially released tracks. which, from a recording/engineering standpoint, is all you can hope for.