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Making the bass more audible on small speakers

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Ryan HughesMaking the bass more audible on small speakers
by on Sep 29, 2014 at 4:28:05 pm

I am editing a video for the web that has a music bed with a really great bass line. The problem I'm having is the bass line is almost completely inaudible when I'm listening on my laptop (and other laptop) speakers. It sounds great on my pro head phones, but most of my audience will be listening on laptop or PC speakers. Any suggestions on how to boost the bass line so it's more audible?


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Durin GleavesRe: Making the bass more audible on small speakers
by on Oct 1, 2014 at 5:20:59 pm

It sounds like the bass frequencies are simply too low to be reproduced on the small speakers. Increasing the volume of the bassline, esepcially if it already sounds good on a better sound system, would only serve to cause distortion and would still be unlikely to help the laptop sound situation.

One possibility might be to mirror the bassline, but pitch shift it upwards a few steps so that it sits in a frequency spectrum better supported by those speakers. One way to accomplish this would be to open the audio file in Waveform view and use the Edit > Frequency Band Splitter tool to break out the low frequencies into their own file. I'd probably draw out from 0Hz-120Hz. Then use Effects > Time and Pitch > Pitch Shifter to increase the pitch a few steps. I would start with 5 which should create a nice harmony, or 12 which would raise the pitch one octave. Be sure to select High Precision mode.

Then, insert your original audio file and the pitch shifted bassline into a new multitrack session with each clip on a separate track. You can adjust the level of each track until it sounds better on the low-quality speakers. (Be sure to listen on good speakers as well, so you don't overdo it for those folks with quality sound.) Once satisfied, mix it down to a new file and replace the music clip in your video project.

Durin Gleaves
Adobe Audition

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John McClaryRe: Making the bass more audible on small speakers
by on Dec 8, 2014 at 3:51:38 am
Last Edited By John McClary on Dec 8, 2014 at 4:19:33 am

Another thought would be you use a plugin filter that synthesizes harmonics up and down the frequency range like Waves MaxxBass or Renaissance Bass (or adding some tasteful distortion) and use that to add the impression that the lower bass is there. With some EQ boost or even the right amount of white/pink noise across the breakpoint (around 200-300Hz), it can help. But yes - making frequencies louder that smaller speakers can't reproduce anyway doesn't help.

J. McClary
Productionline Media

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