3 Golden Rules for Low End Hip Hop Mixing with Lu Diaz (Jay Z, Beyoncé)

Lu-Diaz hiphop low end

Multi-platinum producer and mixer Lu Diaz (Jay Z, Kodak Black, Pitbull) gives us his 3 golden tips for blending 808 sounds and kick drums in order to get a clean, punchy low end sound in your tracks.


0:00:00 –>
[Music] how you doing my name is Lu Diaz I’m a producer mix engineer from Miami Florida today I’m gonna cover the cake and sob relationship and how it affects my mixes and so on my mindset when it comes to mixing the low-end compared to vocals you know vocals are the center of the song they there’s generally over every style of music you’re gonna have the vocals gonna be the center is gonna be the attention is gonna be what people want to connect with but in hip-hop very close second is the bottom of the song it needs to have an impact it needs to have an aggressive feeling now it doesn’t mean every records the same but generally speaking a good hip-hop record is that low end is in you know hidden you’re right it’s gonna be it’s gonna be a problem so my mindset to it is very important I put a lot of time into making sure that’s working and also that it doesn’t ultimately interfere with with the vocal I’m gonna play the session for you guys to just get familiar with the way the song goes and the way it sounds right now [Music]

0:01:04.7 –>
you won’t feel it bad you will feel it babe you forgot so look who’s your basic idea of the Sonics are there I’m just looping the hook that’s the most intense part of the record so the first time I ever heard an 808 in Miami coming out of the trunk of a car was a record name give the DJ a break by Dynamix – and boy I changed my life first time I heard that I thought bass is life so now I’m gonna move on to the sub I’m gonna jump around a little bit back and forth because like I said there’s a lot of relationship between these two elements and I’m gonna show you pretty much how I got the sub to get those low frequencies in there and normally I would use an our base or something like that but in this case I used vitamin and I’ll show you why vitam is a really cool plugin because it’s it’s almost everything mashed up into one it’s not an exciter it’s not an EQ it’s not a compressor it’s kind of all of it together and if you notice here I panned everything to the middle right here because you want some frequencies

0:02:01.1 –>
to come mono right down the middle of the record you never want a pan kicks snares or I mean you could but in hip-hop you know the strength is gonna come from the middle from the from the mono [Music] so now if you notice it almost seems like the sub is actually going down a little bit but what’s happening here is the tone now you gotta remember when you have a when you have an eighth away you’re dealing with sometimes people think oh I just got a ton of sub but the definition of that 808 is not gonna come through a laptops not gonna come through a pair of maybe five-eighths speakers a lot of people have at home so you got to be very mindful of su frequencies that are much higher than where the sub sits in order to hear the tone because we would all love to have $80,000 pair of speakers to listen to but not everybody does so although the low end is the sub and it matters very much you have to pay a lot of attention to the upper frequencies on this on this up and this is what I do with a vitamin here so now I’m gonna show you real quick the blend

0:03:01.5 –>
of both [Music] now if you Solo each one of these it’ll give you a good idea what you’re affecting if you see that that’s a very high frequency for the for the for the boom but in this case I want that to stick out I want that grit to be out there that doesn’t mean you do it for every record it’s on this particular record I wanted that great to stick out right now if you notice my direct bottom is all the way down I was just showing you what I was affecting and what’s great about vitamin is you’re able to blend back in the original signal [Music] and those two elements together how I influence the sound in these three faders and together with my original gives me that thick 808 I needed now to

0:04:01.7 –>
bring the sub frequencies even sweeter and nicer I love the way the jjp politic sounds [Music] so you can see that there’s where I really added all that bottom of it but beginning of it vitamin gave me the elements sort of shaped the sound first before I threw it through the jjp cue to really finish it off and give it that smooth low-end so I’m gonna go over the kick just the way it was put together with DZ cues a lot of people ask me sometimes why using an EQ and then another EQ of those other EQ and you don’t eat each one of these things have a character to a meal either color the sound even without doing anything you don’t do a plugin though they’ll change the way the sound sounds after years of using this stuff for me I just love the way certain things sounds so you have six here for example is the first plug-in I’m using and this is a dynamic EQ which is basically a combination of compression and EQ put together and in

0:05:00.9 –>
this case I’m using it as an EQ and all I’m doing is really just shelving out a little bit of the low end to give the sub now you know less interference with the sublet the sub carry those frequencies let this kick sort of be the punch and if you notice I bumped up maybe 7 7 k 6k and that’s just to get the attack out so that when the you got to keep in mind when the mix is on that kick sometimes gets lost the punch may be there but it needs some top end so that you can identify oh there’s where the kick is a lot of times but people mistakes people make is they think I want more kick and you just really want to hear it more you don’t want it louder and level because it throws everything off it throws the whole relationship to between the boom and the and the kick when all you had to do is maybe brighten it up and bring out the punch so that’s basically what I’m doing right here it’s very subtle but it’s just that frequency I’m building up at the top end and you’ll see why the

0:06:01.3 –>
next plug-in I went to is an SSL and I love the e-channel it just sounds good to me and I use this to also bring up more so you can see on the top end here I’m hitting it and even you’ve been down there just exaggerate that punch are the top end or the skin a little bit more so you can really start hearing it like bright now they may sound crazy to you now but in the mix it’ll sound right that’s that’s uh told you got to keep in mind and then lastly I used the API and again I love the way this API sounds it just sounds to me like the original I love the crunch in it and as you can see I’m popping off another 5k there and even 500 just to give it a little bit more grit a little bit more more punch so we’re just together that makes I’ll play for you with it now kick is super bright there’s common mistakes that people make a lot of times I think it’s

0:07:00.5 –>
just the approach because they assume that you can take one sound like say the kick and the q”-word processes do whatever you do and it sounds great to you and then you could do individually the sub or the 808 and that’ll sound great and then you smash them together there’s all kinds of problems and that’s probably the biggest rookie mistake people make is that you have to think about it and in relation to each other at the end of the day they work as one unit because they exist in the same sort of you know spectrum of the of the of the sound now what’s happening is I’m sending this kick through a box to the side chain of this f6 that is plugged into where the sub is and the point of it is to carve out a space so that my kick sits in there correctly and they can gel together and that’s what we’re trying to do here so let me play it for you and I’m gonna bring in the sub slow as you can hear [Music]

0:08:05.1 –>
so the objective here is again is much basis I came out of that sub and as much of the kick punch working together and I can get as much volume into the mix of it and by using the side chain on the f6 and allows that job to be compressed in that frequency I’m trying to push my kick into and then let me play it to you real quick with the rest of the drum so you start getting a better idea what’s going on [Music] that’s the drum section and I’m gonna do something for you real quick I’m gonna bypass the plugins here so you can hear the difference before and after this is without the plugins so you can see the difference is huge once you start adding

0:09:00.9 –>
all these elements together so this is the the approach I took with this particular song and like I said earlier every song is different and every approach is gonna be different but hopefully you learned something from this song and how I approached it and got the low end to feel right take care [Music] imagine what I can’t do going between your legs you ride in our pocket instead let me coach your position you know what you’re missing go ahead make a decision do deep end I’m playing you like what it is and I’m saying babies

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