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Changing the volume of the bass in a backing track

August 31st, 2012 Articles

Derek asked a question about changing the volume of the bass guitar in a backing track. I replied asking him if he meant the bass in general (as in the eq) or whether he meant the volume of the bass guitar sound in a track? 

Hi Kenny,
Thanks for the reply. At least you are interested–not like Ameritz. I would like to reduce either. On a midifile when using Cakewake I can lower the EQ / Volume of the bass guitar. I am struggling to find a programme that lets me do this on MP3s. I like to try and keep most of the tracks at the same level to save keep on altering the desk during numbers. By the way I am recording your MP3s onto minidisc

Hi Derek

The way to reduce the bass frequencies on an entire song is to apply EQ to the song (i.e reduce the the low frequencies). So then when you play the mp3 while recording it to minidisc, the Minidisc will be recording the song as it hears it (i.e. with the reduced bass frequencies).

It’s not possible to alter the volumes or EQ of individual instruments like the bass guitar or any other instrument on a stereo audio track.

This is because all the instruments in the stereo audio file have already been mixed together on to just two tracks (left and right). You can’t separate the instruments once they have been mixed together.

Music manufacturers and audio software engineers have tried for years to produce software which remove an instrument or a vocal from a stereo audio track but none have succeeded yet. If you’ve ever tried to use a vocal removal machine you’ll know what I mean (these machines still leave traces of the vocal and can’t completely remove them).

Midifiles are different though. You can separate individual instruments on a midifile because midifiles have each instrument on a different track. Standard midifiles will usually have 16 stereo tracks with a different instrument on each track so it’s easy to open up a midifile and change the volume or EQ of an individual instrument.

But to change the level or EQ of a single instrument on an audio song you would need access to the multi-track master arrangement of the song which the studio used to create the backing track. There’s not many studios will let you have their multi-track master arrangements though (I know we don’t supply these and I don’t know any other backing track company who does)…

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