Does Psytrance lack sub-bass


Studio Elf
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In the Techno thread in General there's a spirited discussion going on over the merits of the genres. Spiralx reckons there's less sub-bass in the Psytrance he's heard compared to the Acid Techno that makes up his bread and butter.

I know what he means but always assumed it to be because of the vinyl/CD divide (where subjectively vinyl seems warmer and more lively, but CD has far better definition across the spectrum). Is there a difference, do you reckon?

I think its a style/era thing.

When I first got into psy (or i suppose people would partition it off as "goa" these days) i was loving the deep, deep subbass. Check for example Cosmosis - Cosmology -- there's one track on there in particular which is written in such a key that when the subs come in they are deeper than just about anything ever. Properly throbbing sub-bass without a doubt.

Lately though I have noticed quite a few releases with a "thin" sound overall. Gataka - Drop the Mask was the worst example I found last year - it sounded like it had been highpassed at 80hz. Ugh - rubbish - I deleted it instantly.

My guess is this...

1. E music. I dont take E, so I've no real idea, but I've heard rumours that sub-bass and E dont mix brilliantly. Basically there was this thread on Isratrance with people saying they hated deep bass because "it slowed the music down". I nearly pissed my pants laughing but several other people agreed claiming when they were pilled up they associated low frequencies with being dragged down, higher frequencies with floating away. So as commercial/full-on psy has become more E music and less mushie/acid music, it seems like releases have been having less and less bass

2. general trends in the musical style. kinda related to the above, I guess, but I notice the bassline in modern full-on doesnt really act in the same way that basslines used to. ie its not really there to provide chest-shaking frequencies at all - its there as a rhythmic/fast/driving thing (just think of the whole 16th note vb1 cliche - again gataka is a pretty 'good' example). The old deep subs used to come from the


routine, which seems unfashionable these days, partly because its meter is half-speed compared to the 16th note efforts, I suppose. But this arrangement gave plenty of space for a very low bass, partly because it was always halfway between kicks, partly because each sub-plonk had a full eigth to die away in. On the other hand kicks back then were freqently quite high-- I think now perhaps are more keen to get weight on their kicks, and this combined with the 16th approach to basslines, doesnt really leave as much room for the bass to contain strong LF energy

3. general trends in sound + mastering-- partly related I guess to the previous point, it was very noticable to me last year that a lot of albums these days have quite, erm, distinctive overall sound and mastering. Protoculture - refractions would be one good example. Really squashed as fuck in the mid and upper ranges - bright and crisp and hard to the point of being quite "brittle" - almost verging on the whole artificially shiny and loud "radio" mastered music, ie pop. imho totally overmastered but thats another story.

So, I would say in certain styles of psy the sub-bass has decreased yes....
Now I'm not really a hardcore psy-trance head - I love the parties and have quite a few cds but my knowledge of the genre isn't very extensive. I do think it is lacking in sub bass tho - which ain't necessarily a bad thing. Being more of a breaks man at heart, I do get fed up with ridiculously wobbly bass lines (and not much else) after a while... which is probably one of the reasons I've got more into psy... I do find myself craving some really deep bass at psy-parties from time to time tho.
</div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Lazytom @ Feb 20 2004, 02:13 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> ... I do find myself craving some really deep bass at psy-parties from time to time tho. [/quote:35c732109b]
I know a geezer who can get you some.
Yeah I know what u mean...

The New Deedrah album has loads of sub-bass and it sounds cool when you listen to it... (Dado is a weird studio nut though), but when you mix the tunes with some other peoples CD's, Deedrah's sound really bassey and out of place... I think alot of other producers just don't fill this range so much.

Merv from Eat Static is a producer who manages to get the sub-bass right Live and Recorded...
In the same light as Tom, I'm no psy-trance expert and don't want to pretend I'm one, but I've noticed a lot of differences between psy-trance from different nations. I've certainly noticed that the Israeli stuff seems to reliably lack cool deep subby bass parts, and instead often has bouncy attempts at a melodic fast bass line which in my opinion is too often a let down, particularly if it doesn't climax.

It is noticeable, when a HardHouse addict friend of mine insists on playing me some of his tunes, how HH concentrates primarily on getting the kick and bass perfect together, so that they really kick, before writing the rest of the tune. Psytrance is surely less obsessed with this single aspect of club music.
I think it has to do with tempos and stuff.

Yer goa Trance bods, see, they like to have their bass doing constant 16th's @ 144 bpm. Any serious energy below 60hz is just going to turn into an undefined soup. The sub action is always in the kik drum [I say always - a lot of what i hear is as thin as a bastard..] and the bass is more directed at the rib cage to give that impression of drive.

The problem I had when doing my goa trance experiments was shaping the bottom end so that it had balls, but also sounded snappy enough to drive the tune along. Not easy and not terribly satisfying to somebody who likes his bass line to "breathe" a bit. They always ended up sounding like mincing house tunes, not that I'm at all averse to a bit of mincing. Work it girlfriend, etc.

Anyway - in a nutshell - "Proper" bass is only technically possible at less than 70 bpm.


</div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ott^ @ Feb 20 2004, 03:57 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Anyway - in a nutshell - "Proper" bass is only technically possible at less than 70 bpm.
Hence the luscious beauty of dub, I s'pose this is what you'll tell us isn't it Ott. :smokingrasta:
Full-on psy-trance lacks not only in sub bass as amount, but in tight, controlled sub bass as well. Comparing it to other genres like breakbeat and progy 4/4, the trance tunes sound thin and whimpy. I don't know if this is down to the fact that there are a lot of young and not very experienced people that are getting their tunes signed, or if everyone in the psy scene is going for as much headroom as possible so they can have their tunes louder than the next person.
Either way it's bad cause tight sub bass is extremely pleasant
X-Dream, The Delta, Spirallianz, Biscaya, Seb, Midimilliz, Antidote, Dado, Bamboo forest, Shakta are some of the people that do not neglect the bottom end.
Off on a bit of a tangent - but still related - can anyone explain why so much modern psy trance has very weak kick drums? Many modern tunes have a very compressed ptumpf, ptumpf, ptumpf, ptumpf intead of a good thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack. If you go back to goa tunes - the drum sound was similar to other trance of the time, but now - epsecially with the rolling bassline style - the drums seem very wishy washy. any ideas?

(apologies for trying to describe stuff in non-techie terms!)
</div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (JohnM @ Feb 20 2004, 04:25 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Off on a bit of a tangent - but still related - can anyone explain why so much modern psy trance has very weak kick drums? [/quote:3f34f79aa7]
'Cos the 909 kick drum has been overused, but very few people know how to make a kick drum as good or better (myself included - am still very much in the experimentation stages there). While you can make a kick drum using the method on the IM website fairly easily, making a good one requires a fair amount of thought, experience, or preferably both.

I remember a story someone told on here about a collaborative track where Ofer Dikovsky (Oforia) shut himself away from the others and spent a ridiculous amount of time just getting the kick drum sounding good.

its deffintaly about the 16ths, they just drive so much,b ut the sub doesnt really kick

i noted parasense 16th bass was subby as hell the other week though, it ROCKED

also with all the dymnaic space needed for wangling blurk bklurk ge dand ge dang, there isnt as much rooms for bass as say jungle or minimal techno

i'm working on a tune atm with 16th bass hi passed and 8th bass low passed so you get the sub and the drive, it sound cool i think!
</div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (jsainsbury @ Feb 20 2004, 05:21 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
i'm working on a tune atm with 16th bass hi passed and 8th bass low passed so you get the sub and the drive, it sound cool i think!
thats exactly what i did/do whenever i had 16th note basslines

works fine for me and gives u the best of both worlds...

perhaps this is just too hard for people, or probably i suspect "your mum" got it right, artists just leave the subs out to keep some headroom and be louder than the next guy.

yet another reason i look at that sort of music with contempt really :lol:
Mind you, it depends what you're going for - some of those 16th basslines are really nice on their own. It does, however, suck when the 'louder than the next guy' ethos wins the day - I *like* dynamics in my tunes, dammit!

very much yes

i love my 16th bass and dynamic space

allthough some overdriven limited filth is good when your on one
dont be too scathing soliptic....those people who make weedy basslines are trying hard too.......if you bought it i could understand, but seeing as you download a lot of it i dont see how you can complain...... :runsmile:
hehe, you shouldnt take my tongue-in-cheek cynicism so seriously :lol:

i always have respect for stuff even if i hate it, but its kinda boring to go around forums saying "well i respect everything equally". its more interesting to actually have opinions.

more importantly... i'm not complaining, am i?

i'm just saying some music is like that - and i dont personally like it so i dont buy it and i dont listen to it - but i'm not trying to deny its right to exist or be liked :Smile3: