Big Bass for Small Speakers

Right, so you have done a mix with nice bass, you checked on your excellent speakers and then played your mix on a tiny speakers.
And then you encounter the small , very frustrating problem that your low end, your carefully crafted bass isn’t there.



The problem is that your bass or low end is too low in the frequency spectrum , so the pitch is too low to be heard on smaller speaker which often only start with their frequency playback around or even above those low frequencies.
So how to fix that?

Subbass vs Small Speakers Frequencies
Subbass vs Small Speakers Frequencies

Try Eq-ing first:

The next 2 methods will help you to get your low end bass to be heard on small speakers and there’s a bonus tip at the end so stick around until the end..

But I Want to address EQ-ing first. IF you can enhance bass by boosting EQ frequencies above the roll of many small speaker devices, somewhere in the 100 to 300 hz range.
If that doesn’t work, you need to enhance the bass.

Eq-ing Bass

Bass Enhancer Plugins:

The best method to get your precious bass hearable on small devices is to create higher frequencies, to add non existent frequency material. There are bass enhancer tools available to help you out with that.

Bass Enhanced Frequencies
Bass Enhanced Frequencies

The first are bass enhancing plugins.

These plugins specialize in generating harmonics, that are basically frequencies which are multiplies of the lowest fundamental note. These work so well because our human brain will hear the lowest fundamental tone when the matching harmonics are played, even when the lowest note isn’t there.
So these tools are great to generate low end which isn’t there, which will not be there but what our brain thinks IS there.

These bass enhancers are widely available, like for instance Waves RBass, Leapwing Audio Rootone and Black Salt Audio’s Low Control.
These plugins can all add harmonics above the fundamental low tone and help you to increase the low end perception.


If I increase the low end enhancing, you’ll see the harmonics being added in the image above.
This will make sure the bass will be heared on smaller speakers.
Now since this are newly generated frequencies check your mix if you need to eq some other tracks now.

If possible work on the separate tracks which need the bass enhancing, but it can work on the masteras well.

The second method is to use saturation or distortion.

Waves Rbass and Leapwing RootOne Bass Enhancers
Waves Rbass and Leapwing RootOne Bass Enhancers

Using Saturation and Distortion as Bass Enhancer

When you add distortion and / or Saturation, this will also add harmonics, only these harmonics aren’t nice multiples of the fundamental note but more random. This will also work as a bass enhancer.
This can work great as well. The sound can be more similar to an eq, only it will again generate frequencies which aren’t there and will generally give a more richer tone.

Best is to use a plugin which is multiband like for instance Fabfilter Saturn 2.


Fabfilter Saturn 2 and Cubase Supervision
Fabfilter Saturn 2 and Cubase Supervision

This will allow you to work way more precisely and give the ability to finetune more.
Select a region where the fundamental of the bass is and increase the saturation.

This wil again add a lot of harmonics in the higher frequency areas which will help make the low end more audible. It’s a more rough method than the previous bass enhancement but very useful as well.

bassguitar pitch up

Pitch Shifting the duplicated Bass track

Now a more unusual way, which can be tricky but also can work really well is to do the following.
Duplicate the track which you need the bass enhancing on and apply pitch shifting.
Shift the duplicate by 12 semitones, which is an octave and blend that pitched track in slightly.
You can add eq to finetune that pitched track.

Duplicated track with Pitch Shift
Duplicated track with Pitch Shift

This will shift the entire track into a hearable frequency range, but you need to be careful how much you blend in to not affect the overall mix of the track too much.

All these methods can work in various degrees, try them out what works best for your mix.

These are the plugins mentioned in this article:

Bass Enhancer plugins:
Leapwing Audio Rootone:
Waves Rbass:
Black Salt Audio Low Control:
Fabfilter Saturn 2: