Here's a technique I sometimes use to beef up a weak-sounding bass. It's for those occasions where you just can't fix the problem with EQs. For this technique, I'm using the MDA plugins pack from mda-vst.comThe plugins I'll be using on the signal processing chain are:
  1. Degrade
  2. Sub-bass Synthesizer

The rationale behind this method: downsample the original bass track to get a grittier feel to it. Then, apply the sub-bass synthesizer which generates the low-frequency harmonics required to make this work. You can take it a step further and apply bandpass filters at the end of the signal chain, to further control the harmonics that appear.

Here's how I did it in Harrison Mixbus; you can apply the same method in whatever DAW you use:
  • Add a new mono buss (I name it BassMultiplier)
  • Create a new send on your bass track, and route the signal to BassMultiplier
  • Take the bass track out of the Master buss, so you can hear the changes to the bass sound as the plugins are activated
  • Add the Degrade plugin to BassMultiplier with the following settings:
  • Add the Sub-bass Synthesizer plugin to BassMultiplier, with the following settings:
  • Adjust the settings on the two plugins as necessary to fit the sonic landscape you're trying to sculpt.
  • Bring down the level on BassMultiplier, then bring the original bass track into the Master buss.
  • Slowly bring up the level on BassMultiplier until the mix between these two tracks achieve the desired sound.
Some additional tips:
  1. Group the two tracks together, so when you change the bass level both tracks are adjusted together.
  2. Route the two tracks into a mixbus, and apply other elements like EQ, compression etc.
Post-production for The Wknd Sessions needs to be done in a logical and easy manner; after all, there are 3 albums' worth of material that we're producing. Things can quickly go south when moving from one step to another when you're dealing with 30 tracks in one go.

First things first: directory structure. After the last couple of seasons, I've adopted the following structure:

- Season X
 - Act # X
  - Song #1
  - Song #2
  - Song #3
- Act # Y
  - 1-MIXED
  - 3-WAV
  - 4-MP3

The Act # X directories will have the audio stems used. The OUTPUT directory will hold all the mixed, mastered, finalized, MP3 and MP3 preview files.

Here's a breakdown of the workflow I'm adopting:

Step 1
Mix, making sure to leave in approximately 10dB of headroom. Lead-in cues are not removed. Files are stored in OUTPUT/1-MIXED directory in 48kHz 16-bit WAV format. Cue lead-ins at the beginning of each song are not removed. No fade-ins or fade-outs.

Step 2
Use files from OUTPUT/1-MIXED and do mastering. Cues lead-ins are not removed. No fade-in or fade-outs are created, but apply silence in between cue and start of the song. Files are stored in OUTPUT/2-MASTERED directory in 48kHz 16-bit WAV format. Use this for the videos.

Step 3
Use files from OUTPUT/2-MASTERED. Remove cues, create the fade-ins and fade-outs where necessary. Files are stored in OUTPUT/3-WAV directory in 44.1kHz 16-bit format. Use this for The Wknd Sessions compilation CD audio.

Step 4
Take files from OUTPUT/3-WAV and convert to MP3 format. ID3 tags are embedded. Files are stored in OUTPUT/4-MP3 directory in MP3 format with constant bit rate @ 192kbps. Use this for The Wknd online store.

Step 5
Take files from OUTPUT/4-MP3 and create 30-second excerpts. 5-second fade-in and fade-out is created for each song. Resulting 30-second clip is saved in MP3 format with constant bit rate @ 192 kbps and stored here. Verify that ID3 tags are still persistent after the file save process. Files are stored in OUTPUT/5-MP3-PREVIEW directory in MP3 format with constant bit rate @ 192kbps. Use this for The Wknd online store previews.