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Get Rid of That Oh-So Unnecessary High-End


When you use EQ, not everything needs to be squeaky clean and filled with high-end sheen.

Sometimes it’s useless to add “air” to certain instruments. You don’t need to, and your mix might suffer for it. In some cases, too much high-end just adds hiss and noise instead of those clean highs you wanted.

Give the Low-Pass Filter Some Love

If the high-end isn’t there to begin with, it’s redundant to try to add it with EQ.

Some instruments benefit from low-pass filtering. Either there’s something there that you don’t want to interfere with something else, or it just adds noise and unnecessary energy.

Distorted Electric Guitars

Tighten up your thick rock guitar mix by deleting some of the higher frequencies.

If you’ve recorded them with a dynamic microphone, with the distortion to the max, chances are the high-end is really only noise and hiss.

Add a low-pass filter and filter until you start hearing the signal suffer, then back off a little. You might even clean the sound up a little, since you probably added way too much distortion to begin with. 🙂

The Kick Drum

The beater is basically the highest-end of the kick drum. And the sound of the beater is most prominent around 2-4 kHz.

You can clean up the bass drum quite nicely by low-pass filtering everything above, say, 8 kHz. Especially if the kick drum has a bunch of cymbal and snare drum bleed.  You really cut the amount of extraneous drums getting into your bass drum mic if you filter out some of that high-end.

The Bass Guitar

Filter out the high-end on a bass track if you want a smoother sound. If the bass is just a low sounding groove then you don’t need the high-end.

If your bass just acts as a grooving pad-type sound with a bunch of other instruments taking care of the rest of the arrangement you can safely filter out its high-end. It’s also a good way to get rid of the string sound of the bass, for a smoother sound.

Reverbs

Sometimes, reverbs add annoying sibilance to vocals. Some reverbs can also sound just a tad too bright.

If you like the reverb, then EQ it and make it fit better. Either filter out the high-end or cut it with some high shelving. You want the space the reverb gives you, but you don’t need the sibilance or the brightness bouncing off the walls.

Don’t be Afraid

Hey, don’t be Some instruments just don’t need all that high-end, and being a little drastic on the filter can make your mix sound better.

Try the low-pass filter the next time you’re having high-end or hiss issues. It just might work.

For more mixing tips like these, sign up for my free EQ Course here. Learn over 70 tips to cleaner mixes.


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About me

About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

At Audio Issues you’ll learn simple and practical audio production tips you can use right away to improve your music from your home recording studio.  Björgvin is the best-selling author of Step By Step Mixing and the founder of Audio Issues. He helps musicians and producers turn amateur demos into professionally produced records they can be proud to release.

We help home studio musicians and project studio producers make a greater musical impact in their lives by teaching them the skills needed to grow their hobbies and careers. We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use right away to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

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