Favorite EQ Hacks #4
All right, so the next two hacks kind of go together, we'll do one at a time. High pass filter. Man, this is so simple. We didnt show this in the last segment specifically when I was looking at the types of you, let me show it to you real quick and explain what's going on here the first time I learned this, I was like, wow, that's simple is when the easy things you can do, and if you're not doing it, you should do it right away. I'm I think I'm surprised in my eye, make assumptions that most people know about using high past filters, and I'll talk to people realize me, and they don't know about this yet. So it's a very powerful concept. If you're new to this, we looked at the five bands on on a cue, and this one in particular, but up here, the two filters, and we should we did a little bit of automation on the high pass filter, but an h p f or a high pass filter is a is a filter or cuban that lets the highs pass through what's called a high pass. It sounds counterintuitive you it's som...
etimes called a low cut that's what you're doing, a cutting the lows to me, that makes more sense, but I don't think they asked logical people to give these things names I think they asked people in lab coats to get these things names but high past filters. What is h p f and that is this curve here or you can roll off the low and so if you you can hear this, right? Like, if I grab my vocal, did you hear what we're doing here? Describe the vocal gravity q insert high pass filter here's what a high pass does stay six and stones tear in means soon tio right it's rolls off the low in kind this's a simple little guy you can use, but here's the here's, the hack going back to how with you were trying to make space for everything and that's our whole goal or whole deal with this and make space for everything what people complain about the complaint about. Maybe you felt this think once you add all these other instruments it's really hard to get clarity on my low end on the kick drum on the bass guitar I know they're there, I hear them, but it's not a lot of clarity, so the simplest thing you can do to clean up your mix today is to use a high pass filter on everything except for your bass guitar in your kick trump and what I mean specifically is is like grab your guitars and start there put it in I like a little steeper curve like twelve d be active looks like this as opposed to this but there's no there's, no rule there and if a bass guitars weight and a kick drums wait like that a lot of frequencies in the bass guitar kicked your butt if that low and wait is living between let's say fifteen hundred hertz which would be down here and most everything else in your mix your guitar is your vocals or keyboards or since most of them are living in the mid range and up they do have low and information like our nice guitar does have its so thick and then I rolled off low in but what we perceive as a guitar isn't really low in if that's the case why not cut out all the low end of everything else but the bass guitar in a kick drum and that will free up some space he literally well I like to roll off two hundred hundred is a great starting point roll off everything below one hundred on every other track so I would do that's a guitar I would I would do that to the next guitar the next guitar you and you can see it if you look at my e q curves in reality they've got here there's a high pass filter up to one hundred seventy up to eighty eight, up two hundred eight of two hundred, eight hundred ten, one hundred ten I mean across the board my vocals ninety five, ninety five the reason ones in ninety five and one hundred ten is because I'm a human being I just dragged it up to around one hundred I let go it's, not ninety five isn't special or magical, so don't get confused on what I'm doing is taking out a lot of the low in on everything else let's show you what this looks like if you get rid of every other e q if there's no like you in my mix and let's say I grab ah ah one band geek you this is just a one band version of what we've been looking at all day long so I can only do one each you move and it can do a high pass filter and just set it to one hundred hertz. So this is the same as what I just showed you on the big q ok let's, take that q and let's. Copy it every single track other than my first track, which is a kick drum and other than my base, and skip the base on a copy this high pass to everything else oregon and my vocal tracks all right, so if you're looking at visually this whole third row horses e q three one band that's the high pest filters on everything. Okay, they're all the same, right? So let's, listen to the mix in a chorus where a lots of stuff is in and let's, we've rolled off a lot of this low in let's press play, and then I'm gonna bypass all of those high past filters, and what you're going to probably hear is some of the clarity on the bass guitar in the kick drum disappear because now we're introducing more alone on the other tracks to take a listen. Did you hear that it's kind of hard out here, it's pretty subtle. Listen to the kick trump, forget the base for a second and listen to the kick. Trump um, I'm gonna press play and you can kind of hear it and I want to bring in the high past filters listen to how they kicked from jumps out a little bit. Did you hear it a little bit better that time again? This is a subtle thing, but we're basically using this attractive concept the the masking concept of other things. We're covering up my good stuff concept, and we're blending them together in a simple move where we can use a high pass filter to roll off everything. On everything else but the kick drum in the base to leave room for those two instruments those two instruments need to shine down there and as much as all the other tracks have low in down there, that is part of the signal. Does it add to the signal? No, like these guitars like if I get rid of the high pass filter to these guitars change much and I don't hear any audible change, so I'm not hurting the guitars by high passing him, but if by high passing everything but the base in the kick drum, I'm giving them a shot to have some room, then I'll do it all day every day that makes sense clarifications on the high pass filter how do you know what frequency you should set for the high pass filter? And then this viewer says I'm often scared of cutting too much of the low end. Yeah, um, I like one hundred hertz is a starting point, but twelve or tweet designed the idea twelve by, uh well by default, I think because it feels right to you, but I don't think it really matters too much. Um, you know, don't be a medic, iet starbucks the other day, who was having an argument with his dad, ok, two things about this story really weird one is that these two guys it's so cool like they make music together down of the sun and but I always see the myth starbucks like and they're in this time they were arguing about the bass guitars dad's a bass guitar player the sun is actually recording mixing and um the dad was saying, you know, my base doesn't sounds great by itself, but in the mix, man, whatever he's doing is ruining my bases and sound good and I want to sound a certain way and I was asking the sun like, well because he follows my stuff and I'm like are using a high pass filter on unlike everything else and and he's like, yeah, I'm using a high pass filter, so I thought that wasn't a problem, but it turns out he was using the high pass filter on ly up to, like, you know, fifty hertz or forty hertz um, because he was afraid to cut out more low in and all the other tracks like to go up to, like one hundred hertz on once I once we discussed it a bitter realized wait so you're only high passing up to forty or fifty years like that's not doing anything for you that's still covering up the base because the base is probably around seventy or eighty maybe I mean, I don't know how to listen to that base don't be afraid to take everything on your high passes all the way up to one hundred or beyond that's going to leave room for your base he was like, oh, I didn't know I could go that high and so I don't want you to be afraid to go that high as if something bad is gonna happen what what's the worst that can happen all of a sudden you track sound a little thin and you just back it off a little bit and then you're probably good you get us far as you can tell a start to sound thin, then roll it back a little bit and that will sound fine because he came back a few weeks later some starbucks again he's in this dazzling thank you saved our friendship because now my biggest sounds great in the mix and he and he and this summer's I guess it was it was the high pass filth of the moment I carved out more low end on the rest of the tracks than my dad's base appeared magically so it's super simple thing to do but don't be afraid to go up to one hundred you'll see some of my guitars look at our accused a guitar where is that guy? My riel acoustic guitar track? This is up to one hundred seventy because you know this guitar doesn't need to be that's sick down there you may not like how thin that sounds, but you are never going to hear that guitar by itself you're going to hear it in the mix right like this so the guitar will never sound thin because you always hear that bass and the other electric guitars and all you're going to notice in the mix is the pick on the metal strings, so don't be afraid of high passing and you can always go high and then back it off of its too much do you get a cleaner result using the same cut off frequency across all the tracks rather because I usually I do put a high pass filter on almost everything except the base the kick in the base since but I choose like a different cut off frequency for every other sound so between eighty to three hundred or even four hundred but I'm not sure if that's making it looking more messy or causing I don't I don't think that's going to give you any problems I'm not that scientific about it I shoot for about one hundred as a starting point and sometimes roll off more on track if I could get away with it if I still feel like it's a little roughly down there but there's nothing wrong with doing different frequencies and there's no but there's also nothing to be gained I think by making sure they're all that different cut off points ok, few more questions from the chat stemming from this pang wants to know wouldn't you still want to cut the subsonic frequencies iii thirty hertz for the base yeah, great question for the longest time I never did a high pass filter on the base um but you absolutely can and sometimes I do I think I don't know if I had do on this mix let's look, um no, I didn't on this mix, it just depends. You might have if you have a like a synth base it's really, really deep and it's just like rumbling down there, you might want to have a high pass around twenty or thirty hertz. I think one point in one of these sessions I'm I mentioned that I sometimes but a high pass filter my next bus, the master fate and I'll roll off everything below twenty um even after I've done all these high past filters just to make sure there's nothing really, really low there if I feel like I can sense something again, I can't hear very well down there, but sometimes you will find if you're kick drum and bass guitar are covering each other up sometimes when I roll off some low end on the bass guitar, maybe up to twenty thirty maybe even forty hurts all of sudden the bass guitar sounds tighter because really in some bass guitar is what I'm hearing is like eighty hurts so I could still even roll off loading on the bass guitar in and then it if sometimes seems to focus the basically tell I don't really know how to describe it so don't be afraid of the high pass filter on the kick from the bass guitar just I wouldn't go up to one hundred because you're going toe cut off all the sweets sweetness way come to know about a kick from the bass guitar follow appear from raffaele and he says what I mean is that the low e string on a guitar is around eighty hurts if you high pass at one hundred hertz wouldn't that cut out that low? You know? Or are we just talking tone and not the specific notes you're talking about on it on a bass guitar or regular guitar? Was that what did you say he doesn't specify here? Not sure we could double check if it's a bass guitar I wouldn't roll off up to one hundred anyway if it's a regular guitar that's the question off io again I never think in terms of frequencies and notes yeah because because you could have an e at higher frequencies that's not the only e so you still can hear the note he's just not going to resonate that low, low e the same way you'll still hear it just in different parts of the frequency spectrum. And but if it's a guitar thing by itself, I wouldn't high pass it up two hundred, because if it all was me playing electric guitar, I would want some of that nice rich lohan, but it's less about the guitar and more about the guitar with everything else, and you have to sacrifice something, something has to be cut, you can't throw up your favors and leave everything with its fullness and it all play nice together. Something has to make room for something else, and this is a really easy way to do that. Ok, here's, another one. Would you recommend high passing instruments while tracking on a pre amp or in a condenser microphone, as opposed to awaiting toe high? Pass them in mixing one hundred percent? Yeah, both even high pass as much as you can. You know, I think a lot of these vocal vocals I always high pass on my preempt and a lot of them even audio interfaces some of them have high past buttons on interface, even if you don't have a channel strip that absolutely hi passing on the recording day, we'll even cut out like air conditioning, rumble or the guy mowing the lawn down the street. Sometimes it'll cut out some of that low frequency stuff so high pass as much as you can unless it's a kick drum and bass guitar on recording day and only keep a track cleaner a great point and just to clarify here why is a high pass called a high pass and vice versa doesn't high pass mean to pass the highs yes so take a look what we're doing ah high pass filter is letting all the high frequencies still passed through so still so that's letting the highest passed on through we're not removing the highs where is a low pass filter is the opposite it's letting on the low frequencies passed through meaning is letting us hear the low frequencies that it's much easier I got little would make more sense in some pre empts will say hi cut or low cut any that's better terminology I was using the terminology that you're going to see you're doing all right we've got a question here from sean who says what is your preferred h p f decibel oct setting something more musical like six to twelve decibels or something more hard edged like twenty four to forty eight decibels so I'm or six to twelve so what he's talking about his this high appear the cute high filter has a queue just like we looked at the not just have a cuba they do it again I don't know what the science behind the decibels poor activites how much? How steep the curve is so six look at the curve at how changes that's kind of nice and gentle at sixty b twelve dbs is a little steeper eighteens getting real sharp steep twenty four is falling off a pretty steep cliff. This goes back to like I like real medium cues when I'm boosting things or because I think it's more musical I live in the six to twelve range because I think it's a little more natural sounding than just a sharp cliff. I'm sure roll things off, not trying to be surgical. Okay, let's do one more question here. We've been talking a lot about the high pass filter, but we had a question in the chat room from the booth bro's who want to know when would you practically use a low pass filter in music that ever come up? Yeah, that's a great question so the low past filter is less common, but not to be left alone. I will use a low pass sometimes aren't let's say, like over here, I've got some gang vocals were some doubles vocal sometimes sometimes I will throw a low pass filter on them. Because if they're really nice and bright I could just roll off some low end to make them tuck underneath that leads leave vocal I don't really want them to have a lot of high frequencies so I'll just car some of that out here's another little cool trick is let's say you've got a guitar that I think about this so when we think about like ambience and over talk we're not talking about river but we think that river bordelais is the only type of technique that gives us a sense of three d space like there's something real close so it's dry I put a lot of river when something sounds far away you know this case far away you can do that with the q you could do that with a low pass filter because think about things that sound close to us have a lot of high frequency information things that sound more muffled sound further away because in real life if you play a song out of a stereo right in front of me has plenty of high frequencies if you take that stereo and put it down the hall by the time I hear it it sounds a little more muffled high frequencies have been dissipated so you can use that trick you can only thing I'm saying is you can use a low pass filter to roll off anything that sounds a little too in your face and it's a good volume but it's a little too in your face use a low pass filter to roll off some of those highs and it makes that guitar or vocal seemed toe sit back away from you a little bit where is the lead vocal actually a little bit more high frequency so it sounds bright and in your face but you could actually use a low pass filter to create a sense of space or depth so sometimes if there's ah harsh guitar part that comes in I'll just low past that thing you know down nine k eight k so it's really just mid rangy and it seems to just tuck under nicely it's a great way to tame something that's a little too bright still hear it and feel it but it's back there a little bit it was a great way to use it cool um about lopez lopez falters some form a couple of years ago some people said they just maybe it's a genre of music to they cut everything off like above fifteen k but I thought that was extreme so I started cutting things off above like around sixteen seventeen do you think that to me it goes back to I don't know if I can hear that difference and if you think you can and you feel good about it and then then do it I couldn't but I'm wondering if it ends up giving you we're giving more energy to everything else that's their well, you know what it probably does. Here's a funny thing I don't know if you followed craig anderson he's a fantastic teacher he's been the editor in chief at a naughty a magazine, a camera which once I want to misquote it I think he works for gibson guitars now, but he's a great educator in the audio space, and he he was doing a mastering classes teaching about mastering. And he had a funny comment. One time he said, I had a client that sent me a song, and all I did was he's a low pass filter to roll off like everything above, like probably fifteen k or something like that. Something is almost inaudible, and I sent the mix back or the master back and they said, man, well, kind of tape saturation emulation, did you run this through? It sounds so warm and sweet things like that. All I did was take off some of that top end with a low pass filter because this digital recording is so pristine and so accurate that it keeps everything you give it. Where is probably a lot of the music we're listening to if you grew up listening to anything before late nineties early two thousand two and even know now, a lot of stuff still taped they're recorded to tape or recorded on analog stuff and it tape kind of absorbs a lot of the high end takes away some of that actually rolling off some of the high end with the low past can almost make something sound like he went through like a tube you know, processing or tape saturation and can sound analog but it's because it's just missing some top and it's kind of funny, he just used that as a joke like it's funny what we associate as warm is just get rid of some of those high, so I don't know if that sounds good to you, I guess I'm saying, yeah, you probably onto something, do I? Do I do that? Um, I don't actually use little past filters on my mixed bus that often, but maybe I'll start with you like it, all right, where we had a question that coming from me hacia star sixes isn't low pass filter also used for high gain electric guitars is that a good use for it? Yeah, I mean, if the guitar is really harsh, right? If it's like just just killing you like a lot of guitar in simulators can sound really harsh and I think a lot of times a lot of younger and I mean newer to recording mixing engineers will have way too much gain on their guitars especially if it's ah, really heavy genre and they think it sounds cool but it's almost too much where it hurts the ear to listen to so you could use a low pass to exact like he said, to tame some of that, that stuff that doesn't sound good you want the mid range of the guitar, but the top and stuff doesn't really add anything nice to like electric guitar, so I am all about like, if electric guitars trying take up all this space in the spectrum, carve off some low end car ofsome top in and it'll live in this nice mid range spot that you know, the vocals be breathy up at the top because aside the bases down here in the low and let the let the hiding guitars live in the middle so you get high pass and low past, and that might be a really good thing because it's all about fitting things and we only have so much space we need to set everything and so it's a great use of blow past blow past question callem rose wants to know would you use a low pass filter on backing vocals? Absolutely, absolutely if they sound too bright and they're competing with lead vocal that's a great way to be able to feel and hear the background vocals but then not take over the lead vocal absolutely all right, we'll give you this one. One more question here while we're on the segment is a little bit off topic, but we have people in the chat room who do all different types of audio work and want to get your take on this. We're with you, he says. I know it's a completely different system, but how would you apply some of these hacks to film sound, post production? I mean, I think it's the exact same thing. I mean, so your job in sound design and for film is you try to aid what we see on the screen to sound and be exciting, like a movie without sound is not exciting. It all on the sound is a huge part of of film, but you still have either stereo or five point one or seven point one. You still have teo output all these tracks, and probably more than we're dealing with. You probably have layers of of of the narration of dialogue and sound and samples, and all has to funnel out two, two or five or six or whatever speakers you still have the same problem, so use filters you, zeke you to make sure that you can hear everything you could close your eyes, even in notice, everything and it's almost harder, because with sound design with picture it has to support something you see on the screen, so you have to if I see, I don't know what kind of sound is on let's say, it's a war movie if I see a guy shooting, you know, a gun, I mean, my mind wants to hear bullets and also the sound of whatever is happening. I want to also if I see people in the back, and I want to hear the murmur of people of the chanting or if there's intense music also you hear the music visually have visual cues for some things and not visual cues for other things for you. If it's not right in the mix or issued right, you can't notice it against the soundtrack a major problem, because people are visually expecting to see it right it's the same with cutting ah la live mix of a song to picture if you have, like, a dvd release of a live concert and the moment that camera pans to the lead guitar player, you better believe that the guitar lead guitar zeke you'd write so I can hear it from seeing him play it, and if I don't see it, it seems like a weird, disjointed like thing, right, so same concept would apply. We're just a little bit more pressure because you have visual cues, so or that might help you see the visual cue, and I'll tell you this moments on you got to make sure this sticks out in the mix and if that answer the question, yeah, no, absolutely, but your exact same concepts in general to achieve the same result, you presented her like five point one or seven point one in model whole thing you'd see I don't do sound design, but I would wonder if guys do do it mano like, um, they have to have a mano version that sounds good because it has to be able to be play or mono tell if it's broadcast mono is all the time for broadcast rights, so it has to sound good and mono anyway, so there's going to be a bunch of versions of the mix? So yeah, it's probably a both, and I don't know if they're going to do it simultaneously or if they can work on just amado mix and then work on a high point one mix because they know people going to choose third home with surround sound, they're going to choose the five point one I don't know if that makes sense.