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The Second Step In the Mixing Process (EQing)

After you spend some time getting the volumes adjusted to fit evenly and properly in the mix you are going to want to create space for every sound in your mix and you do that by EQing. In this blog post I will discuss the frequency spectrum and where each sound should fit in that spectrum. One important thing to remember is that you can not try to make everything sound as full and rich as possible on its own. You will need to cut or boost certain frequencies to help it sound good in relation to the other sounds.

This is called a Hi Pass Filter or a Low Cut Filter. We are cutting frequencies under 274 Hz. This will be the most common type of EQ that you will apply to your sounds.

Learning About the Frequency Spectrum

Above is a picture of the Ableton EQ8. The middle of the EQ shows the full frequency spectrum. So the spectrum ranges from 0Hz to 20k Hz. The human ear can not hear anything under 20 Hz and nothing above 20k Hz. Sounds that are under 100 Hz are considered to be sub frequencies. They is where your kick and sub bass will live.

In dance music we know that the kick and the bass are typically the most important elements of the track so we really want to make sure the the kick can cut through the mix and sound clean and also we want our sub bass to be clean and not muddy. A way to help clean your sub bass is to put a filter similar to the one in the picture above on every sound that is not your kick and bass.

Frequencies between 100 and 1k Hz are referred to as Low-Mids and 1k to 5k are referred to as High-Mids. And anything above 5k are the High Frequencies.

Where Each Sound Should Fit In the Mix

Keep in mind that many sounds will take up multiple frequency fields and also this is subject to taste. There are no set rules. These are guidelines.

Sounds like hats, rides and crashes should be placed in the high frequency range.

The kick needs to be in multiple ranges because you need the boomy sub bass and you also need the click of the kick in the high frequencies. A good Kick should not need much EQing.

Synths should be placed from the low-mids to the highs. depending on the style of vibe you are going for this can change to be placed in the high-mids to highs.

FX sounds should typically not have anything below 1k Hz unless it is a sub impact.

White Noise will be the sounds that take up the very high frequencies. You do not want the white noise to clash with your synths.

Vocals will range from the low-mids to the highs. Vocals are usually the focal point of the track when they are active.

Just like every other aspect of producing music, learning what works with EQing and what doesn't work takes a lot of practice and time. There are plenty of tutorials on youtube that can help explain this process but I hope this blog post was helpful to you.

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