Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Mentality Behind Producing For A Vocalist

The amount of instrumentals out there today getting pushed by up and coming producers is just getting bigger and bigger. So what's the secret to success?


Firstly, you need to be able to make music that is.. well, musical! I got into producing by making "happy hardcore" and electronica in Cakewalk's Project 5. This type of music very rhythm based, it's all about the groove. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. But when I started wanting to work with vocalists, it became extremely apparent that my music was lacking something they needed to latch on to the music... a solid melody! Vocalists love melodies, as much as gear heads love driving down curvy roads. This is actually a good way to think about it. It's pretty boring driving down a straight road isn't it? You need to give the singer a fun and exciting road to drive on.

The Mix Can Wait

One thing I hear a lot of is mixes that just don't have room for the vocal or they are "mastered" so nothing is going to mix well with it. When selling beats or instrumentals, don't just sell the beat, sell the stems! This allows the singer to create there own mix that will have room for everything they need. If, for some reason, you don't want to sell stems, at least offer a version with no mix bus compression or limiting and that has a decent amount of headroom. The will help make the final outcome be a lot more cohesive and sound better mixed. As in our case, we offer well discounted mixing services for anyone who needs vocals mixed into one of our productions. You can do the same!

You Are Building A Foundation, Not A House

Think of it this way, you are building a foundation for the vocalist to build a house on. If your house already looks finished, then cramming another addition on your 10 feet of lawn you have before it hits your neighbors property is just gonna look downright tacky and is simply inconvenient. You need a solid enough foundation that they can create a beautiful home on it that is all their own.

Just keep in mind you are not producing a finished product. When you listen to your instrumental, you should be thinking to yourself "this is missing something" and that something should be the vocals.

Offer Collaboration, Not A Sales Pitch

Working with the artist has it's advantages. You may end up building a relationship with them and they will become more comfortable with you producing their music. This means repeat business. Being in different area of the world can make it difficult. But doing something as simple as offering stems can make a big difference. Just be sure to remember, when you are making music for some one else to write or sing on, you are collaborating and you should act like it.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Being Creative In Every Step Of The Process (Making A Song Creatively)

Making a song from beginning to end is an lengthy adventure. While on this adventure you want to have as much fun with each step as you possibly can. This will allow you to have a way more creative approach to each step of the process of making a song. Let's discuss some concepts and ideas.

Writing, Arrangement and Production

When writing lyrics, think of how the words will be pronounced when sung. For example, the words "baby" and "hey" don't exactly rhyme, but when "baby" is pronounced "babay" they are an exact rhyme.

Session musicians are a great way to add a lot of flavor and realism to your tracks. If you are a singer that plays piano, try getting strings or acoustic guitar added to your songs. If your productions are all written in midi, replacing or adding just one live track can give your song a more human feel. Take to the internet, you may find that a lot of session musicians are not all that expensive, especially improv jazz musicians.

Sub Trash Studios will be releasing a production demo in the future which will feature 3-6 session musicians. When I first had the idea for the song I started out by programming the drums and bass. Second, I had two guitarists write and record guitar parts and a solo, according to my specifications and requests, which I later chopped and rearranged. Once I had a rough mix with the guitars I was happy with, I got a saxophone solo recorded on top of that. I am now in the process of writing lyrics and will soon after have vocals recorded. I may also add keys and strings to the final production.


Recording is the most over looked step in my opinion. This is where you create the source material for your whole project. You can make great cake with bad ingredients. Take a look at our article "Getting It Right At The Source" to get some great ideas while recording. Also, be sure to check out Part 2 of that article as well.


Mixing is where you are going to make everything fit and sound it's best. You use things like EQ, compression, reverbs, delays, distortion, and so on. It is important to make wise decisions, remember mixing a track is like putting together a puzzle that you need to curve each piece for. Everything needs to sound cohesive and be in it's own space (highs, mids, lows, right, center, left, front, back etc), not competing with one another, so you can clearly hear every piece of the composition in all it's glory.

One of the best things about mixing is that it's not about "getting it" it is about consistently evolving and challenging yourself to make better and more creative mixes. If you stay curious in the mixing community, you will find yourself always trying new things, finding alternate techniques, and always viewing this week's mixes better then last week's. There is infinite ways to mix a song, so you will always have something to learn or think about. In short, never tell yourself you know everything.


Your actions you take while mastering are subtle but can change the life of a track drastically because, you are applying the subtle effects to the entire mix, not just each track. If the only thing you use on the master bus is a limiter or compressor.. you need to start getting creative, today.

Try using multiple EQs not just one, for example, NI's Passive EQ for HP & LP, Pro-Q for using bell curves, and SlickEQ or BaxterEQ to do the shelving.

Also sometimes instead of using EQ I will use a harmonic exciter to boost the frequencies I want. Think of it as a "coloring EQ" in a sense.

Also try using serial compression to get further control over your transients without pumping or triggering your bus compressors too hard. This also will combine the characteristics of multiple styles of compressors to give it more unique coloration. I find using a multiband compressor to tame transients in certain frequencies before you run it through your normal compressor can really create a more natural sounding compression which is great for mastering live tracked songs.

Finding Creative Inspiration Anytime

All of our creative juices run low sometimes, usually more then what we'd like. Thankfully there are many ways find inspiration. The most obvious one is to just listen to some new music. Internet radio is pretty good for this because most sites are consistently update their playlists with new releases. Also try listening to some artists or genres you would not normally listen to, and try and find something you like whether its in just the mix, lyrics, or composition or the song as a whole. If you play an instrument practice some off the wall scales or try and learn a new part to a song.

Hope this articles was of help to you, for more from Sub Trash Studios follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and be sure to share this article!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Getting It Right At The Source: Part 2

In this part, we will talk about a few more concepts and ideas to keep in mind while recording.

Record Multiple Takes (even if you don't think you need to)

The main advantage I find of recording multiple takes is that you can combine them to make one amazing "take." Doing this allows you to focus on each section, one at a time, so every section is recorded being played or sung at it's absolute best. This also allows you to have more options when mixing and adjusting the arrangement during post production.

Record More Then Is Needed

This will leave yourself with as much options as possible down the road. The statement "less is more" is still very true and I'm not trying to argue against it. But, lets say you use 12 mics to record you drums, who says you actually need to use all 12 of the tracks? Maybe the overheads pick up the toms just fine, or the room mics mixed with only the kick and snare gets you that drum sound you were looking for.

When recording guitar try using a cable splitter (Hosa has some great, inexpensive splitters) so you can record a clean direct input, the signal from after your pedals and effects (before the amp), and the mic(s) on your cabinet all at the same time, all on their own tracks. Why you ask? When you get half way through mixing and it's long after the guitarist (who happens lives hours away) went home for the night and the, you realize you want a different guitar sound. You can do it now by using your audio sends to send the DI of the guitar out to the guitar amp and re-record it. You get the same great take but a totally new guitar sound.

Label Your Files As You Go

When you are working with a bunch of files, recording dozens of takes and tracks, things get messy real quick. It's even messier when all your tracks are titled something like "audio_01_23" or "track1-1." Be sure to label as you go and label it in a way that is cohesive and simple. When exporting to get it mixed, you may even want to organize them in folders if there is a large number of files.

Record Drums To A Click

In a lot genres of music, the drums are the foundation. It's what holds the tempo and carries the beat. When you record your drums to a click (metronome) this will mean your drum tracks will stay on beat throughout your entire song. You can even take this a bit further and time stretch the recording to lock tightly to the grid. Doing this though will sort of kill the human element of live drums, but, that may be what you are going for. Once you start recording the rest of the instruments over your drum track, everything will now be consistent and still have a very natural feel to it. This technique is standard procedure in any serious recording situation. Another pro to having your track on beat is that delays and other tempo synced effects will mix better and easier.

Use your drum triggers!

If you are blessed to own a set of decent drum triggers, you have a powerful tool in your studio. Having your drum set miked, the triggers attached and a trigger-to-midi module like the Alesis Trigger|io you can track your acoustic drums as well as midi data that matches your takes perfectly. So.. why do this? Well, if your recording in your basement your drum tracks are not going to be the most professional sounding. So, using the drum triggers you can layer in high quality samples (that were recorded in a pro studio) or replace your kick, snare, toms and if you have really nice triggers, even cymbals and hats.

Thanks for reading!

This is just a few more things to think about when recording next. I hope these posts and future ones like these inspire you to make some great music. (we'd love to hear it!) If you liked this article, we ask you, please share it, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Getting It Right At The Source

With the new age of technology, more and more producers and artists are starting to look at mix and master engineers as audio magicians. Though there is a vast amount of things we can do, we are not magicians (well, most of us aren't). One thing that can not be undone is bad recording. Avoid saying "we'll fix it in the mix" as you are really just working against your self. To get a great final mix, you need great recordings. In this article we explore the why and how of getting things right at the source.

Mic Position

Mic position is probably the most important aspect of recording. Moving a mic just half an inch can give you an all new sound. Next time you are recording, try multiple mic positions and compare them side to side. This will give you an audible representation of the huge difference a small location change can make on your recording. Another thing is the proximity effect, the closer you mic something, the closer is sounds.. If you have an idea how you are going to mix the track this can be very helpful. For example, you may wanna record your backup vocals with a little more distance than your lead vocals so they will sit a bit further back in the mix, naturally. Don;t be afraid to do some research on multiple techniques to record each instrument.

Choosing The Right Mic

Choosing the right mic can be crucial to getting good recordings, and by "right" I do not mean most expensive.

Knowing the basics about each type of microphone can get you a long way, specially when on a tight budget. There is many different types of microphone so we will just talk about the most common ones; dynamic, condenser, and ribbon. A dynamic microphone has a stronger output volume and can handle loud noises. This is why they are great for recording drums and other loud things. Condenser mics are a bit more sensitive, and can be damaged by very loud noises. They are great for recording vocals, acoustic guitars, strings and many more instruments. Ribbon mics are the most sensitive, and have the lowest output volume, so you will need a good preamp to keep things clean. They can be easily damaged and are best for quieter sound sources. They tend to color the sound a bit more then other types of microphones.

The polarity of the microphone will also be visually represented in the user manual. The polarity varies from mic to mic and some even offer multiple polarity settings.

Hypercardioid Polar Pattern

Here are the basics: Cardioid mean it picks up from the front, bi-cardioid (also known as bi-directional or figure 8) picks up from front and back. Omnidirectional picks up from all sides. There are other polar patterns (subcardioid, hypercardioid, shotgun, super cardioid) but they are less common and you can refer to your user manual if need be. If you can understand the basic patterns, then any other pattern will be easy to understand.

Now that you have your user manual in-hand or on-screen, lets take a look at some other specs that will further help you choose which mic to use. This information may be overwhelming at first glace but, the basics are simple.

Shure SM58 Frequency Response Curve

The frequency response curve visually represents how the mic "hears" the sound. You can use this information in order to choose a mic that will pick up and compliment the frequencies you want. For example, when miking a hi-hat, you might want a brighter mic then when you are recording a bass cabinet.

Impedance seems very complicated (and I am sure the math and science behind it is) but, it is basically how far the signal can travel through cable without loosing any quality. The lower the impedance, the father it will travel. When the signal travels further then it is able to, you will get a loss of high end and output volume.  As a general rule, anything below 1,000 ohms should be good for the studio as they can be used with virtually any length of cable and not experience loss of quality.

Hardware and Audio Interfaces

We'll start with mic pres (microphone preamplifiers). If you are looking to buy a mic pre, just do some simple research about the hardware in question. Customer reviews on sites like Sweetwater and Musician's Friend can be very helpful.

You want a mic preamp that can amplify the tiny little signal your mic gives you without generating noise or majorly altering the audio in a negative fashion. All mic pres will saturate and color you audio to some extent. The saturation and coloration created by certain mic pres is why a lot of engineers spend thousands of dollars on a single channel mic pre and also own multiple brands and models.

Neve 5012 Mic Preamp

Again, by good we do not mean expensive. In my home studio (where I mix and master) I use an Mbox 2 for my audio output. They can be bought used for less then $100 and the pres on it are clean. So you don't have to break the bank to get decent recordings. But be aware, the more mic pres you want on your interface, the more you will pay.

How your audio gets from the mic pre to your computer is also a vital link in your audio chain. If you own something like a Digidesign Mbox or a Tuscam US-1800, your mic pres are part of your audio interface and connect directly to your computer via USB or Firwire. This is a great way to reduce the length of your audio chain. Analog to digital converters can get spendy and come in many different varieties. Do remember, if 50 people say it's great on Sweetwater, chances are, it is. Just be sure to be aware of hardware with bundled software, it may sound appealing but if you happen to not like the unit or sometimes it may not even work, you can not send it back, as most places do not accept returns on software.

Hope this article helps you get on the path to better recording and inspire you to make some great music. (we'd love to hear it!) If you liked this article, we ask you, please share it, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Read Part 2 Here

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Evolution of Vocal Tuning and Pitch Correction

In The Beginning...

The year was 1975 and the Eventide H910 (shown above) has just been released. The H910 could shift pitch up or down 1 octave and offered up to 112.5 ms of delay. Only costing $1,600, it was a success. The sound generated from these are nothing like what we hear today. Zappa used one in his guitar rack. Eddie Van Halen used a pair of them as part of his signature guitar sound. Tony Visconti even used it on the snare in David Bowie's Young Americans. It was a studio favorite and everyone was trying to figure out cool ways to use it. There has been newer models and copycats being released ever since.

In The Digital Age..

Introduced in 1997, Antares Auto-Tune brought pitch correction into the digital world. The next major player was Melodyne in 2000. In 2009, Celemony released the technology for Direct Note Access, which is the ability to manipulate single notes in a polyphonic audio file. There has been many new programs to be release since 1997, but these are just two popular programs. Other plugins worth mentioning are iZotope's Nectar & T-Pain Effect, Wave's Waves Tune, and Gsnap, all of which have there own unique sound and parameters.

The Rise To Fame...

There is two people for which you can thank for the popularity of Auto-Tune. They are Cher and T-Pain. Cher's 1998 hit "Believe" was the first major release to use hard vocal tuning, then T-Pain brought it to the hip-hop and R&B side of things with his album "Rappa Ternt Sanga" which was released in 2005. Some say it even helped launch Lil Wayne career by "giving him access to melody." A great deal of hits have had their vocals tuned.


In 2001, The Simpsons aired an episode where Bart Simpson joins a boy band and they used a machine called "Studio Magic" which made them sound like N'SYNC or Backstreet Boys. Once it broke down during a performance and everyone heard how bad they sang without it. Even though this is an obvious exaggeration, it sparked a large wave of criticism. One star that seems to get berated consistently in Britney Spears. Just to prove how subtle of an effect the tuning had on her vocals, she released some "auto-tune free" clips, which I think could make any critic keep quiet. She also sang 80% of here Femme Fatale shows live. But does this prove anything? To a point, yes. It shows, that all the hate is over hyped. People jump to the conclusion that an average Joe Shmo can sound like JT, which it definitely incorrect. It is called "pitch" correction not, timbre-attenuation-articulation-rhythm-flow-dynamics-lyrics correction.


Today, pitch correction of a very commonly used tool. Most DAWs even come with some sort of pitch editor bundled in or integrated with the software. Sonar X3 actually has Celemony's Melodyne integrated with the GUI. Pitch correction and Auto-Tune are used on the majority of songs you hear on the radio today. Even though they sound very natural, the effect is just being used more precise and subtly. Pitch correction has almost became an art of it's own. The average user view's it as lazy, but an engineer can actually spend hours manually tuning the lead vocal track, using it's parameters to get very natural but musically creative results.

If you liked this article, we ask you, please share it, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. I hope these posts and future ones like these inspire you to make some great music. (we'd love to hear it!)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Why Get Your Song Mastered?

why get you song mastered

I find that there is a lot of amateur producers out there that approach their mixes with the mentality that they need to make the snare sound it's best, their bass needs to sound it's best, thier vocal needs to sound big and full.. etc. Though it sounds viable, they are really working against  themselves. Think, what will the end user really hear? They will hear the stereo output. Not just the snare, not just the bass, and not just the vocals. Everything needs to sound great together. It truly does not matter what anything sounds like on it's own.

But please do note, a bad mix can not be fixed in mastering. Make sure you get things leveled and sitting well in the mix before sending off to mastering. Personally if I am mixing or producing the song, I will "rough master" it, go back and adjust the mix, and then remaster is. There has been a few times I've gone back and forth multiple times. When you start compressing your master, things may not maintain the same sonic balance.

There is a lot more to mastering then what most people think. It's not just about getting things loud, but giving it more life. There is multiple things an engineer will do to your audio. Multiband dynamic processing, harmonic excitement, equalization, dynamic range processing (more then just compression) and limiting, just to name the 'basics.' They will also use all these tools in a different way then you or even different tools all together. Thing allows the master engineer to add to your sound not just exaggerate it.

From the master engineer's point of view, there is a sort of "magic" that happens when they don't really know exactly what was done on each instrument track. They essentially have no idea how it got this far. That 'ignorance' helps them get more creative. It makes them dig. It makes them want more. Master engineers are like Archaeologists of sound.

Another great point to make here is it will be mastered in different environment, a controlled one at that. This will make sure your song does not only sound good in your studio, but it will sound great everywhere else as well. The master engineer's ears are also fresh, so he may be able to pick out trouble areas a little easier.

There is no reason you shouldn't be getting you music mastered if your distributing it to the public. You need to let your music be as much as it can be. Don't let someone pass on listening to your song just because it doesn't have enough volume, life or punch. What if it was an A&R rep from your favorite label?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Get better mix-downs by learning the "magic frequencies"

Get better mixdowns by learning the magic frequencies

Every mix engineer will tell you that great equalization is something that separates the pros from the amateurs.

First let's lay down some basic tips. When mixing try and avoid hitting that solo button at all costs, it doesn't matter what it sounds like alone, it matters what it sounds like in the mix. Also try to listen to the mix on at least 2 different sets of speakers, you want the mix to sound great on both. And if possible listen to the mix in different environments or different locations in the room. These are just a few tips out of many but, lets get to what this article is really about.. magic frequencies.

Magic frequencies are areas on the audio spectrum that have very recognizable and distinct sound characteristics. Over time I have made a text document using multiple sources for which I use as a "cheat sheet" but, after so long of doing it you will know exactly what frequencies need to be tweaked anytime you hear a track.

Here are some common instruments and their "magic frequencies"...

Kick Drum

Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off around 300Hz. Try a small boost around 5-7kHz to add some high end.

50-100Hz ~ Adds bottom to the sound
100-250Hz ~ Adds roundness
250-800Hz ~ Muddiness Area
5-8kHz ~ Adds high end presence
8-12kHz ~ Adds Hiss


Try a small boost around 60-120Hz if the sound is a little too wimpy. Try boosting around 6kHz for that ‘snappy’ sound.

100-250Hz ~ Fills out the sound
6-8kHz ~ Adds presence

Hi hats or cymbals

Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off around 300Hz. To add some brightness try a small boost around 3kHz.

250-800Hz ~ Muddiness area
1-6kHz ~ Adds presence
6-8kHz ~ Adds clarity
8-12kHz ~ Adds brightness


Try boosting around 60Hz to add more body. Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off around 300Hz.If more presence is needed, boost around 6kHz.

50-100Hz ~ Adds bottom end
100-250Hz ~ Adds roundness
250-800Hz ~ Muddiness Area
800-1kHz ~ Adds beef to small speakers
1-6kHz ~ Adds presence
6-8kHz ~ Adds high-end presence
8-12kHz ~ Adds hiss


This is a difficult one, as it depends on the mic used to record the vocal. However…Apply either cut or boost around 300hz, depending on the mic and song.Apply a very small boost around 6kHz to add some clarity.

100-250Hz ~ Adds ‘up-frontness’
250-800Hz ~ Muddiness area
1-6kHz ~ Adds presence
6-8kHz ~ Adds sibilance and clarity
8-12kHz ~ Adds brightness


Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off around 300Hz. Apply a very small boost around 6kHz to add some clarity.

50-100Hz ~ Adds bottom
100-250Hz ~ Adds roundness
250-1kHz ~ Muddiness area
1-6kHz ~ Adds presence
6-8Khz ~ Adds clarity
8-12kHz ~ Adds hiss

Electric guitars

Again this depends on the mix and the recording. Apply either cut or boost around 300hz, depending on the song and sound. Try boosting around 3kHz to add some edge to the sound, or cut to add some transparency. Try boosting around 6kHz to add presence. Try boosting around 10kHz to add brightness.

100-250Hz ~ Adds body
250-800Hz ~ Muddiness area
1-6Khz ~ Cuts through the mix
6-8kHz ~ Adds clarity
8=12kHz ~ Adds hiss

Acoustic guitar

Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off between 100-300Hz. Apply small amounts of cut around 1-3kHz to push the image higher. Apply small amounts of boost around 5kHz to add some presence.

100-250Hz ~ Adds body
6-8kHz ~ Adds clarity
8-12kHz ~ Adds brightness


These depend entirely on the mix and the sound used.

50-100Hz ~ Adds bottom end
100-250Hz ~ Adds body
250-800Hz ~ Muddiness area
1-6hHz ~ Sounds crunchy
6-8kHz ~ Adds clarity
8-12kHz ~ Adds brightness

Here are six major frequency you need to know, these can apply to every sound you will ever mix..

Frequency 1 – Thickness/Muddiness

Instruments and sounds that are dominant in the lower frequencies can have a tendency to dominate them a little too much. Too much low mid can thicken up a sound so that it lacks clarity and definition. The low mids, around 200 Hz are a good area to check for any unwanted muddiness or boominess in your mixes.

Frequency 2 – Boxiness

This is the bane of the bass drum. I personally hate kick drums that have too much of that cardboard box flavor. If it’s done 100% right it does have a natural earthy flavor that’s kind of cool but just a little bit too much can kill the sound for me. It just sounds like a fist pounding a cardboard box.If you are struggling with boxiness then the frequency area around 3–600 Hz should be your hunting ground. Boost your EQ all the way up and stop when the boxiness is unbearable. Then swiftly cut down the middle. Don’t worry if your cut isn’t super narrow, it’s OK to cut the kick drum a little more drastically in that area.

Frequency 3 – The Cheap Sound

This is a very annoying frequency for acoustic guitar players that also happen to be engineers. Like me. You know when the guitar just doesn’t sound good. It just sounds like somebody bought it at Wal-Mart and brought it to the studio expecting a great sound. Ok, that might not actually happen but sometimes some guitars just sound cheap. Obviously this can’t be fixed all the time. But there is a cheap cheat frequency that you can use to get rid of at least some it. The mids around 800 Hz have this characteristic that makes the acoustic guitar sound a little cheap. So by cutting it a little bit you can usually bring out a warmer and less biting sound.

Frequency 4 – Nasal Sound

It sucks to record a singer when he has a cold. Not to mention the possibility of catching it yourself but your recording will too. What’s even worse is when your singer doesn’t have a cold but he somehow sounds like he does. Nasally or tinny sound can be a product of too much of 1–1.2 kHz. Too much in that area and your instruments sound horn-like and tinny and your singers sound nasally and congested. If you feel like you have a vocal that’s suffering from the aforementioned symptoms then make sure you check to see if a cut in the 1 kHz area can’t help.

Frequency 5 – Presence

If I had to pick between the frequencies for a favorite one (which sounds ridiculous but whatever), I would have to choose 5 kHz. 5 kHz just brings out the character in so many instruments. Whether you need to put some make-up on a dull vocal or bring out the bite on the electric guitar, 5 kHz just really makes it all shine.

Frequency 6 – Air

That final stretch of spectrum from around 10 kHz and up is sometimes referred to as Air. As you might think from the name it kind of lifts up the higher frequencies, opening up the instruments that occupy that part of the spectrum. The high notes of instruments, subtleties of the piano for instance or the sound of drum cymbals.14 kHz or so onward can be used to subtly brightening things up that aren’t necessarily dull but might need a little….well, air, to make them stand out. By boosting there you are boosting frequencies out of the way of other instruments, as many instruments won’t be affected that much that high up the spectrum.

Also here are some more frequencies and examples of how to use them...


1. Increase to add more fullness to lowest frequency instruments like foot, toms, and the bass.
2. Reduce to decrease the “boom” of the bass and will increase overtones and the recognition of bass line in the mix. This is most often used on bass lines in Rap and R&B.


Increase to add a harder bass sound to lowest frequency instruments.
Increase to add fullness to guitars, snare.
Increase to add warmth to piano and horns.
Reduce to remove boom on guitars & increase clarity.


1. Increase to add fullness to vocals.
2. Increase to add fullness to snare and guitar (harder sound).
3. Reduce to decrease muddiness of vocals or mid-range instruments.
4. Reduce to decrease gong sound of cymbals.


1. Increase to add clarity to bass lines especially when speakers are at low volume.
2. Reduce to decrease “cardboard” sound of lower drums (foot and toms).
3. Reduce to decrease ambiance on cymbals.


1. Increase for clarity and “punch” of bass.
2. Reduce to remove “cheap” sound of guitars

1. Increase for “clarity” and “pluck” of bass.
2. Reduce to remove dullness of guitars.


1. Increase for more “pluck” of bass.
2. Increase for more attack of electric / acoustic guitar.
3. Increase for more attack on low piano parts.
4. Increase for more clarity / hardness on voice.
5. Reduce to increase breathy, soft sound on background vocals.
6. Reduce to disguise out-of-tune vocals / guitars


1. Increase for vocal presence.
2. Increase low frequency drum attack (foot/toms).
3. Increase for more “finger sound” on bass.
4. Increase attack of piano, acoustic guitar and brightness on guitars.
5. Reduce to make background parts more distant.
6. Reduce to soften “thin” guitar.


1. Increase to add attack on low frequency drums (more metallic sound).
2. Increase to add attack to percussion instruments.
3. Increase on dull singer.
4. Increase for more “finger sound” on acoustic bass.
5. Reduce to decrease “s” sound on singers.
6. Increase to add sharpness to synthesizers, rock guitars, acoustic guitar and piano.


1. Increase to brighten vocals.
2. Increase for “light brightness” in acoustic guitar and piano.
3. Increase for hardness on cymbals.
4. Reduce to decrease “s” sound on singers.


1. Increase to brighten vocals (breath sound).
2. Increase to brighten cymbals, string instruments and flutes.
3. Increase to make sampled synthesizer sound more real.

Now go through and really listen to these frequencies.. take a band pass filter and sweep up and down the frequencies, you will notice these frequencies sound similar even with very different sources. Once you teach yourself to hear audio like this, you are well on your way to getting great mixes every time.

Thank you for reading, if you enjoyed this article or found it helpful please "like" us on Facebook, subscribe to us on YouTube and follow us on Twitter and Google+ and check our website,