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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Magic High-Pass Filter

If you took a survey of music software apps and hardware, I bet that the majority would have a High-Pass Filter on them. Regardless of whether its a microphone, microphone preamp, mixer or console, EQ or DAW app, there's a good chance that a high-pass filter will be incorporated somewhere. Yet, why is it so overlooked?

The high-pass filter is one of the most valuable processors in a mixer’s toolkit. Here's why:
  • The low frequencies of many instruments (especially guitars) just get in the way of each other and don’t add much to the overall sound. If you roll off the low frequencies  below 150 or 200Hz with the high-pass filter on instruments other than the kick and bass, the mix begins to clean up almost magically. 
  • Rolling off the low frequencies of a vocal mic can eliminate the rumble of trucks and machinery that you can’t hear because they're so low, yet muddy up the mix. 
  • Even rolling off the bass and drums at between 40 and 60Hz can sometimes make the mix a lot louder and punchier without affecting the low end much.
So get in the habit of using the high-pass filter. It's a mixer's secret weapon.

1 comment:

ilterocktive said...


There's a pitfall though.
People who are new to mixing and most probably with less than ideal conditions (acoustics, speakers, and anything related to sound reproduction) can easily overdo with cuts.
I sometimes receive such tracks, that I'm not able to find any fundemantal frequencies to 'glue' things together.
I think the cuts should not be exaggerated either... 150-165Hz, as you wrote are my ideal spots as well.


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