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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Production Tip #2 | EQ Your Drums and Bassline Together, Filter Your Hi Hats

For those of you who have been producing for more than a minute this will probably be old news, but it's something important none the less. There is a lot that you can do to make sure that the low end of your track works together. It all revolves around creating space for each element.

To acheive this, I usually high pass my hi hats/treble between 1500Hz  and 2500Hz depending on the samples I'm using and what sounds good. This removes the possibility of your hi hats/treble clashing and causing phase issues with your snare drum, and allows the top end of your bassline and any other melodic elements  to really shine through by getting other sounds out of the way. I should also point out that notching out around 3000Hz to 4000Hz is usually a good idea with hi hats/treble. Due to human evolution, this frequency range is where we perceive a sound as the loudest, as represented by the dip or lowest point on the graph shown here, meaning that certain sounds can have a really harsh ring about them if they have a lot of content within this frequency range.

Now that we have gotten our hi hats/treble out of the way, lets make sure our drums and bassline are EQ'ed as to give both elements enough space in the mix. When I was studying at SAE Institute, I interviewed local Drum and Bass producer Shockone (Viper Recordings) on some of his production methods, he introduced me to the following technique. Start by taking any EQ plugin and find the tonic peak of your snare drum, then with a fairly tight Q or bandwidth, boost at the tonic peak between 5 and 10 decibels. If you boost by too large an amount it will change the sound of your snare drum quite a bit, especially if you have layered it with two or three other snare sounds as most people do. As each layer should be boosted at it's respective tonic peak, just see what you can get away with before you dislike the sound too much, and be aware that you might need to fiddle with the gain on each layer to get the right balance of sounds so that everything sounds well rounded. Repeat this process for your kick drum.

The final thing to do is to kind of reverse the process, that is create pockets of space for your drums to occupy. Remembering where the tonic peak of each drum was, now take another EQ and simply notch out those frequencies on your bassline. A boost on your drums and a cut at the same point on your bassline should ensure that there is no clashing, each element has it's space in the mix and that your drums are cutting through nicely, which is essential in modern bass music.

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