EQ’ING DRUMS CHEAT SHEET

Drum Kit

Over the years I’ve accumulated a taste and knowledge about EQing drums. Some of this knowledge comes from school, trial and error, YouTube tutorials, and in studio experience. Yes, we all know the saying, “sharing is caring”. Well to show that I care, I am sharing. Here is my EQ cheat sheet! 

808 Kick

  • 35-45 Hz – Rumble (Use a 6 to 12 dB octave high pass filter at 40 Hz to clean up the rumble in low and of the kick.)
  • 50-80 Hz – Deep Lows (Between 50 and 80 Hz you can boost the deep low-end of the 808 kick by using a low shelf EQ.)
  • 100-130 Hz – Body (If the kick Lex body you can boost between 101 130 Hz with a medium band curve.)
  • 200-250 Hz – Boom (Cut 3 to 6 dB with a narrow to medium bell curve between 200 and 250 Hz if the 808 kick sounds too boomy.)
  • 300-500 Hz – Tightness (Take out up to 9 dB with a narrow to medium bell curve between 300 and 500 Hz for a cleaner and tight sound. Begin with a gain reduction of  -9 dB with a narrow to medium bell curve and sweep between the 300 and 500 Hz range until the kick sounds tighter. If you find the right frequency bring up the gain reduction back to zero and then bring it down slowly until you have just the right amount of reduction and a clean and tight sounding kick.)
  • 1-1.5 kHz – Click (Boost to taste with a medium to wide bell curve between 1 and 1.5 kHz to emphasize the click sound of te kick. This will make it cut through the mix.)
  • 3.5 – above kHz – Redundant High (Use a low pass (or high cut) filter and take away any high frequencies above 3.5 kHz. There’s nothing important in the range above 3.5 kHz so taking it away contributes to getting a transparent mix. This will also ensure you take away any hiss out of the sound when you sampled it from a vinyl record.)

Kick

  • 20 Hz – Rumble (Anything below 20 to 30 Hz on an acoustic Kick Drum are largely unusable noises and rumble from the impact. Take it away with a 12 to 24 dB per octave high-pass filter.)
  • 60-100 Hz – Deep Low (Between 60 and 100 Hz is where the kick drum has its body. Sweep with a medium to narrow Q bell Curve to find the best body sound and cut or boost according to music style and taste. Another option is to use low shelving EQ set between 60 and 100 Hz to emphasize or reduce the deep low-end body of the kick.)
  • 120-300 Hz – Boom (If a Kick sounds too weak you can give it a bit of extra ‘Oomph’ by boosting a tiny bit (no more than 4 dB) between 120 and 180 Hz. Between 180 and 300 Hz there’s hardly any usable frequencies for the kick. Most of it is ‘boominess’ so you’ll end up cutting these very often with a medium to narrow bandwidth EQ to make the kick sound ‘cleaner’ and give a bit more room for the bass guitar.)
  • 300-500 Hz – Boxy (If the kick sounds too boxy (which sounds like there is too much room or it is recorded in a bathroom) you can cut between 300 and 500 Hz with a narrow bell curve. This will make the kick a lot rounder and gives it more definition.)
  • 3-5 kHz – Click (Find the click sound of the beater between 3 and 5 kHz. Sometimes it can be found higher like up to 8 kHz but the majority of the kick beater sounds lie between 3 and 5 Khz. Boost slightly with a medium to wide Q to give the kick some definition and sit better in the mix.)

808 Snare

  • 60 Hz – Low End (Place a high-pass filter around 60 Hz to clean up the low-end of the snare. If you have a heavy kick and bass going on, like in a hip hop production, you might even take this up to 80 or maybe even 100 Hz to keep the low-end clean.)
  • 120 Hz – Boxy (If the snare sounds a little boxy, use a narrow to medium bell curve and take away 3 to 6 decibels around 120 Hz. This will clean up the sound.)
  • 200-350 Hz – Fullness (Use a medium or narrow bell curve to boost to taste between 200 and 350 Hz. This can make the 808 snare sound fuller or thinner.)
  • 600 Hz-1 kHz – Attack (Boost with a wide to medium bell curve between 600 Hz and 1 kHz to increase the attack sound of the 808 snare.)
  • 3-5 kHz – Clarity (If the snare sounds too dull you can add some clarity by using a medium to wide bell curve and boost only a couple of dB between 3 and 5 kHz. If the snare sounds too harsh cut a few dB in the same range.)

Snare

  • 80 Hz – Low End (Place a steep high-pass filter at around 80 Hz to clean up the low-end for the bass guitar and kick drum.)
  • 120-260 Hz – Body (Depending on the size of the Snare its body frequencies can be found between 120 and 260 Hz. Boost to give the snare more body or cut if you want to thin out the snare. If the snare sounds ‘boxy’ you can sweep in this range and cut with a narrow bell curve.)
  • 500 Hz – Mud (Take out some ‘mud’ to free up space for other instruments by cutting between 400 and 700 Hz. Use a parametric EQ with a medium to wide Q.)
  • 800 Hz – Tinny (The tinny metallic sound of the snare often lies around 800 Hz. If annoying reduce this with a narrow bell curve.)
  • 2 kHz – Hit (Boost about 4 dB at 2 kHz with a narrow to medium parametric EQ if the snare’s attack sounds dull. Cut if the snare is too ear-piercing.) 

Hi-Hat

  • 200 Hz – Bell (The bell sound or ‘gong’ sound of the hi-hat lies at 200 Hz. Most of the times you find that it is too loud or too obtrusive. Cut it with a medium Q.)
  • 600-700 Hz – Lows (Often you have too much spill from the kick or rumble that entered the microphone via the hi-hat stand. If the hi-hat plays an important part for the groove of your song it is best to have a clean hi-hat in the mix. Use a high-pass filter with a 12 to 18 dB/octave slope and slide it up slowly not higher than 700 Hz. Listen carefully if no important part of the sound disappears.)
  • 7-12 kHz – Highs (If the hi-hat is too dull you can bring back some ‘sizzle’ by boosting above 7 kHz with a shelving EQ or boost between 7 and 12 kHz with a parametric EQ and a wide bandwidth (Q). If the hi-hat is too brittle or harsh use a low-pass filter with a 12 db/octave slope and bring it down to 7 kHz. Watch out that the hi-hat doesn’t become dull.)

Toms

  • 100-200 Hz – Body (Depending on the type of tom (floor or Rack) you can find the body by sweeping an EQ between 100 and 200 Hz. Boost with a medium or wide bandwidth parametric EQ to add body or cut with a medium to narrow bandwidth to remove some body from the Toms.)
  • 500 Hz – Mud (You can clean up the muddy sound of the toms by taking out some 500 Hz with a medium to narrow bandwidth (Q) parametric EQ.)
  • 3.5 kHz – Attack (The attack of the toms can be found around 3.5 kHz. You’ll mostly find yourself boosting this area with a medium to wide Q parametric equalizer to let the toms cut through the mix.)
  • 5 kHz – Stick (The stick hitting the toms can also help them cut through the mix. A tiny boost of around 3 to 6 dB with a medium to wide Q can bring out the stick sound and give the toms some ‘snap’.) 

Cymbals

  • 100-300 Hz – Bell (The clunky bell sound of cymbals can be accentuated or taken away by boosting or cutting between 100 and 300 Hz. Use a Parametric EQ with a wide Q for boosting and a medium to narrow Q for cutting.)
  • 500 Hz – Boxiness (Cut around 500 Hz with a medium Q to take out any boxiness in the sound of the overheads (if present). This is also often done on the submix of the whole drum track. It cleans up the drums nicely.)
  • 1-6 kHz – Ringing (Some of the nice overtones of the cymbals that keep ringing after hit can be found between 2 and 6 kHz. Boost with a wide Q or cut with a narrow Q if the ringing is too much.)
  • 8-12 kHz – Air (The cymbals can benefit from a slight wide bandwidth parametric 8 to 12 kHz boost to give them some air or sparkle. If the Cymbals are too harsh try using a low-pass filter with a 12 dB/octave slope and slowly bring it down to 8 kHz to take away the harshness.)

Drum Kit

  • 200-350 Hz – Mud (If your overall drum sound is still a bit muddy in the mix after working on each individual drum track, you can try to reduce only a couple of dB between 200 and 350 Hz with a medium to narrow bell curve.)
  • 500 Hz – Clean Drums (Try to cut around 500 Hz with a medium to wide Q on the submix of your drums. This will often reduce a boxy sound and clean up your drum kit to make it sit better in the mix. You can also do this on the overhead tracks by a few dB to clean up the total drum track)

 

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By | 2017-04-22T06:56:49+00:00 October 1st, 2015|Blog, Drums, EQing, Mixing|0 Comments

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