Posted in : Forum : Audio Tutorials, Tips And Tricks
please only post tutorials that you have written yourself in here. Dont ask question on how to do things. Share your insight , tips and tricks etc.
First, what this is not, it is not a forum post to cast shade on those who use Low Pass and High Pass filters or for those who do not use LP or HP filters. All opinions, experiences, and inquiries are welcomed and valued here.
My intentions are to understand why and when YOU use LP or HP filters, and your techniques on how YOU use them in your genre of music. So what does it take for YOU to say: YOU KNOW THIS SOUND or INSTRUMENT CAN USE A LITTLE BIT OF High Pass?
HP and LP controls can commonly be found on many SSL style mixing consoles, but how often do YOU use it? Let's face it, many producers are tempted to go right for the EQ or the Strip Bus EQ, or maybe a Rerouted Bus Fxs compressor, or possibly a multiband compressor. And with an abundance of VST gizmos that has saturated the market, which has the potential of making one lazy with all those presets, it has seemingly put old school LP and HP filter considerations at bay as if some of us forgot how to use LP and HP filters.
I am not advocating for anyone to stop using LP and HP. Just trying to understand when YOU use it. Some have called it a necessary trick that saved a near hopeless situation which costs nothing more than a bit of your patience. Briefly explain why you use LP and HP filters or Why you do not use Low Pass and High Pass filters, that is all. Do you think LP and HP do more harm than good? Thanks!
Interesting question Joe..I still use a mixer as my front end before anything hits the interface..The first consoles I ever saw & had a bit of instruction on had the HP & LP on every channel just to hit a clean starting point by knocking out the frequencies not applicable on a particular track..I still use the technique automatically but must admit that the same thing can be achieved by just inserting an eq on the track, using ones knowledge of the prominent frequencies applicable to a particular instrument and then going from there with compression, additional eq, etc...So having made a point of getting a good knowledge of instruments I often just insert the starting eq....on guitar for example I take out frequencies below 180 hz or so as they are not produced by the instrument (keeps the track clean of any stray sounds)...on bass I most often centre at 80hz (depending on the kick drum frequency) and scoop out the mud frequencies somewhere between 200-400.I go for the basic eq starting point on ever track almost automatically...Guess what I`m saying is that those console HP & LP knobs were important in a time when the options of all our current DAW features just weren`t available and we relied on outboard eq to fine tune the result....If I were to offer one piece of advice to our younger mixers it would be to learn the prominent frequencies of the instruments they use...where they same frequency range is shared by another track..use that knowledge to give each a differing share of the frequency range (worry less about how they sound individually & listen to them together in the mix)..they should each be clearly heard...Take out frequencies that the instrument doesn`t produce...make they all live together in harmony with every voice clear in the mix at whatever level you want....My hearing isn`t really up to doing a good job of practicing what I preach any more but ain`t it fun....If you are going to record, mix & produce your best investments (they pay back for a lifetime) are in music & audio engineering education....Cheers.....Ed
I rarely use HPF and LPF on the direct source. I do use them intensively on the effect returns however (reverbs, delays, spatial processors etc.) It really helps keeping the effects out of the way of the clean sound.
I have a really agressive style of eq and besides the HPF on snares, toms, guitars and vocals I rarely use HPF or LPF. Sometimes I use LPF on vocals (around 15kHz) and bass around 4kHz.
The above goes for all the sessions I've done in the past 5 years or so.
They aare useful tools, however so many people cut so much low end just because they've read on the internet that they should keep things clean on the low end, and in the end the low end in their mix is thin and lacks depth and punch and the overall mix lacks power. A12dB per octave high pass filter at 50Hz doesn't help that much in cleaning your low end, I mean it drops per octave and that octave is pretty long frequency wise :D
I'm not saying don't use those filters. All I'm saying is try to mix without them first or use them conservatively and listen if it helps in achieving a more cohesive mix.
Experiment! It's the only way to form your own style.
Try this as an experiment...don't use a HPF higher than 85Hz and that 85Hz should be used only on midrangey instruments (guitars, vocals, pianos, synths etc.)..this is just an experiment not a rule of thumb as there are no rules, but just try it as a bit of fun. And then listen if your mix becomes warmer and more powerfull. During hte experiment you can use HPF and LPF filters freely on effects like reverbs and delays.
I am a very big proponent, and regular user of filters of any kind.
I use either a high pass or low shelf filter/EQ on every track to some extent. Even if a HP filter is set below audio frequencies, it has it's place.
Being one who records all kinds of low fidelity gear, such as toys and cassette decks, it is important. The number one reason for this is to keep DC out of my mixes and away from the speakers. Voltage at these low frequencies can eat up valuable headroom, and can actually damage speakers if it is severe enough.
I also cut low frequencies on tracks which are not audibly using these frequencies, and others have already given some examples of this. I will generally start with the HP/low cut or low shelf at the frequency to cut DC like I mentioned above (usually from 15 to 21 Hz depending on the source). If the track does not include "sub" frequencies to begin with, then I know I can push the cutoff higher. I will usually solo the track for a moment, and then slowly sweep the cutoff upwards until I start to hear an audible impact on the source audio. Then I will back it off a bit, so that I know that very little important is being lost.
I use low pass or high shelf quite a bit less often, and when I do it is more for a specific effect, or to focus a effect send/return. It can be a helpful way to clear annoying high frequencies in one track, in order to make room for highs which should be accented in a mix. One example is a heavily distorted guitar, with harsh high end. These can often be problem when trying to bring out cymbals and high hats, which can easily be masked by loud guitars.
Damping a reverb or delay with both low shelf and high shelf can be beneficial in many cases, where the effect could easily mask the entire frequency range.
The combination of low pass and high pass can be a great way to induce lo-fi effects on it's own. It can easily simulate an old transistor radio or a cheap speaker cabinet.
Then there is the classic synthesis use of filters, both LP and HP. Modulate them with LFOs or envelopes. Do simple sweeps with automation or MIDI control. It's fun, and people like it.
¨Use the High Pass Filter!! It’s your best friend and my most used tool of all while mixing! Even if it sounds counterintuitive — you have to filter out as much of the low end to get a tight punchy and big lower end. I really solo each and every track of a mix and turn the high pass filter just to that point where I feel it’s losing too much. It just cleans out the whole mix and leaves room for the wanted and punchy bass. Sometimes I even filter kick drums as high as 40 Hz so don´t be afraid of that little knob!¨ — Clemens Schleiwies, AnalogMix
I'm firmly in Ed Tumleweed's camp, I hardly if ever use low or high pass filters, I want all the natural intonations of my instruments to have free reign, although I do check that no really low sub frequencies are present and overpowering, it really pays to have a dedicated stand alone sub in your mixing environment to monitor this.....if I find while creating a track when using a deep bass kick in a drum mix, I'll engage an 80Hz roll off on my electric bass outboard equalizer so there's no conflict, I find no need to fix it in the mix when your getting the right tones most of the time firsthand....interesting thread Joe!
Well to be honest as everyone here already shared the main reasons of why to use and not use it. I guess the only real reason to use them these days is for quick color change from hot to cold vice versa without all the "extra" controlling. Makes a great filter eq to shade/shine sounds in odd mixes too. Example is an acoustic piano sounds beautiful clean but when you add high pass filter you got some magic fairy dust keys now also for low pass, you get darken themes of Goblin Town. Ha.
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