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acjetnut
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5th July 2006
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Using low-cut while mixing

Hi, i am reletively new around here, and same goes with my engineering. I know that a lot of boards have a low-cut filter on each track. Do you guys use that cut on everything except the bass and kick drum all the time, or is it a matter of a case-by-case sort of thing?

I was mixing a song for my band that was done live in a room with minimal sound-barriers. I use DP 4.6 and used a low-cut at 80hz on every track (except bass and kickdrum) and definetly noticed an extra "punch" to the mix.

Is this a standard practice?
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i do it a lot...do a quick search as this was covered a couple weeks ago. Lots of responses there.
-brian
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thanks! I did a search, but couldn't find the thread you were referring to. Would you be able to post a link to it?
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Very common practice. I did a workshop with a guy who was cutting even the kick, bass, floortom, and sub-bass channels, and it translated as a huge sounding mix on even crappy systems.
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thanks for the help!
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Me too.


I find on the master fader ading a high pass between 20 and 40 opens things up quite a bit.


I also try one on each instrument to see if its helping.

Most times it does.

Try a low pass also.

Excess high end can kill a mix quickly.
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I wish I would’ve learned about hi-passing stuff a long time ago, it would
have saved me a lot of time and frustration. Now I use it on just about
everything except for kick drum. Bass at 30hz. Guitars at 120 to 150, etc.
When pseudo mastering, hi-pass at 30hz. If done right, it definitely makes
things punchier and clearer. I have frightening memories of mixing on
my old Mackie 824’s and running the mix into an L1+ and thinking every-
thing was wonderful. Then popping it into the CD player in my car and
wanting to crash into a tree and end it all. There’s nothing quite like
the sound of gratuitous mushy low end being fed into a distorted mushy
limiter.
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i don't know what i would do without highpass and lowpass filtering. it's used extensively on every song i mix. kick and bass included. listen to some of your favourite vocal songs and i'll bet you dollars to donuts that the vocal is highpassed somewhere around 200hz.
listen to your favourite rock guitar song and i'll bet you that the guitar is highpassed somewhere around the same.
just my .02...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marchhare
Then popping it into the CD player in my car and
wanting to crash into a tree and end it all.

LOL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Guitar
i don't know what i would do without highpass and lowpass filtering. it's used extensively on every song i mix. kick and bass included. listen to some of your favourite vocal songs and i'll bet you dollars to donuts that the vocal is highpassed somewhere around 200hz.
listen to your favourite rock guitar song and i'll bet you that the guitar is highpassed somewhere around the same.
just my .02...
-J

A valuable 0.2 cents at that.
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What do you guys use low pass filters on if anything?
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Rarely Hi Pass.

If any on vocals and or guitars.

Low pass once in a while on bass,keys and or electric guitars.

I prefer the interaction of the freq ranges into one whole sound instead of the "super isolated" thin mix sound these days.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acjetnut
Hi, i am reletively new around here, and same goes with my engineering. I know that a lot of boards have a low-cut filter on each track. Do you guys use that cut on everything except the bass and kick drum all the time, or is it a matter of a case-by-case sort of thing?

I was mixing a song for my band that was done live in a room with minimal sound-barriers. I use DP 4.6 and used a low-cut at 80hz on every track (except bass and kickdrum) and definetly noticed an extra "punch" to the mix.

Is this a standard practice?
I don't do anything 'automatically' -- but a high pass filter (low cut, iow) can really help clean up sonic mud in some circumstances, leaving more 'room' for the bass material you DO want, ie, primary mics on bass, kick, etc. (You also potentially clean up multi-point pickup cancellation issues, etc.)

And... when you have a mix that seems to defy 'competitive loudness,' sometimes the culprit is low or ultra low frequency information in one or more channels. (Although a lot of times, it's from very LF stuff on a track you need to be careful of -- LIKE the bass track, particularly if its synth bass or some sort of octave-split bass double part.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingtone
What do you guys use low pass filters on if anything?
i use low pass filters on some keys here and there, sometimes on bass (depending on the sound - a nice lowpass can make for some verrrrrrrrry dubby bass, as well as a nice 1966-mccartney-paperback-writer-rain-rounded-off-puptent-affair), i've even used it on hihats when they've been just too darn bright, although i tend to shelf that more often than i pass it...
also on percussion that might just be too bright for the song. it sometimes makes tambourines sit a little better. again, it all depends on the song. as always, others' MMV.
-J
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Here is what I do when I push up the faders and it makes for a very good start. After that I tweak it around a bit but i find that this sorts out about 90% of the conflicting low end issues in any mix:

High Pass Filters

Bass Guitar - 35Hz

Bass Drum - 50Hz

Overheads and toms - 60Hz

Electric Guitar - 70Hz

Vocals - 80Hz

Snare 90Hz

Acoustic Guitar 120Hz

Entire Mix - 38Hz


See how everything occupies it's own territory of the low end? Try starting this way and you will be blown away how fast your mix comes together.
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ha ! amazing ! im usually a bit higher on snare and vox but the rest is pretty much the same !!!!

btw ! ITB guys beware ! some plugin processing creates additional subsonic crap so sometimes i HP before and after to retain "clarity" !!!

test and hear for yaself. fast analyzer and foot in the sub helps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by echo unit
Here is what I do when I push up the faders and it makes for a very good start. After that I tweak it around a bit but i find that this sorts out about 90% of the conflicting low end issues in any mix:

High Pass Filters

Bass Guitar - 35Hz

Bass Drum - 50Hz

Overheads and toms - 60Hz

Electric Guitar - 70Hz

Vocals - 80Hz

Snare 90Hz

Acoustic Guitar 120Hz

Entire Mix - 38Hz


See how everything occupies it's own territory of the low end? Try starting this way and you will be blown away how fast your mix comes together.
Ouch.

Vocals at 60 - 80 for me, maybe bass at 40 depending on the bass and the player, almost never kick (never say never but I have not cut the low end out of a kick in years years and years). 90 on snare is way too much for me but YMMV. Acoustic guitar at 120 is way high as well but it depends on the track I guess, I sure would not start there. As far as the entire mix I will leave that up to the ME, they have better EQ and better monitors so I don't want to make that call and paint myself into a corner.

Also it is important to point out to everyone so it is not forgotten, a steep HPF or LPF will induce some phase anomalies into the mix so it is not a cure all, there are drawbacks. It is not something I am really really concerned with but it is not a free lunch either (there are very few free lunches in audio, everything has an effect on everything else).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
Rarely Hi Pass.

If any on vocals and or guitars.

Low pass once in a while on bass,keys and or electric guitars.

I prefer the interaction of the freq ranges into one whole sound instead of the "super isolated" thin mix sound these days.
Well, much respect to Thrill, but for working in the box, essentially a lossless system once it passes the converters, I find there's a surprising amount of gunk in the way way high end of the mix that I just don't want. In theory I like the idea of frequencies interacting up and down the spectrum (and acknowledged geniuses like R. Neve will gladly talk your ears off on the subject, so I realize I ignore this at my peril), but in practice I find that rolling lows and extreme highs off of a few tracks in the mix gives me a result that simply sounds more like a record to me. And I'm afraid I have to disagree that it's a modern sound; limiting the bandwidth on various instruments is much more evocative of certain British '60s sonics, to my ear, where it seemed like there was much more concern with isolating instruments sonically, usually because of the demands of mono mixing, but also partly because of the aesthetic of that place and time.

Perhaps if I ever graduate to Thrill's level of gearsluttery or expertise I might find myself enjoying more of this sonic interplay in the far reaches of the spectrum, but at present it's often little more than a distraction and an irritation, happily disposed of.


Cheers.


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When you're putting up your hi-pass up what db/octave are you guys rolling it off at? I'm just wondering how steep of a cut is going on.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Planet

Perhaps if I ever graduate to Thrill's level of gearsluttery or expertise I might find myself enjoying more of this sonic interplay in the far reaches of the spectrum, but at present it's often little more than a distraction and an irritation, happily disposed of.


Cheers.



EP,


Basically the older i get the less i micro-mix.


These days i just mix for the initial vibe that i get when i hear something for the first time.


The vibe that got me into this business in the first place.


More and more i focus on hearing things as a whole...top to bottomn...side to side and front to back. Also i try to put myself in the mindset of the producer/composer and what they were hearing when they created the recording.


With that mind set i end up doing less and just enhancing things that need to be higlighted.


And this is for mixing in the box and out of the box.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
EP,


Basically the older i get the less i micro-mix.


These days i just mix for the initial vibe that i get when i hear something for the first time.


The vibe that got me into this business in the first place.


More and more i focus on hearing things as a whole...top to bottomn...side to side and front to back. Also i try to put myself in the mindset of the producer/composer and what they were hearing when they created the recording.


With that mind set i end up doing less and just enhancing things that need to be higlighted.


And this is for mixing in the box and out of the box.
Brilliant... an approach to which I aspire.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
With that mind set i end up doing less and just enhancing things that need to be higlighted.


And this is for mixing in the box and out of the box.

well absolutey... i thought that is the main job.. to preserve the feeling above all. but i thought we are talking techniques how to enhance and "unclutter" things that need to be highlighted... mic rumble and unnecesary post processing cummulative LF mud hitting masterbus compression is simply not desirable in my world

so... "initial vibe" needs to come out at apropriate clenlines or muddines imo...

maybe some tracks will be needing "smile" eq curves, subsonic enhancing or hf exciting to get the vibe out...

or..ya simply mix great bands and i dont...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
EP,


Basically the older i get the less i micro-mix.


These days i just mix for the initial vibe that i get when i hear something for the first time.


The vibe that got me into this business in the first place.


More and more i focus on hearing things as a whole...top to bottomn...side to side and front to back. Also i try to put myself in the mindset of the producer/composer and what they were hearing when they created the recording.


With that mind set i end up doing less and just enhancing things that need to be higlighted.


And this is for mixing in the box and out of the box.
Interesting. This would be the purists way to mix. Suiteble for the basic straightforward kind of music, jazz, acoustic pop, Eric Clapton, those guys. I think that some gernes call for a more "made-up" micro-mix. Hip-hop and rap..Bubblegum pop ala Paris Hilton (sorry, just had to call her a musician). Wouldn´t you think ?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lofi
well absolutey... i thought that is the main job.. to preserve the feeling above all. but i thought we are talking techniques how to enhance and "unclutter" things that need to be highlighted... mic rumble and unnecesary post processing cummulative LF mud hitting masterbus compression is simply not desirable in my world

so... "initial vibe" needs to come out at apropriate clenlines or muddines imo...

maybe some tracks will be needing "smile" eq curves, subsonic enhancing or hf exciting to get the vibe out...

or..ya simply mix great bands and i dont...

I am willing to bet that Thrill does in fact mix better bands than you and I do... or at least he gets to mix sessions that are tracked better than ours anyway.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
I am willing to bet that Thrill does in fact mix better bands than you and I do... or at least he gets to mix sessions that are tracked better than ours anyway.

Sorry fellas I wish it was true but I mix the same stuff that everyone does. Stuff that ranges from the uber produced stuff to a lot of the home studio bed room warrior songs.

The one thing I do different then most guys do(or from what i've been told) is I pan from the out side in so things tend to fit in their pockets better than having to rely on EQ.

Also I tend to darken things I want to give perspective than the other way around. I do this with EQ's,compressors or effect processors.

I rarely rely on EQ alone.

This way of working tends to highlight things that are bright already so u back off the temptation to add more hi's which when mixing to digital is a good thing.

You end up with a softer hi end and a fuller low end.

I also mix a lot in mono which has a lot to do with it.

It basically comes down to how you hear things and how u go about making it real.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
I am willing to bet that Thrill does in fact mix better bands than you and I do... or at least he gets to mix sessions that are tracked better than ours anyway.

BTW no disrespect. Muchco respecto in facto. I can´t really call myself a mix engineer as my main job is producing. But I am everlearning and constantly curious. It´s also a part of my producer nature to try and catigorize everything down to pieces, hence my little thought about micromixing vs. the pure art.

But I´m often working with material of highest quality so the bet is on!

Kalli

ps interesting about panning outside in..could you explain ?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sedohr
Interesting. This would be the purists way to mix. Suiteble for the basic straightforward kind of music, jazz, acoustic pop, Eric Clapton, those guys. I think that some gernes call for a more "made-up" micro-mix. Hip-hop and rap..Bubblegum pop ala Paris Hilton (sorry, just had to call her a musician). Wouldn´t you think ?
I dunno.

I think Thrill was talking about just doing whatever needs to be done rather then 'overmixing' the music.

We've ALL done it.

Sit there for hours & hours on end...maybe even days...automating EVERY little mute & fade and all the shit that just doesn't freakin' matter in the big picture.

That doesn't mean taking a 'purist' approach to mixing, because really...unless 'yer doing techno-blue-metalgrass (ALL the rage in Poland these days!) nobody's really going to notice if you didn't clean up all the insignificant noises and other bits of 'slop' when they press play & hear the song.

They're only going to hear the song & the mix.

And hopefully, if we did our job as mix AE's right...they won't hear the mix.

They'll only hear the song.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
...they won't hear the mix.

They'll only hear the song.
Oooh....

Let's add that to the canon of "Gearslutz Wisdom Quotes of the Year".

Nice one, Jay.

Cheers,

bdp
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Quote:

Originally Posted by thethrillfactor


...is I pan from the out side in so things tend to fit in their pockets better than having to rely on EQ.
im not sure i understood that right... ..plz elaborate...i do slightly pan all mono elements (even kik and bass) but im not sure what ya ment...

Quote:
I also mix a lot in mono which has a lot to do with it.
well i always start mono. then check again later. its easier to spot clashing and to "get the song/idea structure". that is the point when i highpass if needed...

Quote:
You end up with a softer hi end and a fuller low end.

fully agreed + its all perspective after all... if ya play some jamiroquai and then marilynn manson then its like whoa this is too dull and this is too bright ! but it suits the music !!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
...they won't hear the mix.

They'll only hear the song.
well i think thats kinda overgeneralization... some genres are all about the song ...but some arent !!!! if the production/mix/master isnt right the "song" want be heard "the right way" wouldnt it ?

btw...overmixing is strange term to me...song needs what it needs...sometimes almost nothing and sometimes A LOT to shine in the right way...


(what about "undermixing" ? - but thats another topic)
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