Instruments Eq

Miking instruments is an art ...
and Equalisers can often times be used to help an engineer get the sound he is
looking for. Many instruments have complex sounds with radiating patterns that make it almost impossible
to capture when close miking. An equaliser can compensate for these imbalances by accenting some
frequencies and rolling off others. The goal is to capture the sounds as natural as possible and use equalisers
to strighten out any non-linear qualities to the tones.
Clarity of many instruments can be improved by boosting their harmonics. In fact, the ear in many cases
actually fills in hard-to-hear fundamental notes of sounds, provided the harmonics are clear. Drums are one
instrument that can be effectively lifted and cleaned up simply by rolling off the bass giving way to more
harmonic tones.

Here are a few other pin point frequencies to start with for different instruments. In a live sound situation, I
might event pre set the console's eq to these frequencies to help save time once the sound check is under
way. These aren't the answers to everything... just a place to start at.

Kick Drum:
Besides the usual cuts in the 200Hz to 400 area, some tighter Q cuts at 160Hz, 800Hz and 1.3k may help.
The point of these cuts makes for space for the fundamental tones of a bass guitar or stand up. I have also
found a high pass filter at 50Hz will help tighten up the kick along with giving your compressor a signal it
can deal with musically. 5K to 7K for snap.

Snare Drum:
The snare drum is an instrument that can really be clouded by having too much low end. Frequencies under
about 150Hz are really un-usable for modern mixing styles. I would suggest a high pass filter in this case.
Most snares are out front enough so a few cuts might be all that is needed. I like to start with 400Hz, 800Hz,
and some 1.3K. This are just frequencies to play with. Doesn't mean you will use all. If the snare is too
transparent in the mix but I like the level it is at, a cut at 5K can give it a little more distance and that might
mean a little boost at 10K to brighten it up.

High Hats:
High hats have very little low end information. I high pass at 200Hz can clean up a lot of un-usable mud in
regards to mic bleed. The mid tones are the most important to a high hat. This will mean the 400Hz to 1K
area but I've found the 600Hz to 800Hz area to be the most effective. To brighten up high hats, a shelving
filter at 12.5K does nicely.

Toms and Floor Toms:
Again, the focus here is control. Most toms could use a cut in the 300Hz to 800Hz area. And there is nothing
real usable under 100Hz for a tom... unless you are going for a special effect. Too much low end cloud up
harmonics and the natural tones of the instrument. Think color not big low end.

Over Heads:
In my opinion, drum over heads are the most important mics on a drum kit. They are the ones that really
define the sound of the drums. That also give the kit some ambience and space. These mics usually need a
cut in the 400Hz area and can use a good rolling off at about 150Hz. Again, they are not used for power....
these mics 'are' the color of your drum sound. Roll off anything that will mask harmonic content or make
your drums sound dull. Cuts at 800Hz can bring more focus to these mics and a little boost of a shelving
filter at 12.5K can bring some air to the tones as well.

Bass Guitar:
Bass guitar puts out all the frequencies that you really don't want on every other instrument. The clearity of
bass is defined a lot at 800Hz. Too much low end can mask the clearity of a bass line. I've heard other say
that the best way to shape the bass tone is to roll off everything below 150Hz, mold the mids into the tone
you are looking for, then slowly roll the low end back in until the power and body is there you are looking
for. If the bass isn't defined enough, there is probably too much low end and not enough mid range clearity.
Think of sounds in a linear fashion, like on a graph. If there is too much bass and no clearity, you would see
a bump in the low end masking the top end. The use of EQ can fix those abnormalities.
Guitar/piano/ etc.:
These instruments all have fundamentals in the mid range. Rolling off low end that is not needed or usable is
a good idea. Even if you feel you can't really hear the low end, it still is doing something to the mix. Low
end on these instruments give what I call support. The tone is in the mids. 400Hz and 800Hz are usually a
point of interest as are the upper mids or 1K to 5K. Anything above that just adds brightness. Remember to
look at perspective though. Is a kick brighter than a vocal? Is a piano bright than a vocal? Is a cymbal
brighter than a vocal?

music production videos collection