Some more tips on EQ'ing

EQ’s and separation

HI !firstname_fix}, I wanted to talk a little bit about EQ’s and the approach to a better sounding, more professional mix. A properly EQ’d mix should have some or all of these qualities, depending on what you are going for

with your song.








Many amateurs tend to over EQ things without proper perspective of the whole mix. This is much like a guitar player mixing a song with his/her focus only on that instrument. The downfall of this is overlooking the balance needed to make sure each instrument has it’s proper place. Without a proper perspective of the whole mix, there is no point attempting to mix or EQ your song because your head is in the wrong place. It’s a very good idea to not mix the same day as recording. It’s important to get out of musician mode and into mixing engineer mode.

Here are a few things to consider when working out the EQ balance of your mix:.

EQ’ing is not a necessity in every situation. Many engineers do little or no EQ’ing and instead rely on excellent samples and recording techniques.

Proper panning can improve an instruments clarity. Having too many instruments in the same

panning location can create conflicting frequencies. By moving instruments to their own space much clarity and separation can be accomplished with little or no EQ.

If you still have conflicting frequencies, make sure you accent different frequencies on the conflicting instruments.don’t be tempted to use the same EQ preset on similar instruments.

Avoid the temptation to push the same frequencies on every instrument. Although this might make each separate instrument sound better to your ear individuality, when it is all played together you will have a thin sounding mix with very little separation.

Always do your final EQ’ing with all the instruments playing. Use the solo button sparingly.

It is best to decrease or eliminate unwanted frequencies in each instrument before attempting to further EQ your mix. You will usually create a warmer, more natural mix by attentuating (lowering) EQ frequencies,while increasing frequencies upward will tend to create a more sharp and thinner sound.

In most cases, extreme EQ’ing (7 or more db) is a sign that you haven’t recorded your instrument very well, or you have used questionable samples. There are however, times when using extreme settings can create some interesting results. If you want a warm natural sound you will want your EQ’ing to be more subtle, while if you are trying to create an unusual sound, extreme settings might be just what the doctor ordered.

Get a second opinion on your mixing and EQ’ing from someone that isn’t too close to the project. You may find, for example, that in the attempt to perfectly mix your guitar, you may have buried the snare drum.

Here are a couple EQ suggestions that should improve the sound of your mixes quite a bit:

Use a highpass Filter (cut the lows) at around 120hz on every instrument besides

the kick and bass sounds. This will greatly improve the clarity in the lower frequencies.

Cut frequencies between 350hz-550hz on any instruments that sound a bit muddy

Selectively use a lowpass filter (cut the highs) at around 10khz to leave room for clarity in the cymbals.

A little boost at 11.1khz can add nice clarity to your hi-hats

Here are a few tips for creating separation in your mix:

Use different microphones when recording different instruments. It will give each instrument it’s own unique personality.

Use different reverb and compression plugin’s (or hardware) on instruments that might conflict.

Using the same reverb and compression on your drums can be a good thing though to help them “gel” together…

Use different delay and reverb setting to create a more 3 dimensional sound in your mix.

I hope this has helped you a little bit on your path to a better sounding mix.

Thanks for this dude. I already knew this, but it reminded me to quit boosting the same frequencies and look at the larger picture. So, thanks man.

Here is a another guide I found online about eqing.

Please Note - The values below are merely guides, each mix is unique and individual so experimentation is advised.

Low Bass: anything less than 50Hz

This range is often known as the sub bass and is most commonly taken up by the lowest part of the kick drum and bass guitar, although at these frequencies it’s almost impossible to determine any pitch. Sub bass is one of the reasons why 12" vinyl became available: low frequencies require wider grooves than high frequencies - without rolling off everything below 50Hz you couldn’t fit a full track onto a 7" vinyl record. However we do NOT recommend applying any form of boost around this area without the use of very high quality studio monitors (not home monitors - there is a vast difference between home nearfield and studio farfield monitors costing anywhere between £5,000 and £20,000). Boosting blindly in this area without a valid reference point can and will permanently damage most speakers, even PA systems. You have been warned!

Bass: 50-250Hz

This is the range you’re adjusting when applying the bass boost on most home stereos, although most bass signals in modern music tracks lie around the 90-200Hz area with a small boost in the upper ranges to add some presence or clarity.

Muddiness/irritational area: 200-800Hz

The main culprit area for muddy sounding mixes, hence the term ‘irritational area’. Most frequencies around here can cause psycho-acoustic problems: if too many sounds in a mix are dominating this area, a track can quickly become annoying, resulting in a rush to finish mixing it as you get bored or irritated by the sound of it.

Mid-range: 800-6kHz

Human hearing is extremely sensitive at these frequencies, and even a minute boost around here will result in a huge change in the sound - almost the same as if you boosted around 10db at any other range. This is because our voices are centred in this area, so it’s the frequency range we hear more than any other. Most telephones work at 3kHz, because at this frequency speech is most intelligible. This frequency also covers TV stations, radio, and electric power tools. If you have to apply any boosting in this area, be very cautious, especially on vocals. We’re particularly sensitive to how the human voice sounds and its frequency coverage.

High Range: 6-8kHz

This is the range you adjust when applying the treble boost on your home stereo. This area is slightly boosted to make sounds artificially brighter (although this artificial boost is what we now call ‘lifelike’) when mastering a track before burning it to CD.

Hi-High Range: 8-20kHz

This area is taken up by the higher frequencies of cymbals and hi-hats, but boosting around this range, particularly around 12kHz can make a recording sound more high quality than it actually is, and it’s a technique commonly used by the recording industry to fool people into thinking that certain CDs are more hi-fidelity than they’d otherwise sound. However, boosting in this area also requires a lot of care - it can easily pronounce any background hiss, and using too much will result in a mix becoming irritating.


Kick Drum

Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off around 300Hz. Try a small boost around 5-7kHz to add some high end.

50-100Hz ~ Adds bottom to the sound

100-250Hz ~ Adds roundness

250-800Hz ~ Muddiness Area

5-8kHz ~ Adds high end prescence

8-12kHz ~ Adds Hiss


Try a small boost around 60-120Hz if the sound is a little too wimpy. Try boosting around 6kHz for that ‘snappy’ sound.

100-250Hz ~ Fills out the sound

6-8kHz ~ Adds prescence

Hi hats or cymbals

Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off around 300Hz. To add some brightness try a small boost around 3kHz.

250-800Hz ~ Muddiness area

1-6kHz ~ Adds presence

6-8kHz ~ Adds clarity

8-12kHz ~ Adds brightness


Try boosting around 60Hz to add more body. Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off around 300Hz.If more presence is needed, boost around 6kHz.

50-100Hz ~ Adds bottom end

100-250Hz ~ Adds roundness

250-800Hz ~ Muddiness Area

800-1kHz ~ Adds beef to small speakers

1-6kHz ~ Adds presence

6-8kHz ~ Adds high-end presence

8-12kHz ~ Adds hiss


This is a difficult one, as it depends on the mic used to record the vocal. However…Apply either cut or boost around 300hz, depending on the mic and song.Apply a very small boost around 6kHz to add some clarity.

100-250Hz ~ Adds ‘up-frontness’

250-800Hz ~ Muddiness area

1-6kHz ~ Adds presence

6-8kHz ~ Adds sibilance and clarity

8-12kHz ~ Adds brightness


Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off around 300Hz. Apply a very small boost around 6kHz to add some clarity.

50-100Hz ~ Adds bottom

100-250Hz ~ Adds roundness

250-1kHz ~ Muddiness area

1-6kHz ~ Adds presence

6-8Khz ~ Adds clarity

8-12kHz ~ Adds hiss

Electric guitars

Again this depends on the mix and the recording. Apply either cut or boost around 300hz, depending on the song and sound. Try boosting around 3kHz to add some edge to the sound, or cut to add some transparency. Try boosting around 6kHz to add presence. Try boosting around 10kHz to add brightness.

100-250Hz ~ Adds body

250-800Hz ~ Muddiness area

1-6Khz ~ Cuts through the mix

6-8kHz ~ Adds clarity

8=12kHz ~ Adds hiss

Acoustic guitar

Any apparent muddiness can be rolled off between 100-300Hz. Apply small amounts of cut around 1-3kHz to push the image higher. Apply small amounts of boost around 5kHz to add some presence.

100-250Hz ~ Adds body

6-8kHz ~ Adds clarity

8-12kHz ~ Adds brightness


These depend entirely on the mix and the sound used.

50-100Hz ~ Adds bottom end

100-250Hz ~ Adds body

250-800Hz ~ Muddiness area

1-6hHz ~ Sounds crunchy

6-8kHz ~ Adds clarity

8-12kHz ~ Adds brightness



  1. Increase to add more fullness to lowest frequency instruments like foot, toms, and the bass.
  2. Reduce to decrease the “boom” of the bass and will increase overtones and the recognition of bass line in the mix. This is most often used on bass lines in Rap and R&B.



    Increase to add a harder bass sound to lowest frequency instruments.

    Increase to add fullness to guitars, snare.

    Increase to add warmth to piano and horns.

    Reduce to remove boom on guitars & increase clarity.



  3. Increase to add fullness to vocals.
  4. Increase to add fullness to snare and guitar (harder sound).
  5. Reduce to decrease muddiness of vocals or mid-range instruments.
  6. Reduce to decrease gong sound of cymbals.



  7. Increase to add clarity to bass lines especially when speakers are at low volume.
  8. Reduce to decrease “cardboard” sound of lower drums (foot and toms).
  9. Reduce to decrease ambiance on cymbals.



  10. Increase for clarity and “punch” of bass.
  11. Reduce to remove “cheap” sound of guitars



  12. Increase for “clarity” and “pluck” of bass.
  13. Reduce to remove dullness of guitars.



  14. Increase for more “pluck” of bass.
  15. Increase for more attack of electric / acoustic guitar.
  16. Increase for more attack on low piano parts.
  17. Increase for more clarity / hardness on voice.
  18. Reduce to increase breathy, soft sound on background vocals.
  19. Reduce to disguise out-of-tune vocals / guitars



  20. Increase for vocal presence.
  21. Increase low frequency drum attack (foot/toms).
  22. Increase for more “finger sound” on bass.
  23. Increase attack of piano, acoustic guitar and brightness on guitars.
  24. Reduce to make background parts more distant.
  25. Reduce to soften “thin” guitar.



  26. Increase to add attack on low frequency drums (more metallic sound).
  27. Increase to add attack to percussion instruments.
  28. Increase on dull singer.
  29. Increase for more “finger sound” on acoustic bass.
  30. Reduce to decrease “s” sound on singers.
  31. Increase to add sharpness to synthesizers, rock guitars, acoustic guitar and piano.



  32. Increase to brighten vocals.
  33. Increase for “light brightness” in acoustic guitar and piano.
  34. Increase for hardness on cymbals.
  35. Reduce to decrease “s” sound on singers.



  36. Increase to brighten vocals (breath sound).
  37. Increase to brighten cymbals, string instruments and flutes.
  38. Increase to make sampled synthesizer sound more real.


    80hz - rumble of the bass

    100hz - thump of the kick

    200hz - bottom of the guitar

    250hz - warmth of the vocal

    350hz - bang of the snare

    400hz - body of the bass

    500hz - clang of the high hat

    600hz - clang of the cymbals

    800hz - ping of ride cymbal

    1000hz - meat of the guitar

    1200hz - body of the snare

    1400hz - meat of the vocal

    1600hz - snap of the kick/plectrum on guitar (attack)

    2500hz - wires and snap of snare

    3000hz - presence of the vocal

    4000hz - ring of ride cymbal/top end of bass guitar

    6000hz - sizzle of the high hat

    7000hz - sizzle of the cymbals

    8000hz - top end of the kick

    9000hz - brightness on snare and cymbals

    10000hz - brightness on vocal

    12000hz - air on vocal

    14000hz - air on cymbals

Great Guide