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Ableton Mixing Tips and Tricks: EQing Drums by Rafael

After I show you How to EQ Pianos and How to EQ Guitars in Ableton, now is time to see how to proceed with the drum sounds: kicks, hi hats, snares, toms and other percussion sounds.

When EQing the kick, try a high pass filter on 30 Hz, remember to emphasize somewhat different than the bass in the low end portion. For example, if you boosted at 60 Hz in the bass, try boosting 80 Hz in the kick. If it’s an acoustic kick, you may wanna attenuate all the low mids in order to eliminate resonances, make the kick tighter and make some room for guitars and vocals. So, attenuation around 250 Hz, is a really good idea, you’ll find out that your kick now sounds way better. You may also wanna get rid of the hollowness around 400 Hz and maybe emphasise the higher portion of the kick somewhere in between 2 kHz up to 8 kHz (heavy metal kinda typewriter kick anyone?). You may use a low pass filter at about 10 kHz (or even lower).

Remember that the relationship between bass and kick is very important, so, whatever frequencies you boost on the bass, you may wanna attenuate in the kick, and vice versa.

Ableton Mixing Drums Tutorials
Tight Kick EQ curve.

For the snare, you may wanna set your high pass frequency at 120 Hz, the fatness will be somewhere between 120 Hz and 240 Hz, the lovely harmonics maybe somewhere between 800 Hz and 1 kHz, yo might wanna sweep until it comes out; snares got some crispness at around 5 kHz and the snap at 10 kHz.

For the overheads, I like to cut all the lows below 200 Hz just to make sure I won’t have any phase issues with the lower portion of the kick, then, it’s just a matter of taste. Sometimes, depending on the song, I like to boost everything above 5 kHz with a shelving eq, just to have an extra brightness on cymbals.

Ableton Live Mixing Tips
Curve for bright Overheads.

The fullness of the rack toms is between 240 Hz and 480 Hz, and the attack between 5 kHz and 7 kHz, you might wanna use a high pass to cut anything below 200 Hz, and also attenuate the mids between 500 Hz and 2 kHz. For the floor tom, the fullness is around 80 Hz and the attack at 5 kHz.

Ableton Mixing EQ Tutorials
Rack toms.

For the hats, you have got 2 specially important frequencies, 200 Hz for the attack and somewhere around 8 kHz for the brightness. The same can apply to any cymbal. Of course, get rid of the low end with a high pass filter.

EQ-ing Hi Hats in Ableton
Bright hats with punchy attack.

You might be using some congas in your rhythm section, for the ring, 200 Hz and for the slap 5 kHz.

Percussion Mixing Tutorials
Slap congas.

Also check: How To EQ Vocals

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