Instrument Enhancement Frequencies

All instruments contain a range of frequencies. Boosting or cutting these frequencies will produce a different sounding timbre (character), no matter what the instrument.

Outlined below are tips on equalizing common instrument types to get the best potential sound. Remember that these are only guidelines. Every instrument is unique and has different sound characteristics. Note that low cut applies to the low frequencies which are relatively useless for the instrument sound and can be rolled away, if desired, to lighten the mix and free up mix room.

Recommendations

Kick Drum Tips

kick drum
  • Boost around 5kHz to increase attack
Frequency Description
50-80 Hz Bottom, boom
100-200 Hz Roundness
250-800 Hz Mud, clarity
2500-5000 Hz Attack
Low Cut: None

Snare Drum Tips

snare drum
  • Cut around 60-120 Hz to thin the snare
  • Boost around 5-6 kHz for a snappy sound
Frequency Description
100-300 Hz Fat, full
900 Hz Boing
5000 Hz Snap
6000-9000 Hz Presence
Low Cut: 80Hz

Hi Hats/Cymbals Tips

hihats

  • Cut around 800 Hz if the cymbals sound clangy
  • Boost around 3 kHz to add brightness
Frequency Description
250-500 Hz Clang, mud
1000-5000 Hz Presence, attack
8000 Hz Sparkle, Hardness
9000 Hz Presence
15,000 Hz Air
Low Cut: 200Hz

Toms Tips

tom drum
  • Cut around 100 Hz to eliminate a muddy sound
  • To increase attack, try a small boost around 6 kHz
Frequency Description
200 - 400 Hz Fullness
5000 - 7000Hz Attack
Low Cut: None

Vocal Tips

microphone
  • Cut around 100 Hz to eliminate a muddy sound
  • Boost around to 6000 Hz to increase clarity
Frequency Description
150 Hz Fullness
1000-5000 Hz Presence
6000 Hz Clarity, sibilance
10,000 Hz Brightness/Air
Low Cut: 80Hz

Violin Tips

violin
  • Boost around 6000 Hz to add crunch sound
Frequency Description
250-500 Hz Bottom, boom
800-1000 Hz Roundness
5000 Hz Mud, clarity
7000-10,000Hz Attack
12,000 Hz Air
Low Cut: 100Hz

Piano Tips

piano
  • Cut around 80 Hz to eliminate excess boom
  • Boost around to 4 kHz to increase presence
Frequency Description
100 Hz Bottom
100-250 Hz Body
250-1000 Hz Mud
1000-5000 Hz Presence, honk
10,000 Hz Brightness
Low Cut: None

Bass Guitar Tips

bass guitar

  • Roll off around 300 Hz to increase clarity if muddy
  • Boost around to 60 to increase body
Frequency Description
50-80 Hz Bottom, body
100-500 Hz Fullness, mud
700 Hz Attack
1000-6000 Hz Presence, pluck
Low Cut: None

Electric Guitar Tips

electric guitar
  • Cut around 100 Hz to increase mix clarity
Frequency Description
150 Hz Body
300-500 Hz Fullness, mud
1500-3000 Hz Presence
6000 Hz Brightness
Low Cut: 80Hz

Acoustic Guitar Tips

acoustic guitar
  • Boost around 5 kHz for increased presence
Frequency Description
80 Hz Bottom
200-300 Hz Body
2000-5000 Hz Brightness
Low Cut: 80Hz