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Detecting and eliminating very low frequencies
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Detecting and eliminating very low frequencies
Scories
A few months ago, a mastering engineer told me that many of my tracks tracks had a high amount of very low frequencies (under 30hz) and I should use a sub-woofer to solve this issue. I think that part of the problem comes from using down-pitched samples.

I still have no sub-woofer and I'd like to get rid of those frequencies without taking off too much useful low frequency content.

Do you have some tricks to detect those very-low frequencies without hearing them?
In a DAW: Would you use a bass cut on the individual problematic tracks or directly to the main master out?
Would you cut anything below 20-30 hertz or would you use a gentle curve at a slightly higher frequency?

Any tips would be appreciated.

PS. I use Alesis active 1 mkii with ARC 2.5 monitor/room correction software so I have a nice flat frequency response for the rest of the spectrum.
lisa
Cut low frequencies on everything except bass instruments and kicks. That’s how I do it anyway. thumbs up
PhineasFreak
the logic says get a subwoofer - then you can hear whats there and use your ears to make the decisions - cutting low frequencies across the board in general may be a bad idea as lisa points out above
Scories
Systemically cutting bass on individual tracks without bassline/kick sounds like a nice idea for clearing cumulative rumble.
Thanks! I'll definitely be using this trick!
noisejockey
Definitely cut the lows on tracks that are not contributing to the bass or kick duties, good advice. If you can't afford a subwoofer, monitor through a frequency analyzer, like the free Voxengo SPAN. You'll be able to see the energies you may not actually hear.
craigie77
PhineasFreak wrote:
the logic says get a subwoofer - then you can hear whats there and use your ears to make the decisions - cutting low frequencies across the board in general may be a bad idea as lisa points out above



Yep. Agreed

Elephants can pick up crazy low frequencies as well. Might be worth the time befriending one. Just saying
Panason
I don't think that mastering engineer's advice is enough. A sub woofer will not do much for you if your room is not large enough and/or treated acoustically .. and may make things worse.

but without mentioning what you're trying to achieve we don't know what needs to be done really.
I think the advice to cut out the bass from non-bass parts is generally good but if the problem is in the actual kick and bass then a more subtle approach is needed .
Are you doing dance music for big sound systems ?

Quote:
....if you're now thinking that brutally EQing all of the sub-bass out of your kick and bass parts will provide a solution, it might not be quite that simple. By doing this, you'll lose a lot of the energy on which well mixed club records rely, so it's important to be a bit smarter than that. Instead, we're going to turn our attention to how to get kicks and basslines integrating well and we can immediately put our theories about both harmonic content and the physical nature of a speaker to the test.


https://www.residentadvisor.net/features/1211
Scories
@Noisejockey: I'll have a look at this software, thanks.

@Panason: Good question, I'm not into dance music; mostly atmospheric/experimental music. Right now, I'm mostly using a vibraphone, some flutes, DoubleKnot and a sh1000 with a few pedals.

Indeed, the engineer suggested to get both a subwoofer and ARC 2.5. With ARC, I realised my speakers had a 6db boost between 100-200 hz and a -6db curve around 2.5khz. Now I get a pretty flat 45-20000hz frequency response which is rather nice for mixing.
JediDJ
Some good freq analyzer should help.
felixer
i usually cut everything below 25-40 Hz on my tc finalizer. no speakers can reproduce that and they only take away headroom. no-one will miss them.
???
Get an eq that show you the frequency content of the signal (like fabfilter pro Q). You'll see right away if there are inaudible frequencies. remove everything you don't need or hear. I usually high pass everything except bass / kick as mentioned above. This is a really good advice
naturligfunktion
??? wrote:
Get an eq that show you the frequency content of the signal (like fabfilter pro Q). You'll see right away if there are inaudible frequencies. remove everything you don't need or hear. I usually high pass everything except bass / kick as mentioned above. This is a really good advice

+1

I do this on every track in every song. It is a great tip
3hands
Agree with both posts above. I also use Fabfilter and cut all the useless low end across the whole track, then individually low pass the kick, and Bassline, and then highpass most everything else. Sometimes pads and more mid range sounds gets a little extra low mid thrown in, but usually that’s it!
3pand
Regarding your question of whether to do the bass cut on individual tracks or the master: in addition to all the great advice above you can also consider the fact that if you wait until the master to cut sub frequencies, then they will all still be going through all of your processing chain and possibly causing things like compressors to react to their presence even if you are not hearing them.
kragg
One suggestion is to use a shelf filter in the bass range instead of a HP filter, in order to avoid phase issues.
(minimum phase HP filter can cause unwanted phase changes, so by using them on every track without even listening, you may get rid of low end rumble, but mess with the phase instead. Shelf filters doesn't change the phase).
Michael O.
kragg wrote:
One suggestion is to use a shelf filter in the bass range instead of a HP filter, in order to avoid phase issues.
(minimum phase HP filter can cause unwanted phase changes, so by using them on every track without even listening, you may get rid of low end rumble, but mess with the phase instead. Shelf filters doesn't change the phase).


I completely agree that shelving filters are very useful in this context and many others, but I have to add that they actually do cause phase issues, more so than most other types of eq even. But the results are often worth it regardless.
felixer
any eq causes 'phase issues' because that is the way they work. there are some digital eq's that don't ... but usually people don't like the sound of them ...
calaveras
There are two problems with using a lowcut/hipass on all the tracks.
First is that, as stated it can introduce phase issues.
Also, depending on the Q of the low cut, it can create an apparent low mid bump. Actually causing mid bass build up.
Not all mixers do this, but some do.

In an ideal situation you move the mic farther away, or change the timbre at the source in some other way.
But in electronic music this is not always possible.
I like to use a low shelf at a gentle slope.
3-6db. That is per octave. so as you move farther from the corner freq its cutting more. In other words, with a low shelf you can start cutting quite high, like 150hz at 3db. So it's attentuating 12db by the time you get in the real bass.
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