Hey everybody, and welcome to a different Recording Dojo installment. You could recall that again in November 2020 I launched you to the mighty HPF (high-pass filter) and tips on how to make use of its energy. This time, I’m going to concentrate on the opposite aspect of the spectrum: the LPF (low-pass filter). A DAW’s LPF does precisely what its identify implies: It permits low-frequency info to cross and attenuates the excessive frequencies. Strategic use of an LPF can actually assist clear up your recordings and mixes by permitting you to manage the place and the way a lot high-frequency info you need—particularly on teams of tracks the place there is likely to be a whole lot of high-frequency overlap.
Like its cousin the HPF, the LPF additionally has most of the identical parameters and controls—most significantly, the slope of the filter. The slope of the filter is represented by dBs per octave, and the upper the worth, the steeper the slope. Usually ranges embrace -12 dB to -48 dB per octave, however generally larger values might be actually efficient, as we’ll see.
“I’m going to present you three situations to attempt that may get you accustomed to tips on how to use an LPF in your mixes.”
Listed here are three situations to attempt that may enable you to discover ways to use a LPF in your mixes.
State of affairs 1: acoustic guitar and vocal (or second guitar).
On this scenario, you must report your acoustic guitar and your vocal individually, on two totally different tracks, and never on the identical time. In the event you don’t sing, then simply play a solo to associate with your acoustic guitar observe. First, in your DAW, instantiate and EQ in your acoustic guitar observe with an LPF and set it for a -24dB/octave with a middle frequency someplace round 2800 kHz (Fig.1). Subsequent, sweep the frequency to the left and the proper and see how the guitar observe will lose its high finish (“air”) and start to sound heat. It ought to instantly begin sounding a bit extra lo-fi, or like an previous recording from final century. Discover a frequency vary that sounds good to you however remains to be slicing out a major quantity of the excessive frequencies and transients of the acoustic guitar. For the vocal observe (or your solo observe), don’t use any EQ in any respect. Simply let it’s au naturel. Now take heed to each tracks on the identical time whereas toggling the acoustic observe’s LPF on and off. What you must instantly discover is the vocal observe (solo observe) shall be rather more in focus and actually have a long way and dimension from the acoustic observe when the LPF is lively. Season to style.
State of affairs 2: discovering extra “house” between the drums and the lead guitar tracks.
Particularly in rock music, a major quantity of the drums’ power can come from these cymbals that the drummer is bashing on relentlessly. Cymbals can kill a mixture sooner than Kryptonite, and so they can obscure the delicate choose assaults of lead guitar components and solos. On this scenario, attempt placing an LPF on the drum overhead tracks, or the primary drum observe in case you are taking part in with loops, or software program devices, and so forth. Begin round 6,500 kHz (Fig. 2) with -48 dB/octave and sweep round till the drums begin to sound heat and the cymbals aren’t stepping everywhere in the guitar components. There aremanyadvanced methods to realize this outcome, however now we have to begin someplace and we wish to maintain it so simple as potential whereas placing you in the proper territory. For an excellent reference, take heed to U2’s “Stunning Day,” and see how the cymbals don’t fatigue your ears or take over the combo.
State of affairs 3: utilizing an LPF to make room for a vocal in a mixture.
Take a look at Fig. 3 and take note of the far proper aspect of the audio spectrum. Discover how the aggressive LPF is actually slicing off excessive frequency info above 20 kHz. This brick wall (larger than -96 dB/octave) setting can be utilized to your benefit—particularly in case your voice (or your singer) has a whole lot of breathiness and air, nevertheless it’s getting misplaced within the combine inside the remainder of the band. Or maybe you wish to make the combo sound extra classic.
What we wish to do right here is sum all of the band tracks besides the vocal to a brand new bus (or observe), after which put an LPF on the newly summed observe. Right here is the place you’ll wish to mess around and transfer shortly to see if you will discover that candy spot between having the band observe sounding too boring and giving the vocals the correct amount of air or breathiness. When you dial it in, you may toggle the LPF on and off to listen to how the vocals can come out and in of focus.
Don’t get pissed off when attempting these strategies. It’d take a while to essentially begin listening to the variations, and to search out methods to make use of LPFs to your benefit.
Till subsequent time.