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Cutting the low end (below 20hz'ish)
Old 2nd October 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 
Jalle's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Cutting the low end (below 20hz'ish)

Is it necessary to lowcut information below 20Hz-ish?

I had a talk with my mastering engineer about cutting the low end and we couldn't come to a conclusion as we both had different views on it.

Style: Modern, tight, punchy, clear, EDM'ish production.

Example:
Let's say my kick shows information below 20Hz (see attached screenshot). Is it necessary to lowcut that information?

Some of the plugs on the insert chain seem to add to low-end rumble. I've tried to lowcut at different stages of the insert chain but doing it at the last step of my chain is the only solution.

I use high-end plugs
Attached Thumbnails
Cutting the low end (below 20hz'ish)-hihat.jpg   Cutting the low end (below 20hz'ish)-kick.jpg  
Old 2nd October 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
It is, if you want to have a loud mix.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #3
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It depends on the source material. Most a/d converters aren’t going to record anything below 20hz, so there will be nothing to eq out if you’ve recorded through them.
Old 2nd October 2018 | Show parent
  #4
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Jalle's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Mitch ➡️
It depends on the source material. Most a/d converters aren’t going to record anything below 20hz, so there will be nothing to eq out if you’ve recorded through them.
Only recorded material is the vocal. Everything else is made with plugs. Kick is made with Kick2 and so on.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #5
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Don Solaris's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalle ➡️
I had a talk with my mastering engineer about cutting the low end and we couldn't come to a conclusion as we both had different views on it.
Is he a mastering engineer or a "mastering engineer"?

Because most of actual mastering engineers cut everything below 30 Hz which makes perfect sense unless some specific soundtrack is in the question.
Old 2nd October 2018 | Show parent
  #6
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Jalle's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutantt ➡️
It is if you want to have a loud mix.
Makes sense. I've heard/read acoustic engineers view on it; not to lowcut that stuff because it adds flavor. But I think its different with EDM as you also mix for loudness.
Old 2nd October 2018 | Show parent
  #7
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Jalle's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris ➡️
Is he a mastering engineer or a "mastering engineer"?

Because most of actual mastering engineers cut everything below 30 Hz which makes perfect sense unless some specific soundtrack is in the question.
I could have been more specific. He removes stuff below 30 in the mastering stage, but we couldn't agree on what to do in the mix stage.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #8
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🎧 10 years
It's a bit of a difficult topic i think.
First thing to consider is the resolution of your spectrum analyzer.
It has almost no resolution to distinguish between, say, 20Hz and level changes.

These kinds of phenomena are probably why you need to apply the highpass as last thing. Any compressors or limiters will be generating level changes which kindof shows up as very low frequencies.

Clicks and very sharp sounds also generate low frequencies (actually, they generate all frequencies at the same time but for a very short moment.
In the example of the hihat you can see that there are frequencies present all the way down.

Try this: Take a sample editor and create a file (i dunno, 1~2 seconds) with no sound and draw in a single sample in the middle of the file.
Now, look at what you get from the analyzer.

But in general, using highpass at low low frequencies can be a good way to clean up your mix. Or maybe the other way around, too mych super low frequencies can kill your mix and overwork compressors and whatnot. Highpass can help managing this. Personally i use a low shelve in the kick region, combined with a highpass somewhere between 10Hz~30Hz. But that is only when i have a problem with excessive bass.

Just wondering, what was your mastering engineers position?
Old 2nd October 2018
  #9
M32
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🎧 5 years
I tend to put a 24db filter around 20 Hz on the master, seems to keep my mixes a lot better behaved, and the same a bit higher up but only cutting the sides to have bass consistency on different speakers.
On my mixing elements, I'll often do it on bass, but on kicks it seems to affect the dynamics and punchy quality sometimes, so these days I don't. If I layer an acoustic kick with an electronic one, I will lowcut between 20 and 40 on the acoustic one to increase the tightness of the basdrum sound.
I tend to use my ears mostly, and A-B in the mix.

Notches/dips at fundamentals seem to do a much better job without colouring than drastic measures. Notches at first harmonics in the mid-side spectrum are also a great way to be subtle
Old 2nd October 2018 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalle ➡️
Makes sense. I've heard/read acoustic engineers view on it; not to lowcut that stuff because it adds flavor.
Only elephants would be able to hear that flavor.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #11
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zukan's Avatar
 
If it's an artistic decision then that is different to the engineering aspect of why we cut 20Hz.

You will find that low frequencies are wideband and generally have high amplitudes. The reason we remove low energy is because these high amplitudes often trip compressors and limiters and the user cannot understand why. Sub harmonics can be even more troublesome. I tend to band-pass every channel so as to remove all redundant frequencies and that includes the air band. You are then left with the frequencies you want to work with.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #12
Deleted 1aa3d46
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Hi-pass individual channels, leave to ME to decide if it's needed to hi-pass the master. Like already mentioned, some sounds which are not bass or kick also have a lot bass and subbass freqs and generally they're below fundamental freq, sometimes around 50hz or even 80-90hz, that's impossible to cut later in mastering without having a bad master. Also, hi-pass usually raises the volume of the sounds and sometimes transients and timbre get messy. Low-shelf is more gentle.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #13
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iksrazal's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I use analog HPF liberally on all tracks, API 565, 500 series Moog ladders, Sound Devices pres. Never have enough. Zoom F8 inputs with digital HPF as a last resort. Even bass and kick at 35hz.

I'll ask my ME next time around on what he does with HPF on my tracks.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #14
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konputa's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
This monster thread touches on the importance of managing the lowest frequencies.

The Reason Most ITB mixes don’t Sound as good as Analog mixes (restored)
Old 2nd October 2018
  #15
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DJRAZZ's Avatar
 
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Anything below 30 can not be heard. But the air and distortion is still there. Cutting below 20 or 30 always helps clean ups mixes at loud volumes. We do get into to trouble when we cut too much and over compress for it takes the live or analog feel if you will out of the mix and makes it's very programmed. The best music in history breathes.
Old 19th October 2018 | Show parent
  #16
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Jalle's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by iksrazal ➡️
I use analog HPF liberally on all tracks, API 565, 500 series Moog ladders, Sound Devices pres. Never have enough. Zoom F8 inputs with digital HPF as a last resort. Even bass and kick at 35hz.

I'll ask my ME next time around on what he does with HPF on my tracks.

Good stuff. Did you get a answer from your ME?
Old 19th October 2018
  #17
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deondamage's Avatar
If the compressors are reacting to those inaudible low frequencies, you should probably remove it, or at least shelf it down below the Threshold.
Old 19th October 2018
  #18
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jude's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If its of no use, cut it.
Old 19th October 2018 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalle ➡️
Only recorded material is the vocal. Everything else is made with plugs. Kick is made with Kick2 and so on.
Depends whether your audience is a herd of elephants
Old 19th October 2018 | Show parent
  #20
Here for the gear
 
If the frequencies below 20 Hz are unintentional then it makes sense to cut them out. I've heard a sound system that could go down to 15 Hz and while you can't hear that low, you can feel it with enough power which can be a cool effect. But it's probably uncommon to have a sound system that can do that well enough to be worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Mitch ➡️
It depends on the source material. Most a/d converters aren’t going to record anything below 20hz, so there will be nothing to eq out if you’ve recorded through them.
This isn't true, a digital recording will record all the way down to 0 Hz (DC). The only limit is Nyquist.
Old 19th October 2018 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicShape ➡️
This isn't true, a digital recording will record all the way down to 0 Hz (DC). The only limit is Nyquist.
Technically speaking, you're right and nothing prevents you from encoding a 0Hz signal.

Practically speaking tho, you're wrong and most AD converters are AC coupled. Most DA converters too, so you get double the cut.

Old 19th October 2018 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer ➡️
Technically speaking, you're right and nothing prevents you from encoding a 0Hz signal.

Practically speaking tho, you're wrong and most AD converters are AC coupled. Most DA converters too, so you get double the cut.

Interesting, I had to read up about AC coupling to understand what you mean. Does the AC coupling act like a HPF with rolloff? In other words if I tried to record a 0.001 Hz signal would it be an accurate recording?
Old 19th October 2018 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicShape ➡️
Interesting, I had to read up about AC coupling to understand what you mean. Does the AC coupling act like a HPF with rolloff? In other words if I tried to record a 0.001 Hz signal would it be an accurate recording?
Yup, it acts as a highpass filter and you wouldn't get an accurate recording of such a low frequency.
And it's not only converters that have these. Most audio equipment is AC coupled.
The thing is, DC and super low frequency are not really musically valid signals (can even cause damage in some cases) and AC coupling helps with connecting circuits together. So a lot of designs are based on AC coupled inputs and outputs.
Old 19th October 2018 | Show parent
  #24
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mekanik's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
technically speaking almost no consumer systems goes down to 20hz (mine does though. even down to 5hz full blast) so there is no need going below lets say 40hz.
it will only stress out the boxes.

and almost all club systems cut at 40 or so. hard. its only rumble down there so whats the point. almost no 15 and 18 inchers puts out juice below 40hz.
Old 19th October 2018
  #25
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🎧 10 years
If you don't want your phase being messed with, don't cut it. Linear phase EQs have that pre-ringing thing happening so also not a good idea.

In any case, if you don't hear it creating trouble for the rest of your mix, no need to cut it. And always try with shelf first rather than HPF (messes up the phase less). IMHO.
Old 19th October 2018 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon ➡️
If you don't want your phase being messed with, don't cut it. Linear phase EQs have that pre-ringing thing happening so also not a good idea.

In any case, if you don't hear it creating trouble for the rest of your mix, no need to cut it. And always try with shelf first rather than HPF (messes up the phase less). IMHO.
Just to be clear:

Don’t cut at master; cut during mix ok.
Old 20th October 2018 | Show parent
  #27
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konputa's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon ➡️
If you don't want your phase being messed with, don't cut it. Linear phase EQs have that pre-ringing thing happening so also not a good idea.

In any case, if you don't hear it creating trouble for the rest of your mix, no need to cut it. And always try with shelf first rather than HPF (messes up the phase less). IMHO.
Can you explain why cutting the sub frequencies with HPF or shelving impacts phase? Also, why is shelving better than HPF?
Old 20th October 2018 | Show parent
  #28
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monomer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by konputa ➡️
Can you explain why cutting the sub frequencies with HPF or shelving impacts phase? Also, why is shelving better than HPF?
What i would like to know is why keeping a straight phase in the low regions is important in the first place. I don't think we're even capable of perceiving phase relations in the bass frequencies and a hpf at sub frequencies leaves the phase of the higher frequencies alone.
Old 20th October 2018 | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer ➡️
What i would like to know is why keeping a straight phase in the low regions is important in the first place. I don't think we're even capable of perceiving phase relations in the bass frequencies and a hpf at sub frequencies leaves the phase of the higher frequencies alone.
In a multitrack situation it could lead to phase cancellation between different tracks, maybe?
Old 20th October 2018
  #30
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🎧 5 years
And yet every high end recording console is peppered with HPFs and many long time professionals use said filters on every mix.

My mixes have more life to them and sound better in general when I'm cutting the lows and I've not experienced phase issues; but then maybe I'm doing something wrong.


Quote:
Originally Posted by afa ➡️
In a multitrack situation it could lead to phase cancellation between different tracks, maybe?
This could be a true statement with mic'ed and individually EQed tracks as well. It's probably less of a problem when the group as a whole are cut.
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