Kick Drum Eq Guide
Today I have a kick drum eq tutorial that will help you create a phat and punchy kick drum sound using an equalizer. Even though there are different kinds of kick drum sounds, there are guidelines that you can follow in order to achieve good results.
What you don’t want is a lacklustre kick, if you’re producing pop, dance, hip hop or uptempo music then a dead kick drum will drop the energy of your music. You’ll need a phat kick for the song to have great energy and punch.
Choose A Good Sound
Before you can even think about using an eq on a kick the 1st thing you need to do is choose a good sound. If it’s recorded live then make sure it sounds good from the source and if it’s sample based then make sure you choose a kick that works well with the rest of the sounds on the song you’re mixing.
Equalize With Every Sound Playing
Avoid equalizing your kick drum sound in solo, when you do an A-B test (bypass) you have to hear whether what you’re doing is benefiting the entire mix. If it’s a live drum kit then you should also listen to the mics pick-up and things such as the overheads.
But just make sure the whole music is playing when you equalize your kick drum or any other sound.
Where To Cut or Boost
Rule #1 – Don’t fix what is not broken. Most of the times I find that people just push the levels of other sounds too high and that tends to over power the kick drum.
So also make sure that your levels are right, the kick is breathing and dominating the low-end before any eq can be applied. Then all you’ll need is just to clean it up by using subtractive eq. You can boost if needed.
Usually the best practice is to sweep across the spectrum to find problem frequencies and cut them out. A sweep can also help you find frequencies that benefit the kick drum then you boost if necessary.
All kick drum sounds may be different but you can use the frequency guidelines I’m about to share with you to help you get started and understand where to boost or cut. The key to understanding the eq tool is to be hands on and let your ears be the judge but I know these will also help:
Kick Drum Eq Frequency Guide
50Hz – 100Hz ~ Adds bottom to the sound
100Hz – 250Hz ~ Adds roundness
250Hz – 800Hz ~ Muddiness Area
5kHz – 8kHz ~ Adds high end presence
8kHz – 12kHz ~ Adds Hiss
Cutting anything below 50Hz can help remove low-end mud and increase headroom in case you need to make your music loud. If a kick drum is struggling to cut through the mix then try boosting above 1.5kHz to emphasize the click.
If your kick drum is lacking low-end then create a low shelving boost around 80Hz – 100Hz. If needed then you might have to cut your bass around this frequency to avoid masking.
If ever your kick drum is boomy then you’ll need to remove the mud around 250Hz to around 800Hz. Don’t remove it all, just enough to bring up the kick drum’s clarity and remove the boominess.
This eq guideline should help you create a phat punchy kick drum but if you have any questions then leave a comment below. Feel free to Bookmark or save this page and use it as a guide whenever you’re mixing music.
Hope this helps… Cheers 🙂