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After you've gotten the balance and moved the mics around to get the best sound possible, you still might find you need to tweak the sound a bit with little EQ. Although you're better off adding any EQ later when you're mixing until you get comfortable with using the EQ, here are some starting points. Little is the operative word here, and then if you feel you require more than 3dB of Equalization then something is radically wrong, you should even tune the drum or try different mic or placement. The reason why you'll use any EQ at all is for better definition of the drum sound, not to make it sound better.
If it doesn't already sound great in the room when you walk out and listen, chances are you can't help the sound much, but you can make it so you can hear each drum clearer. Here are some frequencies to tweak on the different drums that will help you do that. Kick drum: Attenuate at 200 hertz to 500 hertz to get rid of any boxiness. Attenuate at 1.5 kilohertz to make it less honky sounding. Add at 80 hertz to make it bigger or fuller. Add at 5 kilohertz for more definition.
Snare drum: Add at 10 to 12 kilohertz to make a crisper sounding. Add at 125 hertz to make it fuller sounding. Add at 1 kilohertz to make it have more definition. Hi-hat: Add at 10 kilohertz for more sizzle.
Filter below 160 hertz using the high-pass filter on the console or preamp for more definition. Attenuate at 1 kilohertz to make it thinner sounding. Rack toms: Add at 200 to 500 hertz to make them sound fuller. Add at 500 kilohertz to give them more definition.
Floor tom: Attenuate at 150 to 500 hertz to eliminate the beach ball sound. Add at 5 kilohertz to give it more definition. Cymbals: Add at 10 kilohertz for more sizzle. Filter below 160 hertz using a high-pass filter on the console or preamp for more definition.
So those are some of the things to keep in mind when EQ'ing drums. Remember a little goes a long way, so if you are thinking a lot of EQ to make it sound good, either change the drum, the mic, or the mic placement first.
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