The kick or bass drum is extremely important because it's the heartbeat of the song and provides power to the mix. Although different kick drums sound different, here is a general way to approach EQing the kick drum that will usually get you in the ballpark. The first thing to remember is you can't overcome a bad drum sound. If the kick drum sounds bad in the room, then there is no amount of EQing that's going to make it sound better. But if a kick does sound good, we can make it sound even better, with a little bit of EQ at certain EQ points here and there in the frequency range. Let's see what we can do with this kick.
First of all, let's listen to the entire drum kit just by itself. (music playing) You can hear some leakage from the bass guitar in the background. That's okay. You'll never hear it in the track. So let's bring our native 4-Band EQ up. The first thing to remember is that the ideal frequency for a 22-inch kick drum, which is what most kick drums are, that's usually around 80 Hz.
If you go and EQ below that--40 or 60 Hz--it may sound big on certain speakers, but you've probably added too much if you're listening on small speakers. You'll find low end will be just too big for the rest of the band. So you have to be really careful. So let's solo our kick drum, have a listen to it by itself. (music playing) That could use a little bit in the low end. Let's start with couple 3 dB, and let's have a listen.
(music playing) Now, the next thing we want to do is get rid of any of the hollow sound that the drum might have, and that's somewhere between 200 and 400 Hz. So let's see if we get a little bit of that out if we attenuate it. (music playing) Let's bypass it and have a listen.
(music playing) You can hear how it sounded bigger already. Now, if we really go crazy and get rid of a lot of, in this case it's 258 cycles, have a listen when we scoop it up. (music playing) It sounds a lot better when we get rid of that 200 to 400 cycles.
It just seems to sound bigger, and it does fit better in the track. Now the final thing that we want to do is add something that we call point, and point is a little bit of definition on the drum, and that definition comes between 3 and 5K. So let's go up to 3K or so and add a little bit of point. (music playing) Now, let's listen. Then we'll bypass it so you can hear before and after.
(music playing) Big difference there; let's listen in the track. (music playing) Now, let's add the second kick drum mic into it, and what this is is it's called a sub-kick, and this is either a homemade drum mic, which is a six- or eight-inch speaker that's placed in front of the kick drum, or Yamaha actually makes a unit that's called a Subkick.
And what we're aiming to do is get the 40 to 60 cycles that you don't normally hear. So you have to be careful because this could actually overpower everything else and really on most bookshelf speakers you can't really hear the effects of this so much. So you have to be careful and be very judicious with its use. Just about the time you hear it is the time that you want to stop adding more. (music playing) We can listen to that by itself.
(music playing) See, it's only low frequencies. Now the last thing we might want to do is actually add a highpass filter to the kick drum. And even though this might sound counterintuitive, sometimes you can actually clean up the sound of the kick a little bit. So what we'll do is we'll go to the plug-ins and we'll add a simple 1-Band plug-in. And what we're going to do is select the roll off, the highpass filter, and we're going to go to a frequency starting at 20 and have a listen.
(music playing) You usually don't want to go too much above 40 Hz, and sometimes 30 is enough, and what this will do is clean up a lot of unwanted sound, and actually it will tighten up the sound of the kick drum. It's not necessary, but sometimes it's really nice to have. So that's how we EQ the kick drum. Our bottom comes from 80 to 100 Hz, any hollowness in the drum is anywhere from 200 to 400 Hz, and the point or definition is at 3 to 5K.
Beware the boosting from 40 to 60 Hz may make the kick sound big on big speakers, but it might not be heard when played back on smaller speakers.
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