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The organ is a quintessential instrument to add glue to a track. It isn't always heard as a distinct instrument, but you can always feel its presence. In this video I'm going to show you a couple of approaches when it comes to EQ-ing an organ. So you have to remember that an organ, especially like a Hammond B3 has a really wide frequency range. It can have a huge low-end, so you have to be careful that it doesn't get in the way of the bass or the kick drum. That's why it's not in common to use a high-pass filter to roll off the low-end below a 100Hz or so. Let's listen to the organ in the track. (Music playing) Sounds pretty good.
Let's listen to it by itself now. This is a Hammond B3 through a Leslie. And there are two speakers on the Leslie. There is a rotating horn and there's also a rotating speaker on the bottom. The speaker on the bottom will give you the low frequencies and of course the horn will give you the high frequencies, so this is miked with two different microphones. So that's why it says B3 High and B3 Low. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) So let's add some EQ to make it sound a little bit bigger and a little bit more present.
The first thing to notice is that both channels of the B3, B3 High and the B3 Low, are assigned to a subgroup channel and that's called Organ. So what that does is it allows us to put one EQ in that covers both the high and low channels without having to use a separate one for each. Under certain circumstances we might use an EQ for each channel, but usually it's just easier to use one. So let's put it in a Subgroup channel. Come back to our favorite 4-Band EQ. Now if there was a lot of low frequency in the organ, in other words if the organ player was using his left-hand on the lower registers or using bass pedals, if we EQed between 80 and 100Hz, it'll give it a lot more body, but since he's not doing that we won't hear anything and I'll play a little bit and I'll boost the low-end and you won't hear.
(Music playing) So I had a 10dB of gain on the low-end there at a 100Hz and you hardly heard it and that's because there is not much on the low-end coming out to begin with. So it goes to prove an EQ principle in that you can add something that isn't there already. So what we'll do if we want more body, we'll go up to about 240 cycles or so. 240, 250, 300, in there.
It's kind of a magic for an organ. It's a magic frequency and then you'll hear the body just feel bigger. (Music playing) One more time then I'll switch in and out. (Music playing) Now when he's playing the chords you definitely can hear when he goes to the high sustained note you don't hear it as much, because once again, if there are no frequencies there to begin with, you can't really add them.
But as he plays the chords in the mid- registers then you can definitely feel that body come up and that's kind of a secret, at 250, 240, and 300 in there usually makes the organ sound a lot bigger. The next frequency that we'll go to is between 2K and 5K again and you can see a pattern here. We've used this on other instruments. This is our presence frequency that kind of works on everything, but you have to be careful that if you boost one instrument in one place, you can't boost the same frequency on another instrument, because then they'll clash. So what we're going to do is go to maybe 3K here and add a little bit. Now have a listen.
(Music playing) One more time. (Music playing) Let's listen in the track now. (Music playing) Now you can hear two things there. The first is it definitely sticks out of the track a bit more, but also right towards the end the lead guitar that was playing the lead lyrics was beginning to conflict with the organ and that's because it was probably boosted at about the same frequency.
So without even looking at it we can probably change this by just moving the frequency down a little bit and let's go to 2.29. Listen to that again. (Music playing) Now you can hear both of them equally the same. That's what we're trying to do with EQ. We're trying to carve out a frequency space for every instrument. We don't necessarily wanted to make an instrument sound great by itself, because then it might not live with all the other tracks as well.
What you're trying to do is make them all work together and that's why we keep on moving those frequencies up and down, up and down, listening to other instruments and moving the frequency a little bit. It doesn't take much. Sometimes 100Hz is just enough to make the difference, but you have to keep on listening to different instruments to make it work. Finally, it's not uncommon to use a high-pass filter on the organ as well to roll off some of the low end, especially in a case like this where there is not any low end to begin with. So here's what we'll do. Since we're not using the upper band, we'll disable that, and just like we did before 12 dB per Octave, we'll take it to a 100 or so, and let's solo this up and have a listen.
(Music playing) It doesn't make any difference to the final sound, but what it does do is clean up that low end. Now if you're listing on a set of speakers that has a 15 inch woofer and has a very extended low frequency response, there'll be artifacts that you will hear that will suddenly disappear when we add the high-pass filter. But on most small bookshelf speakers, on headphones, you may not hear that at all.
Nonetheless, it's always a good practice to roll off the low end if it doesn't affect anything, because it will only clean up the mix, so it's a good practice to get into. So that's how you equalize the organ. The fullness comes at about 80 Hz, but be careful because that can get in the way of the bass or the kick drum. Body comes at about 240 and presence between 2K and 5K. Remember, just like with other instruments, sometimes a high-pass filter can tighten up the sound, so don't be afraid to try it if the bottom sounds too big.
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