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In this course, author Bobby Owsinski reveals industry tips, tricks, and techniques for producing professionally mixed audio on any digital audio workstation. He offers recommendations for setting up an optimal listening environment, highlights the most efficient ways to set up and balance a mix, and shows how to build a powerful sound with compression. The course also explains how to master the intricacies of EQ; incorporate reverb, delay, and modulation effects; and generate the final mix.
In this video I'm going to show you how to use the highpass filter to magically clean up your mix. The highpass filter is one of the most useful and overlooked equalization parameters. It allows the high frequencies to pass and cuts off the low frequencies, which usually don't add that much to the sound anyway. What we're going to do is go over on the electric guitar and let's insert a 1- Band EQ. And what we're going to do is we're going to put it on highpass filter. So we selected High-Pass here. Now usually there are two controls that you have-- sometimes there is only one--and it's a frequency control that selects the frequency that the filter works, at and sometimes there is a slope control, or sometimes called Q, and what this will do is select the rate that the filter rolls off at.
So there is 60 dB/octave. You can see when we go to 12 dB/octave, it's even more pronounced, 18 dB/octave is more so, and 24 dB is flat off the cliff. Let's listen to what these sound like first, and we're going to use electric guitar. Electric guitar is especially good for using a highpass filter. So let's listen what happens. (music playing) Now, there is a point where you won't hear the highpass filter work at all. Now watch.
So we have it down to 20Hz here. (music playing) We're rolling quite a lot of the lows off, but you don't hear any difference at all. That's because there's not a lot of low frequencies that are in the electric guitar sound. (music playing) That's where we can about hear it. Now the way this works is the low frequencies that are being picked up by the microphone are things that we don't want anyway.
They may be things like truck traffic, or it might be, there is heavy equipment being used somewhere, and that gives you a low rumble that you really can't hear unless you have headphones on or if you have the monitors turned up. But it's all sorts of extraneous noises in your mix that really take away from it and make it sound muddy and jumbled. So the more we can get rid of this, the better off everything sounds. Besides, these low frequencies really don't add anything to the sound of the electric guitar, and that's why if we get rid of them, it only makes the guitar stand out in the mix more.
So let's have a listen. (music playing) So that still sounded pretty good there, even though all the lows were rolled off. Let's listen to it with the lows. (music playing) Here when we actually put the highpass filter in--I'm going to put this up, so it's 12 dB/octave-- it makes the guitar a little more distinct, because those low frequencies are getting in the way of the bass guitar, of the kick drum, and if we get those out of the mix, it makes everything more distinct.
It will clean up the low frequencies on those instruments, and it'll also clean up the sound of the electric guitar. So now let's listen. (music playing) Sounded pretty good! Let's go and put the highpass filter on the vocals for instance. Now, the vocals are another instrument that can really use a highpass filter, and the reason why, again, is usually they're turned up loudly, they're recorded loudly, and also you're standing away from the microphone that they're being recorded, and most people are recording in their garages or in their bedrooms or whatever.
So you don't have an acoustically tuned room or an isolated room to get rid of all those extraneous low-frequency noises. And you don't even hear most of them, but you can see them on a meter. If you turn the track up loud enough, you can actually see the meter bouncing, and it's because of these low frequencies that are happening, and this is when there is no other sound happening, but you can see that happening. Now on this particular vocal, I can't show you that because it was recorded in a real studio, so we don't have those problems. But now let's listen to the vocal by itself, and we'll put the highpass in. (music playing) Okay. So there are no low frequencies there and that doesn't sound very good, but watch: we can roll it off at 40 or 50 and it doesn't change the sound of the vocal at all.
(music playing) Let's bypass it. (music playing) So now you can hear there is really no difference, but what we've done is we've gotten rid of those low frequencies that aren't helping the vocal at all and are really clouding up the mix. We can even use this on something like the bass or a kick drum.
Now let's go over to the bass and put a highpass filter in it. We'll go in Bass and we'll insert 1 Band filter. There we go! Call that highpass filter. Now, let's listen to the bass. (music playing) Let's gradually put the highpass filter in. We'll raise the frequencies. (music playing) Now, you can hear it. It really makes a difference.
At 150 cycles there is no low end, and that's not what we want. So what we can do now is we can actually bring it up to 30 or 40 cycles, and we won't hear the sound of the bass change, but yet we'll get rid of a lot of the muddiness that's down below the 30 cycles that just muddy up the sound. (music playing) We can use this on a kick drum and just about anything that uses a microphone.
It really performs some magic on the mix because you get rid of a lot of frequencies that don't really add anything to the sound yet cloud up the mix because they are in the way of the bass drum, and what we're trying to do is add definition between all those instruments, and this is one of the ways we do it. So to finish up, a highpass filter is used to get rid of the low frequencies that muddy up the sound. There is one main parameter that sets the frequency, and sometimes another that selects how quickly those frequencies are rolled off. Finally, we can use the highpass filter in almost every instrument, but it's especially effective on those that don't have many low frequencies to begin with.
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