How to Use Low Pass Filters

Hey, guys. What’s up? I’ve got another video for you this week.

I wanted to talk about low pass filtering. A lot of guys on the internet — I’ve seen tons of videos of guys talking about high pass filtering, filtering out bottom end stuff, and that’s definitely a very common thing to do.

But I wanted to do a little video on low pass filtering and I’ve got a couple of examples here. We’re mainly looking at percussion stuff, so I’ve got a shaker track, some maracas and some tambourines.

Let me play the track for you. This is with the low pass filtering engaged.

[mix]

Right? So we’ve got a little tambourine two and four action, and then some sixteenth note shaker and maraca stuff going on.

[percussion]

So here’s without my low pass filtering engaged.

[percussion, no low pass]

And it just kind of sounds pokey to me. Maybe not necessarily a volume thing, or maybe it is a volume thing, depending on how you want to think about it, but instead of pulling a fader down, I think you can kind of get better results with a low pass filter.

So like, on the shaker track, I usually go to about 10kHz or so. This is what, like, 10.56kHz.

[mix]

So here’s just the shaker in.

[mix]

You know, maybe put that in then adjust the volume. It kind of helps it blend with the drums better, I think.

[mix]

Right. Here’s the maracas.

[maracas]

This is going to 5kHz.

[maracas]

Which really darkens it up. That’s kind of a personal preference thing.

[mix]

Right. Then we have our tambourine here.

[mix]

[tambourine]

Again, this is one thing. A little room verb can also help these things sit in the mix better.

[mix]

Alright, cool. So that’s one way I like to use low pass filtering.

You can also use it on the bass, because you really don’t need much above 4kHz, 5kHz depending on the tone you’ve got.

[bass guitar]

I kind of use it more as a safety net.

[bass guitar]

So here’s with the low pass filter in.

[bass guitar]

Smooth it out. Really subtle stuff. Just more of a safety net more than anything, which gives everything above that room to do its thing.

[bass guitar]

[mix]

So yeah, guys. Low pass filtering. It’s a great tool. Try it out on your percussion stuff. This is great for beat making. I use this all of the time when I’m making beats if I want to filter top end out on claps and make things darker, shakers, any kind of percussion stuff. Even certain kinds of snare drums or something if you want a certain kind of effect.

Really useful tool. Again, this is just the EQ III, the stock plug-in from AVID/Pro Tools, whatever you want to call it. One sort of other tidbit of knowledge, low frequencies you can usually be a bit more aggressive with. So this is at what, 18 dB per octave on the high pass filter.

On the low pass filter, I like to be a bit more gentle, so I typically won’t do anything more drastic than 12 dB per octave, just because the highs kind of cut more and you can kind of — if you get real aggressive with this at 36 dB or 24 dB, depending on the plug-in you’re using, things can get kind of crazy.

So smoother curves up top for me tend to work out a little better, just for my ears.

So with that, I hope you learned something. I’ll play this track. I like it a lot. It’s a record I’ve been working on. Subscribe to the channel. Like us on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, all of that stuff, like normal, and I’ll see you in the next video. Thanks, guys.

[mix]

Mixnotes

Mixnotes

Mixnotes is a YouTube channel with tutorials on mixing, recording, business, plugins and more. We've partnered with them to feature some of their videos on The Pro Audio Files.
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