I need help High Passing

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markjazzbassist
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I need help High Passing

Post by markjazzbassist » Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:06 pm

In an effort to give the drums and bass more room in the mix and to help other instruments to have their space i bought a high pass filter to use. I've got some basic questions and would love to hear how you people high pass. Specifically:

Electric Piano - Rhodes, Wurly, Pianet, etc. I'm at a crossroads here because i feel like that low end is part of the inherent tone of the instrument. but then again i don't want it to steal space from my sacred bass. do you high pass this? If not why? if so what is a good frequency? 80HZ or 120hZ? or more like 30 or 50 just get rid of rumble?

Organ - Pretty much the same as above, i feel that low end is part of the tone. Do you high pass? If not why? If so what frequency are you finding to work?

Electric Guitar - I understand the need to high pass this, but i'm more looking for what's a good frequency.

Horns - I"m talking specifically about Tenor sax, which again low end is part of the gig. should i high pass? what freq? do you?

General - what is an general high pass frequency you use for lead work (synth, guitar)? is there a standard high pass you put on close to everything?


any and all comments are appreciated.

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digitaldrummer
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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by digitaldrummer » Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:15 pm

I'll usually start by listening to the instrument solo and just sliding the HPF up until I feel like its lost something, then work back down. That's a good starting point and then you may have to cut more or less depending on how it all sits in the mix. It also depends on the steepness of the filter. A steeper filter will sound less natural IMO.

but keys often get 70-80Hz (unless there is nothing else in the mix). sometimes higher. Guitars 80-100Hz. toms get HPF too but varies depending on the size. snare gets HPF, many times I'll run that up to 120-200Hz, but I might boost 150Hz too (Waves SSL channel plugin or similar). kick, only a little (~20-50 hz depending on song). are there rules? no.
Last edited by digitaldrummer on Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:20 pm

I'm not sure if this will make sense for your work flow but my usual method with HPF is to use it on mix down. I'll start with the cut off as low as it will go and then sweep up until I hear it doing damage to the tone of the instrument. When I hit that point I'll back it up a bit.
I agree about the low, lows being part of the sound with Rhodes and other electric pianos. That said, there's often not much happening below 60-80hz that you will miss if there's a bass in the song. Electric guitar is the same. I often start my cut at 80hz and then move upward until I hear it doing damage. Sometimes thats 120 sometimes higher. It depends on the part and the arrangement.

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by kslight » Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:40 pm

I tend to agree with above. Don’t go too heavy handed on EP and piano. Guitar will generally be fine a bit more high pass. Synth often I don’t feel too bad doing heavy high pass on if it’s appropriate. I think tenor sax you can probably get away with treating like a guitar (maybe even add a little drive to it).

Side chain - compression - or multi band? I use a plug called Trackspacer sometimes which can help in things you can’t just take a huge cut with.
Last edited by kslight on Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by JES » Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:46 pm

I like to high pass guitars pretty high. They sound thin on their own but in a mix things sound bigger. Though there is a steep cliff of diminishing returns if you go too far.

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by drumsound » Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:11 pm

A cool thing I used to do and should again it to set up a LOW PASS but put the frequency down where you're talking about. Then start creeping it up to where you start hearing "good stuff" then back it down a bit, and then flip it to a HIGH PASS.

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:39 pm

It depends.

Is the rhodes (or whatever) the main instrument in a sparse mix or a supporting character in a busy one?

Roll it up until you can hear it, then back off a bit is good general advice.

I almost never use anything steeper than 12db/octave, YMMV.

Sometimes kick and bass are what actually need hipassing the most.

One thing I noticed recently was some bonkers sub on softsynths....I had a few tracks I made with synths in Reason and there was a ton of<20hz junk on all of them, even when I was playing all upper midrange stuff. The overall mix cleared up noticeably when I got rid of all of it.

Don't use high pass filters exclusively to fix low end boom, you'll have to have it way too high. Use the high pass below 30 and use a shelf/bell/dynamic eq/some combo of all three up above that.

Not high pass, but low end related...on a few tracks recently I felt like I got the bass to sit a lot better by shelving it down ~3db at 200 and turning the track up. Seemed weird to be turning down the bass on the bass, but...
Last edited by MoreSpaceEcho on Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by standup » Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:22 pm

Sometimes I hi-pass AND lo-pass electric guitars, trying to have it live in just the range it needs.

And then I play it back the next day and sometimes it sounds like a jar full of insects. Oops.

Hi-passing kick is something I started experimenting with in the last few years, after doing a recording workshop with Larry Crane. Learned a lot. But HPF on kick was eye opening. Huh. Huh?

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by losthighway » Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:59 pm

standup wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:22 pm
Hi-passing kick is something I started experimenting with in the last few years, after doing a recording workshop with Larry Crane. Learned a lot. But HPF on kick was eye opening. Huh. Huh?
I sometimes cut up to 30-40hz (with a gentle roll-off) on a kick or even bass guitar that seems really unwieldy. Especially on the kick, you don't need much down there other than the fundamental which seems like it's anywhere between 30 and 100 depending on the drum and how it's tuned, if memory serves.

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by drumsound » Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:23 pm

standup wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:22 pm
Sometimes I hi-pass AND lo-pass electric guitars, trying to have it live in just the range it needs.

And then I play it back the next day and sometimes it sounds like a jar full of insects. Oops.

Hi-passing kick is something I started experimenting with in the last few years, after doing a recording workshop with Larry Crane. Learned a lot. But HPF on kick was eye opening. Huh. Huh?
BX Cleansweep on guitars can be great for getting a little hi end control and low filtering.

I have the Grays Ro Sham Bo (Jon Brion and Jason Faulkner) that JJP did. I feel like a big part of the mix of that record is somewhat sever hi and low pass filters on EVERY track. I feels like everything is just the essential part of the midrange of each track. It both sounds goofy and works perfectly.

(you can also really hear the mix-bus compressor on that record)

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by markjazzbassist » Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:41 am

awesome advice everyone, thank you!

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by Scodiddly » Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:53 am

Don't confuse low register on an instrument with actual low frequencies.

For instance with a bass guitar you're mostly hearing the first octave harmonic instead of the theoretical fundamental frequency.

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by Recycled_Brains » Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:35 am

HPF's are certainly useful, but approaching their implementation with any sort of rules pertaining to which frequency ranges get cut on which instruments is a mistake in my opinion. Every song, instrument, amp, drum, etc. is different and should be treated according to what the mix calls for.

To piggy back on Scoddidly's post, it's important to consider what constitutes useful low end vs. how deep an instrument goes on paper. Your ears matter more in making these decisions than physics.

HPF's with a resonant bump at the corner frequency are super useful on things like bass and bass drum. It affords the ability to cut a surprising amount of mud without losing impact in the bottom end.

Any time I've defaulted to using HPF's on nearly everything in the mix has proven to make mixes sound neutered from the cumulative effects. I end up going back and undoing that stuff a lot of the time.

In lieu of filtering, shelving down the lows is useful as is scanning with narrow bandwidth cuts on an EQ plugin to remove or minimize specific areas.

A HPF is mostly a problem solver, but it can be used creatively for sure.
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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by Phobos » Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:19 am

Does anybody high pass toms? 80 Hz? Maybe not the floor tom?

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Re: I need help High Passing

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:27 am

Naw. Never felt the need at all.

Lots of things don't really need a high pass at all, there's just not significant energy down there that needs cutting. HP filters are super useful and helpful, but like Recycled Brains was saying, indiscriminate use can result in a pretty neutered sounding mix.

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