Production Tips

I found this in a text file on my hard drive, thought i’d share, mostly snippets from DOA. Maybe someone could clean it up and make an In:Depth article?


20 Hz and below - impossible to detect, remove as it only adds unnecessary energy to the total sound, thereby most probably holding down the overall volume of the track
60 Hz and below - sub bass (feel only)
80(-100) Hz - feel AND hear bass
100-120 Hz - the “club sound system punch” resides here
200 Hz and below - bottom
250 Hz - notch filter here can add thump to a kick drum
150-400 Hz - boxiness
200 Hz-1.5 KHz - punch, fatness, impact
800 Hz-4 KHz - edge, clarity, harshness, defines timbre
4500 Hz - exteremly tiring to the ears, add a slight notch here
5-7 KHz - de-essing is done here
4-9 KHz - brightness, presence, definition, sibilance, high frequency distortion
6-15 KHz - air and presence
9-15 KHz - adding will give sparkle, shimmer, bring out details - cutting will smooth out harshness and darken the mix

60Hz with a Q of 1.4 – Add fullness to kicks.
100Hz with a Q of 1.0 – Add fullness to snare
200Hz - 250Hz with a Q of 1.4 – Adds wood to snares
3Khz with a Q of 1.4 – Adds atack to snare.
5Khz with a Q of 2.8 – Adds attack to Kicks
7Khz with a Q of 2.8 – Adds Sharpness to snares and percussion
10Khz with a Q of 1.0 – Adds brightness to hats and cymbals

Courtesy of pollen (from the snare nerd thread):fatness at 120-240Hz
boing at 400Hz
crispness at 5kHz
snap at 10kHz

Voice: presence (5 kHz), sibilance (7.5 - 10 kHz), boominess (200 - 240 kHz), fullness (120 Hz)
Electric Guitar: fullness (240 Hz), bite (2.5 kHz), air / sizzle (8 kHz)
Bass Guitar: bottom (60 - 80 Hz), attack (700 - 1000 Hz), string noise (2.5 kHz)
Snare Drum: fatness (240 Hz), crispness (5 kHz)
Kick Drum: bottom (60 - 80 Hz), slap (4 kHz)
Hi Hat & Cymbals: sizzle (7.5 - 10 kHz), clank (200 Hz)
Toms: attack (5 kHz), fullness (120 - 240 Hz)
Acoustic Guitar: harshness / bite (2 kHz), boominess (120 - 200 Hz), cut (7 - 10 kHz)

Cut below 80Hz to remove rumble
Boost between 80 -125 Hz for bass
Boost between 3 - 5kHz to get the slap
PROCESSING> Compression 4:1/6:1 slow attack med release.
Reverb: Tight room reverb (0.1-0.2ms)

EQ> Boost above 2kHz for that crisp edge
Cut at 1kHz to get rid of the sharp peak
Boost at 125Hz for a full snare sound
Cut at 80Hz to remove rumble
PROCESSING> Compression 4:1 slow attack med release.
Reverb: Tight room reverb (0.1-0.2ms)

EQ> Boost above 5kHz for sharp sparkle
Cut at 1kHz to remove jangling
PROCESSING> Compression use high ratio for high energy feel
Reverb: Looser than Bass n Snare allow the hats and especially the Rides to ring a little

Compressed, EQ’d with a full bottom end and some mids
Boost: To thicken up bass drums and sub-bass parts.
Cut: Below this frequency on all vocal tracks. This should reduce the effect of any microphone ‘pops’.

Boost: For bass lines and bass drums.
Cut: For vocals.
General: Be wary of boosting the bass of too many tracks. Low frequency sounds are particularly vulnerable to phase cancellation between sounds of similar frequency. This can result in a net 'cut of the bass frequencies.

Boost: To add warmth to vocals or to thicken a guitar sound.
Cut: To bring more clarity to vocals or to thin cymbals and higher frequency percussion.
Boost or Cut: to control the ‘woody’ sound of a snare.

Boost: To add warmth to toms.
Boost or Cut: To control bass clarity, or to thicken or thin guitar sounds.
General: In can be worthwhile applying cut to some of the instruments in the mix to bring more clarity to the bass within the overall mix.

Boost: To thicken vocal tracks. At 1 KHz apply boost to add a knock to a bass drum.

Boost: To make a piano more aggressive. Applying boost between 1KHz and 5KHz will also make guitars and basslines more cutting.
Cut: Apply cut between 2 KHz and 3KHz to smooth a harsh sounding vocal part.
General: This frequency range is often used to make instruments stand out in a mix.

Boost: For a more ‘plucked’ sounding bass part. Apply boost at around 6KHz to add some definition to vocal parts and distorted guitars.
Cut: Apply cut at about 3KHz to remove the hard edge of piercing vocals. Apply cut between 5KHZ and 6KHz to dull down some parts in a mix.

Boost: To sweeten vocals. The higher the frequency you boost the more ‘airy/breathy’ the result will be. Also boost to add definition to the sound of acoustic guitars or to add edge to synth sounds or strings or to enhance the sound of a variety of percussion sounds. For example boost this range to:

Bring out cymbals.
Add ring to a snare.
Add edge to a bass drum.

Boost: To make vocals more ‘airy’ or for crisp cymbals and percussion. Also boost this frequency to add sparkle to pads, but only if the frequency is present in the original sound, otherwise you will just be adding hiss to the recording.

Specific Instruments


Roll off below 60Hz using a High Pass Filter. This range is unlikely to contain anything useful, so you may as well reduce the noise the track contributes to the mix.

Treat Harsh Vocals:
To soften vocals apply cut in a narrow bandwidth somewhere in the 2.5KHz to 4KHz range.

Get An Open Sound:
Apply a gentle boost above 6KHz using a shelving filter.

Get Brightness, Not Harshness:
Apply a gentle boost using a wide-band Bandpass Filter above 6KHz. Use the Sweep control to sweep the frequencies to get it right.

Get Smoothness:
Apply some cut in a narrow band in the 1KHz to 2KHz range.

Bring Out The Bass:
Apply some boost in a reasonably narrow band somewhere in the 200Hz to 600Hz range.

Radio Vocal Effect:
Apply some cut at the High Frequencies, lots of boost about 1.5KHz and lots of cut below 700Hz.

Telephone Effect:
Apply lots of compression pre EQ, and a little analogue distortion by turning up the input gain. Apply some cut at the High Frequencies, lots of boost about 1.5KHz and lots of cut below 700Hz.


Get Definition:
Roll off everything below 600Hz using a High Pass Filter.

Get Sizzle:
Apply boost at 10KHz using a Band Pass Filter. Adjust the bandwidth to get the sound right.

Treat Clangy Hats:
Apply some cut between 1KHz and 4KHz.

Bass Drum

Apply a little cut at 300Hz and some boost between 40Hz and 80Hz.

Control The Attack:
Apply boost or cut around 4KHz to 6KHz.

Treat Muddiness:
Apply cut somewhere in the 100Hz to 500Hz range.


Treat Unclear Vocals:
Apply some cut to the guitar between 1KHz and 5KHz to bring the vocals to the front of the mix.

Apply a little boost between 100Hz and 250Hz and again between 10KHz and 12KHz.

Acoustic Guitar

Add Sparkle:
Try some gentle boost at 10KHz using a Band Pass Filter with a medium bandwidth.

Try applying some mid-range cut to the rhythm section to make vocals and other instruments more clearly heard.

kick>> bottom depth at 60 - 80 Hz, slap attack at 2.5Hz

snare>> fatness at 240HZ, crispness at 5 KHz

hi hats/cymbals>> clank or gong sound at 200 Hz, shimmer at 7.5 kHz - 12 kHz

rack toms>> fullness at 240 Hz, attack at 5 kHz

floor toms>> fullness at 80 - 120 Hz, attack at 5 kHz

horns>> fullness at 120 - 240 Hz, shrill at 5 - 7.5 kHz

strings>> fullness at 240 Hz, scratchiness at 7.5 - 10 kHz

conga/bongo>> resonance at 200 - 240 Hz, slap at 5 kHz

vocals>> fullness at 120 Hz, boominess at 200 - 240 Hz, presence at 5 kHz, sibilance at 7.5 - 10 kHz


Found this one somewhere:

A bit more detail about NY compression technique for drums. Buss the drums to a pair of stereo busses. On one, do nothing, on the other, put a good (the key word being good) compressor, and compress the hell out of the mix, using a medium attack and a fast release. The desired result requires some finesse in setting the attack and release right. The attack should not be so short that it destroys the attack, but not so long that you hear it. The release needs to be long enough to emphasize the dynamic squeeze to give the kit punch, but not so long as to be noticable either. A LP filter around 100hz and a HP filter around 6-8Khz before the compressor is very helpful. Experiement with ratios, but generally a higher ratio works best IMHO. Also, if there’s a lot of cymbals, don’t buss the overheads (or other cymbal tracks if there are any) to the squashed track. Hit the comp hard, 8-10db of reduction. Now, blend the two busses.

Thanks for sharing :)

Another thing that’s often overlooked is monophonic or stereo-reduced bass frequencies. I use a plugin called monofilter to achieve this, here is the description from the NuGen website:

Also, this other topic comes to mind : Prepare Your Track For Vinyl Production

Great thread! Thanks conner. :lol:

or set this great layout as your desktop wallpaper:

Handy resource Conner. But I also advocate years of practice and listening development. Not to mention accurate monitoring.

Also, sometime reductive tweaks can be so predictable you can set your watch to them, and other times individual sounds have their own peculiar harmonic spacing that requires delicate surgery. Me thinks now that the EQ10 has adjustable Hz and Q we’re going to see many more Renoise users become confident with addressing tonal issues.

PS: If I get a moment over the next while I’ll dress this up a bit for InDepth.

PPS: Foo?'s mastering EQ, before exciters and limiters: -12dB roll off between 27hz to 36hz depending on the song; and a -6dB shelf from 14.3khz. Don’t ‘add’ using an EQ in mastering, it usually sounds ugly.

I understand the first post, but how do you do it? Do you use parametric EQ over the whole mix? Or just over the separate sounds? And do you use serveral eq’s on one sound to get this done?

Let’s take the bassdrum for a concept, how do I work this out?

[b]Bass Drum

Apply a little cut at 300Hz and some boost between 40Hz and 80Hz.

Control The Attack:
Apply boost or cut around 4KHz to 6KHz.

Treat Muddiness:
Apply cut somewhere in the 100Hz to 500Hz range.[/b]

it’s your 1st 2nd assumption: you apply a parametric EQ on the bassdrum track at the suggested frequencies in peak/bandpass/bell mode with a “Q” (bandwidth) and GAIN level of your choice, wheras “boost” means a positive GAIN and “cut” a negative.

So it’s my second assumption, not on the whole mix of the track (the summing) but on the seperate tracks.

An eq on the bassdrum
An eq on the snare

SPDK, good thing i am doing well at maths.
your 2nd guess ofc, sure.

Then were talking about the same guess, I guess.

I am a total noob to making music and I didn’t know frequencies were so important and should be used a certain way. Stuff like this should be stickied. Like setting a standard or basic rules in making music.

I need to know the Dos and Donts.

Don’t make crap music!!!

I’ve read a lot of Connor’s post in a few different websites… it’s a handy little checklist, but the thing to remember is that not all of us make straightforward rock, pop, or electronic, most of us dabble in some combination. You still must be willing to experiment and understand what works well to create a character that makes a sound “yours” and makes a sound work in your particular moment.

Yes, frequencies are important, but you can learn to manage those frequencies without using a single EQ, filter, or compressor, and unconsciously, you should. The EQs and compressors are for when stuff doesn’t sound right together.