sectioning off frequencies

I’ve been wondering how people organize their EQing in mixing. I thought it might be easier if i had the knowhow to section off which sounds belong in which frequency areas. Or areas on a scope. For example kicks or kicks with some sub bass. Hi hats: where to put them. And so on. The answer can often be “put them where you want them” which isn’t very helpful when i dont even know what my options are.

Most of the information i’m looking for is based around mixing drums since my music tends to be pretty rhythm-centric. But i could use some info on where to master all of the following. I understand there is no “right” way. But how to so many people make their parts stand out from eachother and avoid trampling over eachother and avoid creating a muddy mess?

I could use help figuring out where you put-
-The different parts of the drums
-Leading synths or instruments that may be focused on as a theme
-bass: how to get that subby feel or even how to get the lowz with out eliminating the brightness
-pads: typically pads to me come off as airy and in the background. How do i create that seperation?
-anything else you can think up

Errrr… i think that’s it.

In terms of volume and panning balance: My suggestion is to take a critical listen to your favorite tracks on your studio monitors. But keep in mind, “you will never get your drawer of socks and shorts, where everything is neatly folded and in its own special place.”

Some basic theories/concepts might be:

  1. If you look at a rock drum kit, this is kinda how they are panned… as if you are staring at the.

So you see, your kick panned center, and you snare is a little in your right monitor, and your hi hats a little further over… on the left you’ve got the tomes and the splash and so on…

  1. Bass and lead vocals both go center as well.

  2. Everything else in your track is panned to one side or the other.

but that is all, “basic, basic.” and panning of certain things is certainly open for debate, except bass and kick drum, and lead vocals… Reliably, for decades, these things have been center.

As far as eq goes… This is where you can shape your own sound, and make your productions all your own. Here are two ideas:

  1. Cut the lows from your cymbals and hats somewhere around 500 htz.

  2. Cut the highs from your bass somewhere around 500 htz.

I have found this summary quite useful as a guide, but obviously not to be taken as gospel in every mix situation: