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How To Make Your Songs Sound Better In 3 Easy Steps: Part 3


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blog-0049394001373343673.jpg3 Easy Steps to Better Sound - Part 3 - High Frequencies - Control Your High end, - give some sparkle and air

This is the third part of three steps to improve your demo recordings. If you have not read the other two, no worries. You can find them here.

The Three Steps: click on a link to view that document.

  1. Part 1: The Low Pass Filter - Less low noise, -this will clean up your sound and make all the parts sound out clearly
  2. Part 2: Sweep - Find the bad sounds and cut those frequencies from your song
  3. Part 3: High Frequencies - Control Your High end, - give some sparkle and air

There is a lot to know about mixing and being a sound engineer. I am not a sound engineer, nor I am a professional with years of work in the studio. Those professionals are part of what you pay for in the studio work. They are well worth it.

The High Shelf Filter

What we've done so far

We've gone through the steps to control the low end. We then found the bad frequencies and brought those sounds under control. We now want to give back a bit of the high end. A little bit of sparkle and air is how I hear it. It will be different for each ear. Listen carefully to what you hear without it and then with the filter in place.

The high shelf filter looks like the screen below. What we are going to do is to boost the signal about +6 db and then move it to the left to increase the range. As we do this we listen to the difference in the sound. When you find what you like stop and roll it back a bit to the right

High%20Pass%20Filter%2000.jpg

I will do this with a clean EQ, in other words there is no other settings being used for the moment. Why do it this way?

I do this so that I can get a feel for how much high end I want to boost. You may have heard that you don't boost you cut. Yes that is true. For the most part you really don't want to boost your signal. However, you can do so, and by the way, the pro's do it all the time. Just keep in mind that those pros are boosting very good recordings. If your recordings are on the thin side you should boost in very small amounts. Somewhere between +1db and +3 db. The numbers that I call out and the screens I show are only rough ideas. Your final settings will depend on what your ears say it the right amount.

Stage 2

Now that you have an idea of what your high pass filter will add to your sound its time to use it with the tweaks we have used from parts 1 and 2. The screen below has the low pass filter done. The notches are in that cut out the unwanted frequencies. All we have left to do is to add in our high pass filter.

High%20Pass%20Filter%2001.jpg

Place your High Shelf filter around 10 k Hz to start. Again your final setting will depend on what you hear as you adjust it's place to the left and right in the frequencies. How much you boost will also depend on what you hear and what you like.

High%20Pass%20Filter%2002.jpg

My starting place screen below.

High%20Pass%20Filter%2003.jpg

And where I ended up placing it for this song.

High%20Pass%20Filter%2004.jpg

I had it a bit more to the left and then I made the effect less by going a bit to the right. That's it. you are done.

You can play with this and all the other EQ tricks that I talked about in these three documents. The main idea that I hope you get is to have a basic starting point and then play around. Your ears will be the only real guide for this task. Stay fresh, don't work too long, and enjoy your self.

With The High Shelf Disabled, all the other tweaks are on.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/62908045/Mix%20screens/Hifgh%20Shelf%20Disabled.mp3

And now I've enabled the High Shelf Filter

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/62908045/Mix%20screens/Hifgh%20Shelf%20Enabled.mp3

You can find the full version of this song on my soundcloud

Closing Words

I wrote these easy steps with the idea that it could help those of you who create great music but found your final product not sounding as good as it could. These documents are just a small beginning of what might happen in a studio. I wanted to keep it very simple and clear. I hope that it will help you all feel that it's not so hard and that you can control your EQ just a bit better.

If you have any questions or comments do post them. Send me a pm or two. I'd love to hear from you.

James

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Haven't had any time yet to do even step one but it's great to know where to go and fiddle around. Much appreciated.

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I've been waiting to read this, just back from a short trip! Looks and sounds great, yet more remixing for me to do on my recent songs I think!

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