The Secret to Space In Your Productions: Frequency Placement

And we’ve come to the end of the line – the final step to creating space in your recordings.

This week we’re discussing frequency placement.

And this might be the most important part of the entire discussion. Without carefully considering the placement of different frequencies in your production, you’re bound to make cluttered, closed-sounding mixes.

So let’s dive right into what “frequency placement” is all about.

We’ll begin with a metaphor.

Imagine a bedroom. Possibly your bedroom. There are plenty of options when it comes to arranging the furniture. You can put it all in the middle of the room, all in one corner, or around the walls.

The most common way to do it is to place the largest pieces on the walls – like your bed, a couch, or a dresser. The reason? It maximizes the amount of floor space in the middle of your room, which makes it seem like there is a ton of space in your room.

If you were to put everything in the middle of your room, you would feel like there is barely enough room to walk around. Same furniture, much less space. There would certainly be no room for activities!

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 11.46.14 AM

The same principles apply when we’re talking about space in recordings. But instead of furniture, we’re talking about frequencies. And instead of your room, we’re talking about the spectrum. 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

So how do you do this? By using EQ to carve out the frequencies that don’t belong there. For example, there usually isn’t a need to have 30 Hz or lower in your snare track. So carve it out and open up some space for the instruments that should be there. Two instruments shouldn’t be clashing in frequencies – each instrument should have it’s own space in the spectrum.

As you clear out more and more frequencies, you’ll start to hear your mix opening up. It will also be a lot easier to set your levels and hear all of the elements in your mix. This is why I like to do this step early on in the mixing process.

Pulling out too many frequencies isn’t good either, so be careful not to get too trigger-happy.

Have fun creating much more spacious mixes with this trick!

2 thoughts on “The Secret to Space In Your Productions: Frequency Placement”

  1. ” ….there usually isn’t a need to have 30 Hz or lower in your snare track. So carve it out and open up some space for the instruments that should be there.” – I don’t many instruments that need to be heard under 30Hz, at least not in the genre of music I mix in. Pretty much everything is cut off at 30Hz and below.

  2. Agreed. However, It’s always funny when we make comments like “filter the ultra low end from everything” there’s always one guy somewhere screaming “NO! *listen* to the music and decide if it needs to be cut! Which, while obvious, tweaks our presentation a bit. Unless you’re listening on a 5 foot pair of oceanway mains, odds are you’re not hearing *anything* at 30hz, but it’s *still* taking up energy and room in your mix. We say “cut it” unless you specifically need not to. 🙂

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *