Friday, March 27, 2009

How to get a Kick out of the Bass Drum using EQ

The bass drum, which many know as the kick drum, plays an important role in music. It stirs emotion in the audience, making them want to dance as it thumps through their bodies. This is of course, what it's supposed to do but if the kick drum is mixed incorrectly, it will leave the audience feeling pretty bored - no matter how good a song might actually be. Don't worry though, because that's why I wrote this post. To help you learn from my bad experiences...

Okay, so it's called the bass drum... So, if you're anything like the younger version of myself, you'll be thinking that the more bass the better, right? Well, I'm afraid not, but I won't just tell you, I'll show you. Below is a picture of the EQ settings for a kick drum. It is evident from the picture that only the bass frequencies (100 - 200 Hz) have been boosted.

EQ for a kick drum, where only the bass has been boosted.
EQ for a kick drum, where only the bass has been boosted. Click on Image for full size.

One would think this would make your kick drum more lively. Don't get me wrong, it does give it some thump, however, when added to the rest of the instruments, the bass gets lost and the beat with it. Below is a link to an .MP3 extract from a song where the above EQ has been used.

kick-with-only-bass.mp3 (588 KB)

Okay, you might be thinking that it didn't sound too bad, but if you play around with some of the higher frequencies (3000 - 5000 Hz) you will find what many call "the Click"...

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