EQ for Metal/Hardcore Recordings

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Soapbox Prophet, Aug 1, 2001.

  1. hey whats up everyone...
    first id like to thankanyone who replies to my posts....I'm glad that i have a place where if i have a question on something i can get a variety of answers and different avenues of solutions.

    onto the question...
    lately my band and i have been recording....we are using cool edit pro.......How can I set up my EQ to be heard. My guitarists are set up so they balance each other out (rhythm has lots of lows, and low mids, lead has high end and high mids)....how can i make sure I am heard through all of this? we use alot of distortion...thick crunchy peavey ultra distortion at that.
    I have a peavey mark IV 400BH from 1982....and I am playing through a hartke 410TP....how should I EQ all of this though? lots of mid and low mid? My bass is an ESP B-4 with active electronics in a PJ configuration.
    alright hope that info helps some....thanks a million!
    christopher murray
  2. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck Guest

    Sep 26, 2000
    In my humble opinion, you'll want to stay away from the "smiley" curve, with lots of lows and highs with no mids. Too many people neglect the low mid frequencies, which we'll call 150-500 hz. That's where I've found most of the cutting power to be. My suggestion is to play around with the mids, and find the tone you like. You may actually find that the sound you want will just come from turning up the overall signal, and cutting out the frequencies that seem to interfere with the other instruments. Again, this is just me, but when I cut, it's usually in the 800 - 1k hz area.

    Good luck!
  3. jrich

    jrich Guest

    Jul 10, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I've also found that boosting the low mids helps out. It adds the punch that is unique the the bass. I'd experiment with the same frequencies SuperDuck told you too. I like to give myself a boost around 250, but thats just me and I am very far from being an expert on this type of thing but I also play heavier music.

  4. First thing is to try and get your rhythm guitarist to move away from a scooped sound. You need so much volume to cut through, it really steals the limelight from the other instruments. Bring some mids back into the sound.

    If you pan the guitars effectively, you can pretty much set them up with a near identical sound and just boost the leads a little to make the recording sound a little more live.
  5. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    well hearing alot of great metal bass players.

    Rex Brown Pantera
    Jason Newstead Metallica


    You wanna put the bass and trebel all the way up on the amp.A little mids and depending on your bass look for a low bass high trebel sounds.Hard to explain properly. Try to reach me on ICQ and I can explain it better if you want or e-mail me
  6. phunky345

    phunky345 Guest

    Jun 20, 2000
    Missoula, MT
    In my opinion, a good idea would be to have the rythm guitarist cut some of his lows and let you handle most of the low frequencies. This would also make the sound of the recordings less muddy. I've also found that lots of high mids (listen to Tool, though they're not hardcore) can get the bass heard, along with lots of 50hz-300hz. Anything over 3500hz won't matter a whole lot, since your guitarists use so much distortion.
  7. farboozle


    Apr 18, 2000
    Fairfax VA
    If you're interested in learning about EQ (and much much more) here's a pretty cool website I ran across when I started trying to learn to do better home recording. This is the eq article, theres also one on just recording bass, step-by-step review of recording several songs. A lot of useful info. Lost a lot of productivity when I found this site.

  8. xCOFFMANx

    xCOFFMANx Guest

    Jun 10, 2008
    I am actually looking for the same thing for the EQ on my SVT-2PRO anyone have any new suggestions?
  9. ElliotBass

    ElliotBass Guest

    Oct 27, 2006
    London, England
    i havnt read this whole thread, but i always found that having lots of mids especially low mids just end up turning the bass into a kind of inaudible noise, no clarity, if you get what i mean, i would suggest boosting the low end, but not to low so that its boomy, but give it some treble too so you cut through,

    yeah do what superduck said and play around too, what i like may be completely wrong for what you want
  10. origami

    origami Guest

    Jun 26, 2005
    Big D TEXAS

    rip rowan (who did a lion's share of engineering on my band's EP and to be released LP) has several articles on that site.

    i agree, with heavy guitars, it is all in finding the right frequencies, and punch through there. don't be "in justice for all-ed" in the mix.

    as stated. see if the guitars can minimize their low end, and let the bass do the work in those frequencies. if the guitars can be made a bit 'honkier' to tape, that works best when it is time to mix. if the guitars are too scooped out or bass heavy, they will become fizzy when they go from clean to distortion and create sludge in the mix.

    there are 2 parts of bass to consider. the 'hear' bass and the 'feel' bass. proper balance when mixed (not soloed) is the key.

    as stated by others, mids are your friend they add punch and warmth. don't go too low you fight with the kick, or too high you run into more guitars. adding a little bit of clank makes the attack stick out in the mix. people would be really surprised to hear bass tracks soloed on recording. they are much brighter and usually a bit distorted.

    another thing to consider is where the high end of the 'beater' sound of the kick is, sometimes if that sound is at a certain volume, the kick made not need to be as loud and the bass can fill in some of the kick drum's sub bass territory.

    pantera is a great example of some of the right things to do mix-wise in a heavy band. dime's guitar tone with lots of highs leaves ample room for rex to fill up the low end, and the higher attack vinny's kick lets the bass not fight as much with the kick drum.
  11. Nick Kay

    Nick Kay Guest

    Jul 26, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    Don't let the guitarists eat up the low end. That's for you, the kick and the floor tom. That's number one.

    What you'll find, after some experimenting, is that a guitar track that sounds crunchy and powerful in the mix will be thin and honky when solo'd. A big, thick, cutting bass sound will have a lot more mid content than you would expect, along with some dirt and compression.

    This apparent thin, honky sound in solo tracks comes from everything getting layered on top of eachother. I don't know if there's any scientific terms for it, but thud, mud and bloated sounds pile up a lot faster than crunch and sizzle. You want every track to rely on its neighbours to sound great, so when you pile them all up, you can't afford to have one being huge and bloated - it'll take up all the space in the mix and leave none for anybody else.

    Especially in metal and hXc, the bass has a lot of high mids so that it's intelligible and kinda clanky when playing a unison riff with the guitars, but otherwise it's holding those guitars up with a big, solid fundamental. You might think that's bass frequencies filling in that big booty. It's not. It's low mids. That's where the thunder comes from. Don't you dare scoop out those mids. Scooping is what leads to fizzy, muddy guitars and inaudible bass.

    Additionally, you're going to want to EQ around the kick drum. If your drummer is a big fan of the clickity-clack kick drum, he's going to have a lot up top (clicky high mids, from 2-4k) and a lot down low (sub and low bass, anywhere from 30hz to about 60hz or so). You're going to ride right in the middle - cut out some of the fundamentals down below 80hz and pump that midbass and low mid section up. That's where your bass is going to get heard, but your kick drum will cover a lot of the "thunder down under" feel, so you've got to be tight with it.

    Don't pile on loads of distortion - it's just going to get eaten up when the guitarists layer four rhythm tracks of "Mesa Rectifier on 11" and you're going to be wondering why you only get one bass track. A little bit is good for smoothing out your attack and breaking through when the guitars calm down or go clean, but you need to have a big clear bottom to hold those guitars up.

    Tweeters are not useful in a metal context, unless it's progressive and you slap all the time. Turn it off or just mic the regular speakers, pointing the mic AWAY from the tweeter. Let the drummer have his cymbal wash.

    Lastly, DON'T SCOOP YOUR DAMN MIDS. I know I said it already, but it's important! A bass needs to sound like cardboard to cut through a metal mix. It needs to be boxy to be heard. If you're satisfied with being that dull thud and rumble beneath everything else, go ahead and scoop. But you've been warned.
  12. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    Nice to see someone else using cool edit pro, although i've moved on to sonar, i still use it often for certain things. A couple other things to consider are, panning the guitars left hand right. They can keep the same or similar eq, as long as they are panned between 60-100 percent. That gives the bass a lot more frequencies and otherwise, space to use without becoming intrusive.
  13. DeathDancer


    Oct 10, 2005
    Fairfax, VA
    Mids given the situation you mentioned. I'd still have the guitarist take some of the low end out of his sound. I'm in the minority about low-mids, I think they work for slower and more 'open' music. I especially dislike 250Hz, just muddies things up IMO. Be careful of the ESP's bass control too, many of the lower end EMG's (HZs) have the bass freq at 250Hz (least the two ESP's I had both did). I had that same amp too, you can drive it and the sound will 'break up' which gives it a nice edge. You may also be able to change the high freq with the switches for the EMGs to and make the treble knob more of an upper mid control if you have the old stock two band HZ preamp.

    edit: also, a trick I use is to double the bass track and have them panned just offset of center, it helps separate you from the kick a bit.
  14. it would depend on A LOT of other factors, i dont know about them but you do so start from an anti-smiley face which is the sad faced eq lol and work your way around
  15. Jeffrey A-Bomb

    Jeffrey A-Bomb Drink Coffee & Destroy

    Oct 14, 2000
    Silver Spring, MD
    High mids and tube drive :bassist:
  16. tomas_almeida

    tomas_almeida Guest

    Oct 5, 2007

    I pretty much agree with what Nick Kay said.
  17. origami

    origami Guest

    Jun 26, 2005
    Big D TEXAS
    ..or just don't tell the guitarist when mix day is :)
  18. jenderfazz

    jenderfazz Guest

    Apr 17, 2003
    montreal, qc, Canada
    In my experience, I go for an elongated "M" EQ. If you've got a graphic EQ, try it out.

    Cut the lows a tad, boost low mids, cut mid mids, boost high mids, and cut treble.

    Always keep your boosts/cuts subtle, but mids are the key to being heard/felt. However, in my case I cut the middle mids a little bit in order to give my bass more of a scooped tone/less honkiness, but boosting low mids and high mids in order to have body and grind. I'd say try that out if you're looking to play a more supportive role without being buried in the mix. Otherwise there's a ton of good info in this thread.
  19. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    It all depends on the tone you're trying to achieve... I find the best method is to fiddle till I'm happy and it sounds right in the mix. Of course, a knowledge of EQ, compression and various other effects is required to get the best results.

    I've been complimented on my bass tone quite often (both on stage and recorded). It's achieved through a combination of amp EQ, bass EQ, compression and pedals. And of course my lovely 8x10 :) Then when I'm recording, there's double micing and additional tweaking done in the mix itself...

    I'm not going to repeat the technical mumbo jumbo that everyone else has already said, but just bear in mind that to get your bass heard, you don't just need to boost the /bass/ frequencies, the entire EQ range is useful in getting a nice, audible tone.

    Mixing is hard (and surpisingly tiring) work, but rewarding in the long run. And don't even get me started on mastering...
  20. User364378

    User364378 Guest

    Jan 22, 2009
    with what button can i change my hz? i got 3 buttons in the EQ panel on my roland cube 30 bass, middle, treble and bass, plz help me