Shelving vs Passing

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by DonnyThompson, Jul 21, 2015.


Which form of EQ do you commonly use more of ... HPF/LPF or Hi-Shelf/Low-Shelf

  1. HPF/LPF

  2. Hi-Shelving/ Low- Shelving

  3. None of the above, I'm a ruler-flat EQ kinda cooker

  4. I'm not sure...what's this "EQ" you speak of ?

    0 vote(s)
  5. other

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I understand that it relies heavily on what you are working on at the time, be it on the track level, sub group level or master bus level...

    But, do you find yourself generally using more of one than the other in terms of "average" daily mixing?

    What say you?

  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    I think if I had to say where, maybe filters on the channel and possibly shelving on groups. Its very subjective. I use what works for that mix. Same goes for M/S processing and mastering. Could be one or the other. I had this discussion with others and some think HPF is too savage and can effect the harmonics. I tend to agree but still use what seems to sound better. Low end rumble, always hpf. Sometimes its just better to completely get rid of something all together and live with it.

    To add, Filters on some EQ's are terrible.
    example :The stock EQ HPF for Samplitude distorts below 80 hz. There is a code problem that they need to fix for 2 years now. I've complained, its been noted but still unresolved. Instead they switched it for the 116. I'm astonished that no one heard this but me. Its not subtle either, its horrendous.
    The new EQ116 is much awesome but its a terrible EQ for the strip imo. Too bloated. I like simple and transparent for the strip.

    I can only imagine what the freeware crap is doing.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I tend to use the 116 EQ exclusively on tracks, and often the Eisosis Air-Q ( using shelving ) on groups... but not because I've heard any distortion on the the stock channel EQ for Samplitude Pro X. I'm not doubting what you say to be true, I'm saying I've never encountered it personally.

    As mentioned, it all depends on the track(s) but much of the time - not always but for the most part - I generally reach for a HPF as opposed to shelving... but I mostly use shelving on the upper end as opposed to LPF; preferring a more gentle and less abrupt roll off on the higher frequencies.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Its documented and has been slated to be fixed for 2 years. ;) it could be only on Sequoia.
    I would suspect its on Sam as well. They are the same engine and plugs

    It has the sound of an open gate that adds a hiss. Load a good bass file in (that actually has sub info in it) , activate the HPF at 80 hz and you will start hearing a hiss every time a note is played. As you lower the filter, the hiss gets louder. It renders the plug-in useless for anything needing low freq hpf.
    It's easy to miss as it can sound like it's noise from gear or in a mix.
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    This describes pretty well what I often do. But of course there are lots of exceptions.

    On electric guitars I've been using LPFs deliberately steep to get that boost at the roll off frequency. Carefully set up it gets you a "treble" boost that also cuts the amp fizz.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I don't concider myself a recordist so obviously my opinion is bias to mixing and fixing but this may be interesting just the same.

    I've experienced this first hand.
    To my tests filters in general always make something sound smaller and possibly more congested if not down right weak sounding, especially if you hpf a lot of tracks as a rule.
    I'm not saying I don't use them but they can dictate side effects (habit forming) that are hard to see it coming. The only way to resolve this for me is to start a mix over and avoid them if possible. I hear a lot of music that sounds like people use them way too much. Bass is hard to control, filters tend to be the easiest way to get around it but they are savage.

    I'll try to explain.

    I've noticed if I do the standard hpf (ITB) I will usually, unwillingly mix an entire mix smaller because I started out with a smaller than I should have bandwidth. And so it goes, one thing leads the other.
    I would much rather hear something tracked as natural as possible which would allow / avoid as much ITB EQ , especially filters. but at the same time, I do use them, I just feel they are savage.

    I've done comparison mixes where I used filters opposed to shelving. Shelving EQ is always bigger and more modern sounding to me. If I have a rumble, I will first try to pin it out, opposed to cutting the whole thing off.

    Anyone else find this?
    JayTerrance and kmetal like this.
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Live I use agressive pass filters, in the studio it's more shelving in general, and pass fitlering the very low and very high frequencies of the intsrument or voice, if I need the space.

    I haven't found a pluggin based pass filter beside the built in one on the waves ssl strip pluggin, that don't have a thinning or phasing type artifact, the 'linear phase' eqs from waves, and t-racks being some of the worst offenders I've used.. I think this is because of current pcm based recording format not being able to 'fill in' or 'create' what isn't there, such as noises from tape or analog what have you, does. Lol I need a little more than a 60hz/hiss switch, which somehow is marketable and still left in plug-insa few years after that started.
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    hi /lo pass and shelving or peak /dip eq are two different tools. use them both according to what the need is. it's not either or, but which one to use (a different topic).
  9. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Any conventions at all for the two type over the years? you magic kick freq is 220? Or was it in the 3s? Lol

    Sorry Kurt I think I quoted you while you were editing that's why there's a mis quote.
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    the "Foster bump" lol (thanks Donny) .... 220 a very narrow peak on the bass and a reciprocating notch on the kick make the bass come through on small speakers .... and i like to add a fat boost @ 80 to the kick as well as a tick boost @ 4 or 5 k. on NS10's, that makes the kick sound like someone hitting a side of beef with their fist. i don't usually use HP's unless it's to solve a problem like foot stomps, rumble or wind blasts and i almost never do a LP because i like high end. and that's probably why i lean to parametric EQ's over others. if i was working on an older Neve for instance, i might go to the HP /LP's to get a sound i want. more than one way to skin a cat.
    kmetal likes this.
  11. JayTerrance

    JayTerrance Active Member

  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    This has turned out to be a good - and interesting - thread. I'm learning things from others here whom I respect, that will likely help me to improve upon some things.

    I'm guess that I'm one of those old dogs who can learn new tricks, and who also welcomes those opportunities to do so.

    Woof. :)

    Thanks for your input, guys. ;)
    kmetal likes this.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Since you said that! I find it interesting that both you and Boulder use them. Something I noticed right away on both your work (I hope this isn't perceived as insult). Both your work is excellent! But both of you have the footprint of reduced bandwidth which sounds like savage hpf use to me. I noticed it right away but thought it could be your choice of gear too. I bet its that now.
    Hope that really helps!
  14. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    It's not like I use HPF on everything, usually just one or two tracks if I hear a problem. I don't just slap HPF on every track other than kick and bass (though I might do that mixing a live band). If you're hearing a sonic signature I'm betting it's the modest gear and/or the imperfect control room acoustics. How many mixes of mine have you heard? I've only posted two mixes of one song here.
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    It would be just on what I've heard which could be complely inaccurate. I thought it may be an interesting correlation, and hopfully helpful. Your mix and abilties are excellent.

    Generally speaking through my own experience as well, people migrate to a sound they are comfortable with including, which includes a sonic signature they usually cannot expand if its not already there to begin with.

    I don't hear a big modern sound in either of your guys mixes which hpf can create without knowing. It could also be gear and/or what you like. I love what you guys do, dont get me wrong!!!

    We tend to get used to our room, choose monitors and mix thinking our mixes are actually different that they are translating or for that matter, being perceived by other generations.

    As an example, someone that comes from the 60's would most likely never even go below 100 hz for impact.
    They simply dont think with those freq in mind.
    If you want to get that 60's sound you dont nessesarrily need tape, just roll the hell out if your tracks, add some noise and it will sound close enough.

    Emulating the past generations is an interesting topic. It has a lot to do with bandwidth.
  16. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    No, I don't mind some perspective. I've already decided that I mix like 70s and 80s FM rock radio to a significant degree so I may be predisposed to the sound of 15kHz low pass filtering.
    audiokid likes this.
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    what is "the modern sound"? i really don't like the phrase "modern sound".

    did sound (the physics and the properties of audio) change somewhere along the way when i wasn't looking (listening)?

    my take is the term "the modern sound" is an excuse for recordings being made these days not sounding like (i/e as good as) recordings made in the 80's and before "I meant to do that"'s not like modern equipment designs are significantly improved. we reached the peak of tech in the 60's and 70's. everything from then on is clones and replications or attempts to achieve results as good as previous designs.

    somewhere some people decided that smoking crack was a good idea .... but it wasn't. i'm not suggesting we all go back to those times, that's not feasible. but let's at least call a duck a duck.
    seriousfun likes this.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Excellent, then keep up the great work!
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm surprised you read that as so negative and not see it as completely accurate but i understand your dislike for today's sound and music. I miss a lot of what I grew up with but I'm not blind to the sonic signatures that come along with technology. The past sounds like the gear we used which is no longer "modern".

    Modern vs dated / vintage... is very obvious to me, as easy as it is to pin an old movie vs one made this year. I hear music no different. Modern is also in the eyes of the beholder. To you and me, a decade is still current . To my kids, 2 years ago is dated. Not modern to them at all.
    We could have an interesting discussion some time pining down and discussing the signature sounds of past styles or generations. Discussions on emulating the sounds a style.

    To drop a few of my own identifiable pop signatures.
    • The 60's were really musical but washed together, dull monoish sounding, weak drums, full of harmonies. Sounded like everything was cut off from 100hz to 12k
    • The 70's were a pretty even sounding with keys, mono synths B3 organs, Rhode, guitars, bass but in general, a pretty dull but exciting sound to me. Lots of grit and attitude. I loved the 70's. The 70's kick was pretty much buried. Sounded like everything was cut off from 100hz to 13k lol.
    • The 80's were a lot or reverb, guitar and that 4k up front kick "tick". tone of guitar, drum machines and what I would call the greatest sonic years of tape and analog. Awesome sequencing. Sounded like everything was cut off from 80 hz to 16k
    • 90's reminded me of the 70's but improved sound and the beginning of digital distortion, the last decade of guitar music.
    • 2000, the beginning of the most horrible sounding music is history. Loud mixes, dominant vocals, auto correction insanity, very little guitar, big kick and boomy bass, programmed loops. vinyl emulation tones. Excessive editing and overdub. Very unconnected music.
    • 2010, really broad sounding mixes. 20 to 20k . Great bass and drums, keys and loops, dryer than the 80's in a good way. Dance inspired. Vocal dominant solo artists. Less hihats and cymbals, little guitar, little if any solo's. Loud Programmed. Better separation.
    I have hope for what's coming. I think we are in for a surprise of great sounding music which will be identifiable again..
    Modern music sounds big and open to me. Bass is a big part of this generation, as it has always been.
    The question, it wasn't possible to capture bass like we can today. Years going back, all we have to do is use hpf to get that tape sound which is a dated sound never the less.

    Modern music has full sounding low freq kicks and bass. I love the sound of what we can get today. Its getting bigger and more open sounding because digital audio is improving. To get that sound, the first thing you do is avoid hpf and find the mix between the kick, bass and vocals.
    Thats how I hear it.
  20. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    With all the talk of shelf vs. high/low pass filters nobody's said anything about normal peak/dip filters. I use those fairly often instead of either shelf or pass filters at the high and low ends of the spectrum.
    audiokid likes this.

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