Although they are used nowhere near as frequently as HPFs, low‑pass filters can also be implemented to remove high‑end noise or hiss, and can also be used to mark the highest usable frequency. In the second part of our masterclass on the production of modern metal music, we explain what makes a great metal mix. Three dips are applied to control unwanted resonant frequencies at 123 and 186Hz, both with an extremely tight 'Q' curve, and 2.39kHz, with a wider 'Q'. Either way, higher ratio levels that are more associated with limiting (8:1/10:1) can often still be required. Experiment with the send levels between your snare top, bottom and samples: sending more of the latter can help to provide a really effective stability to the overall snare reverb. Some bands I've mixed have actually requested that the vocals be given less prominence, to divert attention more towards the grooves, guitar riffs and general power of the instruments. By varying the frequencies being amplified and attenuated, you will achieve a more balanced tonal distribution and a louder, heavier mix as a result. As phase cancellation is a very common problem with a multi‑miked kit, all other spot mics should now be checked against the overheads for phase, and polarities reversed if appropriate. I rarely compress rhythm guitars, as by their nature, overdriven guitars are already very compressed. The tempos, style and speed of the drum performance will also have a large bearing on sample selection: for example, it would be inappropriate to use a really ambient snare sample for a thrash‑style track, or where blast beats are used. However, the best way to assess the instrumental and frequency balance of a mix is actually to not only listen at different levels, but also on many different systems (including car stereos and headphones), in different environments, and even in different listening positions within these rooms. Examples of paying attention to detail might include riding up the overheads to provide additional energy during choruses, automating big reverbs on key snare or floor-tom hits, riding certain bass notes or phrases, and emphasising pinched‑harmonic guitar squeals and vocal segments with long, panning delays. However, amplifying this frequency range can often lead to problems with sibilance on vocal tracks, so a de‑esser should be inserted over each and every vocal channel before they get EQ'ed. Room mics can likewise be time‑aligned to your snare spot mics. Although there is little that is specific to extreme metal when it comes to EQ'ing snare drums, it is worth mentioning that, generally speaking, the weight and body of a snare is centred around 200Hz‑450Hz. Bass guitar often tends to get overshadowed by the drums and rhythm guitars, and again, master compression can exaggerate this, so bear in mind the likely effect of any mix processing when you're setting bass levels. If you are forced to use the close‑miked kick and snare tracks as sources, it's worth taking some time to ensure that hit points aren't being missed, and checking that samples have not been added where they shouldn't be. If you have double‑miked your guitar cabs for each take, and the diaphragms were placed as close as possible to each other, there shouldn't be any phase issues here; and as any re‑amped guitar tracks will not be combined with the DI source, it is not so vital that these are time‑aligned. Despite the fact that each mix will present its own specific challenges, this article aims to explain basic techniques that are common practice within the genre. It is amazing how much difference bringing the overheads just two or three milliseconds earlier in the digital domain will make to the overall body and tone of the snare when these sources are combined, due to improved phase coherence. Having tried many of the hardware and software amp/cab simulators on the market, I still feel that these cannot compare with the more organic and natural sound of the real thing. The centre (blue) channel is the same signal, but with inaccurate auto‑gating applied. As ever, the most important element of mixing is balancing the relative levels of all the instruments and, if necessary, using automation to control them. By doing so, less gain can be used whilst achieving the same impact of a much greater boost, and generally speaking, the audio will sound less processed and much more natural as a result. Vocals very rarely have any content below 85Hz, and the HPF can usually be set a lot higher, perhaps around 160Hz, depending on the tone and style of the vocalist. The essential high‑end brightness for rhythm guitars will usually be found between 5kHz and 8kHz. Finally, an LPF has been used to mark the highest usable frequency and to help minimise masking; in this instance, it was set to 12.4kHz. When these are used correctly, the treated instruments will be perceived as being louder and more defined, and there will be more clarity in the overall mix. In this example, I have used eight bands of EQ for rhythm guitar. As a general rule I recommend keeping at least 6dB of headroom right across the board on individual channels, groups, effects auxiliaries and the master bus. In my opinion, metal is the most glorious music in the world after classical music. Amplifying parts of this range will thicken up the snare tone, and cutting will produce a brighter snare with more of a 'crack'. However, before discussing some frequency guidelines for specific instruments, I first want to mention three general principles that can be highly effective. Whichever method you use, it is absolutely essential that the samples are perfectly lined up and in phase with the live drum hits. With this in mind, the HPF on the overheads and hats can be set as high as 550Hz. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. To achieve all of the above, I can't stress enough the importance of integrating high‑pass filters (HPFs) into your equalisation decisions. For example, rolling the bass off above 7/8kHz can help minimise masking and therefore increase separation. The side‑chain input of the publishers be for the kick and snare, but with inaccurate auto‑gating applied compression to... ( blue ) channel is the most glorious music in the 10‑12kHz has..., fuller low end, and clearly this indicates phase summation an abrasive mix that will soon tire ears! 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