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As a hobbiest musician I am writing and recording songs in my home studio; mainly rock, funk and smooth jazz. My primary instrument is the bass guitar where I send a Line Out on my amp to my Audio Interface which is connected to my Win 11 PC.

My DAW has an 8-band equalizer, 5 of which have Q and Gain adjustments. Below are the frequencies that I have guessed at that seem relatively effective. I want to settle on a standard set of frequencies to quicken my workflow. My workflow is to first Compress my bass track then EQ my bass with all other instruments muted and then verify the EQ with all instruments un-muted.

My question is, are there a set of frequencies for bass guitar EQing that will allow me to more crisply hear (compared to what I show below) the effect of Q and Gain adjustments when using headphones when I mix?

LLC: 50Hz

LC: 50Hz

LF: 50Hz, Q, Gain

LMF: 80Hz, Q, Gain

MF: 300HZ, Q, Gain

HMF: 600Hz, Q, Gain

HF: 800Hz, Q, Gain

HC: 1000Hz

I also have an overall Gain adjustment for my bass track and volume automation for each track in the mix.

Any web resources or other suggestions that address this would be appreciated.

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  • I don't understand the question. "are there a set of frequencies for bass guitar EQing that will allow me to more crisply hear ... the effect of Q and Gain adjustments..." The effect of gain adjustments will be most noticeable when the band center is at a frequency that is loud in the original signal. The effect of Q adjustments will be most noticeable when the band center is near (but not at) a frequency that is loud in the original signal. Neither of these facts are useful for eqing your bass track, but they might be helpful if you're trying to learn to use the eq.
    – Edward
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 0:10
  • Are you maybe looking for an "eq cheat sheet" for bass guitar? Not that they're super helpful... but people sure do ask for them a lot.
    – Edward
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 0:10
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    "I want to settle on a standard set of frequencies to quicken my workflow" - always using the same frequencies won’t quicken your workflow. It will just limit the quality of your mixes. It’s like asking what are the best 7 notes to use to write a song so you can always use those notes when you write every song. Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 1:38
  • "volume automation for each track in the mix" if you want to quicken your workflow stop doing this. Automating levels is only worth the effort for the most important 1-3 tracks in a mix. Like lead vocals and maybe a solo. If you really can’t make the mix sound decent with just EQ and compression then you’ve got challenges that fader automation won’t really fix anyway. If your production and recording process is good, then just bringing all the faders up to somewhere between -12 and -3 should be a working mix that is just a bit lifeless but otherwise ok. Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 1:42
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    Two points… 1) Only EQ what needs EQing - that's not going to be the same twice. There is no template for EQ, there's only ears. 2) Don't mix on cans. Ever. Cans are for tracking, proper monitors are for mixing.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 8:24

1 Answer 1

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My DAW has an 8-band equalizer, 5 of which have Q and Gain adjustments.

You can easily find an EQ with more bands, or stack several EQs in series. I'm not saying that you need more bands, but this shouldn't be a limitation.

Below are the frequencies that I have guessed at that seem relatively effective.

You seem to neglect frequencies of several kHz, which affect the presence of the instrument in the mix.

My workflow is to first Compress my bass track then EQ my bass with all other instruments muted and then verify the EQ with all instruments un-muted.

Some remarks:

  1. Sometimes it is useful to apply EQ before the compressor, because it affects how the compressor reacts.
  2. If you set dynamics without hearing other instruments, you may also need to review it in the full mix.
  3. Bass, especially in rock styles, may benefit from parallel processing. Note that e.g. bass overdrive pedals, unlike guitar pedals, often mix the clean and overdriven signals.
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  • I'm thinking that 8-bands are plenty for my needs. Or at the minimum I'd like to first fully understand these 8 before going with more. Yes I am neglecting frequencies higher than 1kHz because I have unwanted hiss much above this freq., thus I high-cut at 1kHz. Plus I generally go after the deep rich tones and rarely play high on the fretboard. I understand that the prevailing wisdom is to Compress and then EQ. I'm not using any pedals but my amp does have EQ and several bass models onboard.
    – Steve
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 23:15
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    Are you using a high impedance input on your interface? You should not have so much hiss that you feel the need to high cut at 1kHz.
    – Edward
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 0:12
  • @Steve Eight bands are actually too many for your needs. If you use more than four you might be doing something that’s making it harder to mix, not easier. Most of the greatest recordings in history were mixed with no more than four bands of EQ of each track, and many with fewer or none. Instead of asking for specific frequencies, do some web searches on how to EQ a track and start practicing. It’s experience and skill, not knowing certain frequencies, that makes a good mix. Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 1:35
  • @Steve Oh I just read you’re high cutting at 1 kHz. There are bass tones that don’t need anything above 900 or 1000 Hz, but there are other tones that really DO need stuff around 1.2 or 2.5 or 5 kHz. I suggest figuring out where the hiss is coming from and dealing with that before getting lost in strange EQ strategies. Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 1:48
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    @Steve How would we know what frequencies apply to EQing your bass recordings? I understand that you’re only low passing the bass at 1 kHz. Maybe you’re not understanding that your choice to do that is particular to your bass sound and that would not be good general guidance for all bass sounds? Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 22:29

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