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I am an amateur producer of techno music. Needless to say, low frequencies have a high importance to the sound in this genre. I have often read that generally in a final mix, very low frequencies should not have any stereo components, as there might be noticeably bad effects on club systems that mix them down to mono, or by interference. I have been doing that sort of intuitively around 150Hz--by placing an EQ on the master and have it cut any stereo content below that frequency--but I've been wondering if someone who knows about where the frequency splitter of such a system operates could come up with a guide value.

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Getting 10 Hz lower on a sub can double the cost. So a lot of affordable subs really kick in around 50 Hz while the most expensive ones maybe get as low as 35 Hz or so. On the high end, the subs will usually be able to go up to 300 or 500 Hz but the actual crossover frequency used is determined by the whole system, usually between 150 and 250 Hz.

I would cut the low frequency content out of reverb sends and maybe delay sends, and 150 Hz is a good choice for that. I would also use sidechain eq for bass and drum compressors and cut below 150 to 250 out of the sidechain, or use parallel compression.

You should always check the entire mix for mono compatibility. And you should not mix with a specific crossover point for subs in mind. Don’t cut everything below 150 for the whole mix. If that’s what you’re doing (it’s not totally clear from your question) then you’re throwing away some really important frequencies. Do cut everything below 40 Hz from the whole mix before you do any final compressing or limiting. If your whole mix works in mono, then you have done your job making it good for clubs. The rest is up to the design and engineering of the club sound system.

  • Thanks Todd! No, I'm not cutting everything below 150Hz, only the stereo content, so that below 150 the mix is mono (I have updated my question to clarify this). Would you say doing that is unnecessary, or can have unwanted side effects? – smcs Dec 8 '17 at 8:43
  • @speedymcs I don't quite understand the idea of part of a mix being in mono, unless you're doing LCR mixing. I think what you're doing is making sure all the low frequency items are panned into the center. There are some very important differences between panning center and a truly mono mix. You should not use some kind of processor to automatically pan everything below 150 to the middle. You should pan your bass, bass synth, and kick drums to the middle. You definitely should listen to your whole mix in mono to make sure it works. Clubs often have entire mono systems. – Todd Wilcox Dec 8 '17 at 14:11
  • I am using Ableton Live 9. Its eight band EQ can be toggled to show/actuate on just the mono or just the stereo part of its input. So what I do is I put one on the master bus, set it to 'stereo only' mode, and cut out any residue in those freuquencies frequencies with a steep filter around 150 Hz. – smcs Dec 8 '17 at 18:06
  • @speedymcs I'm guessing you're referring to the mid/side (M/S) mode of EQ 8. What that does is let you separately EQ the in-phase and center panned (M or mid) content from the out-of-phase or side panned (S or side) content. Completely turning off all of the out-of-phase content will ensure mono safety of your mix, and getting rid of everything not phase correlated below 150 Hz is one way to ensure mono safety of the low end, but it's potentially the messiest way. You're also cutting the lows of anything panned off-center. – Todd Wilcox Dec 8 '17 at 18:31
  • @speedymcs I would say what you are doing is a poor practice and you shouldn't do it. You should instead do the things I mention in my answer: 1) Pan low frequency sources to the center. 2) High pass reverb sends. 3) Forget about focusing on the low end and listen to the whole mix in mono to make sure the whole mix is mono safe. Only getting mono safety on the low end means you are risking having only the low end sound right. – Todd Wilcox Dec 8 '17 at 18:33

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