Random Production Thoughts


Ok so. I need to EQ my synth to make way for a 40Hz sub. I’m brand new to Reaper and I’m in the EQ window.

  1. My synth is playing so I assume the yellow wiggly line is showing the frequencies that are playing in the synth?

  2. Numbers 50, 100 200 etc along the bottom is Hz (low end freq)?

  3. 1.0k and above is killahertz (high end freq)?

  4. To cut freq’s for my sub I need to pull down the first couple of dots around the 50 line?

  5. How much do I cut, in dB?

  6. There seems to be no high freq’s in my synth so I can pull up the right hand dots a bit to give it some sparkle?

Sorry for the noob questions but I gotta start somewhere right.

Is this right?


you’ve def got the right idea, that EQ shape might not be ideal though, what else is listed in that drop down menu that says ‘band’?

I also think you’ll get a lot of mileage out of this book, it seems you are learning things in a similar way as i did and this book helped me a lot. It didnt answer a lot of my questions but instead taught me which questions to ask just like you have been doing.


big ups overall for taking the plunge properly.


I got these options…


yeah, nice, you’re looking for the high pass filter for your situation

i posted this above but not sure if you seen


Ok I can hear a bit of difference using the HPF preset.

I need to play around some more as there’s two snyth lines, they play alternately and one is pitched lower than the other. Using the HPF preset on the lower pitched one basically decimates everything out of it!

High Pitch with HPF

Low Pitch with HPF


yeah its tricky as the lower of a note you play it will be down at those lower frequencies.

That first EQ looks alright, the 2nd looks way too aggressive imo but its hard to tell without hearing haha

you can adjust the curve of the EQ to no be so sharp as well, in general though right where you’ve got that 1st EQ set is one of the most problematic areas in a tune, you’ve got synths, basslines, and drums all competing for the same space. There are solutions to the problem, but you’re on a good path now. Explore it and have fun

i made a really shoddy example of how you could soften the impact of the 2nd eq, my line isnt based on anything really, but an idea of how i might look if you were to smooth things out. (red line)

I would usually make an eq like this, then use a harsher hpf filter after it just chopping the super low end. It will sound a bit more ‘natural’ (blue line)

filter 1

filter 2


Thanks a lot dude, plenty to be experimenting with now!

Here’s the synth with no EQ

And here it is with the HPF preset

I figure it’s best to get an idea of EQing early on with something thats got low, mid and high in it before I start putting in bass and kicks and snares and getting lost in all the frequencies!

I’ve exported my individual tracks from Audacity into Reaper so now I have a synth, some vocal samples and some crackle/hiss to play around with. The interface seems fairly intuitive. I’ll DL a Reaper manual and also give the one you linked me a read. A bit of light bedtime reading!


its tricky man, everyone has a different way of doing it. I personally do a very light EQ on all my channels as im just getting started. Mostly getting rid of the bass/low mid freqs in sounds that dont need those freqs (a lot of drum samples, even something like a hi hat will have some low freq content that is not important to the tune). The idea is that im trying to open up as much space and ‘energy’ as possible; you have this small window of space available for everything to fit in.

At then end I EQ things really really heavily as I have a lot of layers of sound built up, other people swear by doing almost no EQ and just making the timing of things and the sounds just fit. There is a lot of room for you to find your own way here just by doing what you feel is right.

This video is brutally cheesy; almost to the point where it looks like it might be a parody. But fuck, this opened my eyes to the basic ideas in such a good way. Im a visual person so it made sense. Might not work for you if youre a different type of learner but this helped me get past all the numbers and terms and think about things more naturally.


Definitely a visual learner.
I’m trying to see tunes the same way I make art in photoshop. The layers and they light/shadow areas. Helps me visualise it easier.


haha nice, we are similar, thats how i make all my tunes, all in layers


One thing that is useful when eq-ing (beyond lowpassing or highpassing (lp or hp-ing)) is to have a peaking eq point (so it’s opposite to a notch, not sure how it’s called lol), and it needs to be somewhat tight, and the point is to listen for frequencies that start singing a lot when you bring them up with that eq point, and if you need to maybe lower them a bit or a lot. Could also be used in a creative way so that you bring them up so they “sing”. Here’s an image.


Yeah Im trying to see the EQ as shadows and lights rather than numbers and frequencies. It’s easier for me that way


When I’m EQing I usually highpass pretty much everything that is not my sub somewhere between 100-200hz (synths, snares, percussion etc)

Kicks I highpass somewhere between 50-80hz depending on how deep the kick is, normally 65hz or thereabouts is the sweetspot

Hi-hats/rides/crashes etc get a more drastic highpass though as I only really need the top end and don’t need them taking up space in the midrange, hats in particular I generally don’t want going anywhere below 500hz

Subs I usually highpass at 30-40hz and lowpass at about 100hz essentially leaving me with a nice bandpass

Obviously some tunes call for different settings but 9 times out of 10 this is how I will do it


I work with big boomy 808 samples and not sinewave synth subs but I often do a big EQ cut on my sub like 150hz after compression and it seems to make everything way less muddy and too-dense.


yeah for stuff 808s with more harmonics in them than a just regular sine 150hz sounds about right


The Thing about EQ-ing is that people stick to some numbers othe people said that they “should” eq at. Just listen to the sounds, find those clashing freq’s and remove them. But for beginners to grasp where everything sits, yeah, learn some basic settings first.


for sure man, some sounds need to be EQed totally differently and you always should examine them on a case by case basis, the numbers I gave are more just a general rule of thumb that tends to work for me a lot of the time but there will always be exceptions where a totally different approach needs to be taken


yeah obviously, you just say numbers to give an idea of what kinda sound you mean, like cutting at 100hz and below inherently deals with different sound characteristics than cutting at say 800

like to remove “honkiness” or whatever other word you can use like that, there are certain frequencies to check first. IMO. All very indivudal with how you work duh


That’s a cool way of thinking about it, almost like drawing or painting. But the reason you’re thinking that way IME is that you’ve figured out already, subconsciously, that EQ doesn’t really work or do what it says.

Software EQ cant bring out harmonics (properly). It doesn’t Equalize.

What it attempts is harmony by way of an algorithm, but what it does is create dissonance in key spots in the freq-spectrum- that then trick us into listening after the harmonic balance and then our brain puts in the rest of the information. A bit like 3d glasses.

Whereas a hardware EQ could, if you ran something into it, physically alter the tone in real time with a desired harmonic content you had tuned it for.

But a computer cant do that yet. It just doesn’t have the processing power to do this yet live.
It’s the same reason a tiny but seperate circuit in a hardware synth is so infinitely superior in tone to say massive or zebra or whatever amazing soft synth there is out there, still.
(I personally cant understand why this fact isnt as common shared as all the fidelity enthusiast, systems, vinyl and hardware differences people discuss- this is the most important one imo).

But all this technical babble is actually a reason to make computer music in the simplest way - at least with sequencing - fuck around just balancing sounds as they are against each other on the track to track level . Use as much filter you want instead.and learn to balance those with little concern of tonal balance but just focus listening towards a whole/the mix and get the melodies to pop.

I wish i had thrown out EQ ten years ago and not just i dunno 7 years ago :onethumb:


I’m not stressing myself out with getting bogged down in the technical stuff. That’s the main reason I never made music before. It all seemed too esoteric. Especially EQ’ing.
But I figure I’ll get a handle on the basics and just finish a tune. That’s the main thing. Just finish a tune.
If there’s anything lacking then I’ll use the collective knowledge here to tweak and improve.

Learn as I go.