How To EQ Kick and 808: A Detailed Guide For Producers

SoundShockAudio Team
SoundShockAudio Team


As a producer, EQing is one of the most important steps in my music-making process. It can make or break a track, and it’s essential to get it right if I want professional sounding results. With that said, learning how to properly EQ kick drums and 808s isn’t always easy – so let me walk you through the basics! In this article, I’ll provide an in-depth guide on how to EQ kick drums and 808s like a pro.

It all starts with understanding frequency ranges: what sounds good together, what frequencies should be emphasized, etc. Knowing these fundamentals will help give you better control over your sound design when mixing and mastering. Once you’ve developed that foundation knowledge base, then we can move onto more specific techniques for working with kicks and 808s. We’ll cover everything from basic equalization settings to advanced processing tricks for those who are looking for something extra special in their mixes.

By the end of this detailed guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to apply proper EQ principles and achieve great sounding results in no time at all! So buckle up – let’s dive into the world of equalization!

What Is Eq Kick And 808?

EQ kick and 808 refers to the process of adjusting, or equalizing (‘eqing’), a specific frequency range on two important elements in a mix: the kick drum and the bass line. Kick eqing is used to bring out certain frequencies within the kick drum that can help it sit better in the mix. Similarly, 808 eqing is done to allow any low-end synths commonly known as an ‘808’ to be balanced with other sounds competing for space in the same frequency range. Both processes involve boosting particular parts of the audio signal at various points across its frequency spectrum. With these techniques, producers are able to carve out more headroom for their tracks, allowing them to create bigger sounding mixes without overloading their master buses. Setting up the EQ properly will ensure each element has enough level before going into further mixing stages, such as compression or reverb.

Setting The Right Levels

It is essential to get the levels right when EQing kick and 808s. This process is called gain staging, which involves setting up low-gain settings at each stage of your mix. The idea is to capture sounds without overloading any one channel or output level. A good rule of thumb for mixing levels is that you should have no more than 6dB of difference between sources in a full mix. Once you’ve set up these basic levels, it’s time to start adjusting compression and other effects accordingly.

Knowing how much headroom to leave yourself is key when EQing your kicks and 808s. You will want enough room to make adjustments with both EQ curves and automation down the road; this can be done by keeping an eye on peak values during playback as well as watching out for signs of distortion or clipping. Taking care to ensure that the levels are not too hot will save you a lot of headaches later on!

Reverb And Delay Effects

Reverb and delay effects are crucial elements in any mix. Reverb adds space to a sound, while delay helps create depth and movement. When used tactfully, they can help make your kick and 808 stand out from the rest of the track. It’s important to pay attention to the frequency content when mixing these sounds with reverb and/or delay – too much low end or high end will obscure other parts of the mix. To avoid this issue, you can use equalization to bring clarity back into each element by reducing their respective frequencies where needed. In addition, modulation on reverb and delay settings can add subtle movement that enhances both rhythmically and sonically. Experimenting with different types of reverbs (room, hall etc.) as well as various delay lengths can lead to interesting results that give your production unique character. With some careful experimentation, it’s possible to find settings for both reverb and delays that perfectly complement your kick drum and 808 groove.

Low-Pass Filtering

Now that we have discussed the use of reverb and delay effects in our mix, let’s move on to low-pass filtering. Low-pass filtering can be a great way to add control to your kick drum and 808 samples by shaping their frequencies. This type of frequency shaping will help keep any sub-bass boost from interfering with other elements in the mix. You may also want to consider using a bass roll-off when applying low-pass filtering so as to not lose too much of the low end or mud up the sound. When done correctly, this technique gives you more control over the overall volume level of your sample without adversely affecting its quality. To ensure your desired results, it is important to experiment with different settings until you find what works best for your track. The key here is finding balance between removing unwanted frequencies and preserving desirable ones.

High-Pass Filtering

High-pass filtering is like a Swiss army knife for producers. It’s an essential tool that can quickly and easily help shape the kick and 808 sounds in any mix. By using high-pass filters, you can control which frequencies are allowed to pass through your drum and bass parts. This helps remove unnecessary low-end mud from the drums or bass, allowing them to sit better in the mix without competing with each other.

To get started, take a look at your kick and 808 on a frequency analyzer. Pay attention to where they overlap or clash as this will be where you apply the filters. When applying a filter to either part, start by cutting out all frequencies below 40Hz; this should give you more clarity almost immediately. You may find it beneficial to add some additional cuts around 100 – 200 Hz depending on how muddy the track is sounding overall. As always, use your ears and experiment until you find something that works best for your particular mix!

Modulating The Frequency Response

Modulating the frequency response of a kick and 808 enables producers to adjust the tone, shape, and texture of their sound. To achieve this effect, they must use equalization (EQ). EQ is an essential tool in sculpting sounds since it can help smooth out harsh frequencies or boost certain elements. Here are some tips for modulating a kick and 808 with EQ:

  • Subtractive Equalization – Subtractive equalization involves cutting out unwanted frequencies from your signal by using filters or shelving controls on the EQ. For example, you could reduce low end rumble in a kick drum by subtractively boosting around 400Hz – 600Hz and then sweeping downwards until the desired amount of cut has been achieved.
  • Low Pass Filter: A Low-Pass filter removes high frequencies from the signal which helps create more focus in the mid-range of the sound. This technique is especially useful for shaping kicks so that they don’t compete with other instruments in a full mix.

  • High Pass Filter: A High-Pass filter eliminates low frequencies from a signal allowing only higher frequencies to pass through. This can be used to make sure that your 808’s do not occupy too much space in a track as well as give them extra clarity.

  • Shelving Controls: Shelving controls allow you to quickly boost or cut off specific frequency ranges without having to manually sweep through each one individually like with filter controls. You might find that adding just a few dBs of shelf at either ends of your spectrum (high & low) will instantly give your drums more presence and character.

Mixing techniques such as compression, layering and sidechaining can further enhance these effects resulting in bigger sounding drums overall.

Mixing Techniques For A Bigger Sound

Mixing techniques can be like a chef in the kitchen. Just as chefs use spices to enhance flavor, audio engineers and producers use EQ, compression and other tools to shape sound for maximum impact. When it comes to kick drums and 808s, certain mixing tricks will give them more punch in your mix.

Low Frequencies High Frequencies Dynamic Range
Cut Below 80Hz Boost Around 5kHz Compress

First, roll off the low frequencies below 80 Hz on both instruments with a gentle shelf filter. This ensures that the two don’t compete for space in the bottom of the frequency spectrum. To add clarity to each instrument, boost high frequencies around 5 kHz using either an EQ or saturation plugin. Lastly, compress both elements lightly so they lock together tightly while still maintaining their dynamic range. Doing this will help keep your track sounding big without sacrificing any presence from either element.

To make sure you’re getting everything out of your kick and 808 combination, adjust each sound until it stands out but also works within the overall texture of the song. Achieving balance between these two unique sounds is key – if one overwhelms the other then neither will have enough room to shine through properly in your mix.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Make The Kick And 808 Sound Better In The Mix?

When it comes to mixing kicks and 808s, there’s a lot of work that can go into creating the right balance. EQ frequency is key here as you want your kick and 808 to stand out in their own respective spaces. When it comes to shaping those frequencies, an audio engineer/producer must consider both subtractive and additive equalization techniques. Additionally, they should also take advantage of external processing such as compressors or limiters to bring more definition and clarity.

In addition to equalization and outboard processing, dynamic range plays an important role when setting up the mix properly for the kick and 808 sounds. To ensure these elements are sitting comfortably side by side within the mix, producers need strategies like parallel compression or gating – all of which help them get the desired sound from their low-end instruments. This way, each element remains distinct yet balanced with everything else playing throughout the track. Furthermore, other techniques like panning can be used to create further separation between different parts of the mix if needed.

By using a combination of creative mixing techniques alongside traditional methods such as EQing and limiting , producers have access to a world of possibilities for making their kicks and 808s shine through in any song!

What Type Of Eq Should I Use For Kick And 808?

EQ is like a guitarist’s toolbox – it can give you the perfect sound if used properly. When applying EQ to kick and 808, there are several types of equalizers available for producers to use. Multiband, dynamic, and parametric EQs each have their own unique properties that need to be considered when producing.

Multiband EQ divides the signal into separate bands which allows for adjustments on specific frequencies in order to create more focused sounds. For example, this type of eq could be used on an 808 with guitar-like qualities or synth elements. Dynamic EQ works similarly but offers more flexibility as it adjusts frequencies according to the incoming signal levels, allowing for greater control over how certain frequencies interact with one another. Parametric EQ also provides excellent control over specific frequency ranges but gives even more options than both multiband and dynamic by allowing users to adjust gain, bandwidth, and other features such as shelving filters that further refine the overall sound of the mix.

No matter what type of eq is chosen for adjusting kick and 808 in a mix, understanding its capabilities will help producers achieve great results. Knowing how different types of equalizers can shape sounds depending on desired outcome makes all the difference when creating professional mixes that stand out from others. By experimenting with different settings while keeping track of changes made along the way, producers can find exactly the right balance between an instrument’s low end thump and high end clarity that completes any song production perfectly.

What Is The Best Way To Use Compression On Kick And 808?

Compression is a key element in creating great kick and 808 sounds. When used well, compression can help shape the sound of these instruments while adding punch or weight to them. It’s important that producers understand how to use compression settings when working with kicks and 808s so they get the desired results.

When setting up compression on kicks and 808s, it’s best to start by adjusting the attack time and release times. Attack determines how quickly the compressor will react to a signal, while release determines how long it takes for the compressor to stop compressing once the signal level falls below its threshold value. From there, you can adjust other parameters such as ratio, gain reduction amount, knee width, etc., but make sure not to overdo it! Too much compression leads to an unnatural-sounding result.

To get started with compression tips for kick and 808 sounds, experiment with different values until you find what works best for your needs. Start by using low ratios (2:1 or 3:1) and short attack/release times if looking for more transient control; increase those values if going for a smoother sound. Additionally, try automating some of your compressor controls like gain reduction amount or sidechain filter frequency for extra creative possibilities!

How Do I Make Sure My Kick And 808 Have The Right Frequency Balance?

When it comes to mixing a kick and 808, the frequency balance is one of the most important things. Without getting your frequencies right, you won’t achieve a sound that cuts through in a mix. To ensure proper frequency balance between these two elements, there are several techniques you should be aware of when using equalization on both the kick and 808.

First off, you want to make sure that your compressor settings are dialed in correctly for each element. This will allow you to control the volume levels without affecting any changes in their respective frequencies. After setting up the compressors, start with some basic equalization adjustments on both elements by cutting or boosting certain frequencies based on what works best for your particular track. Additionally, making small tweaks to the attack and release times can help shape each element’s specific tone while still maintaining their original sonic characteristics.

Once you’ve done some initial EQ work, use a spectrum analyzer to analyze how your kick and 808 interact with each other as well as other instruments in the mix. If necessary, adjust your equalization settings until all sounds have an even frequency balance throughout the entire range from low-end bass notes up to high-frequency cymbals and percussion hits. With careful listening and patience, this process allows producers to create rich sounding tracks with balanced kicks and 808s that fit perfectly into a mix like puzzle pieces!

What Are The Best Tips For Creating A Unique Kick And 808 Sound?

Are you searching for the best tips on how to create a unique kick and 808 sound? Well, look no further! Crafting your own signature style is all about getting creative with kick design, 808 sculpting, EQ techniques and compression tricks. As an audio engineer or producer, understanding the fundamentals of these elements will help you achieve that perfect balance between your kick and 808.

Take some time to experiment with different levels of EQ while shaping each instrument’s frequency range. Start by cutting out any unwanted frequencies from both sounds before adding harmonics. This will make it easier to mix them together without masking one another. When mixing in other tracks like drums and basslines, use low-pass filters to keep their combined presence at a minimum level. Additionally, don’t forget to apply appropriate amounts of compression for optimal dynamic control when layering multiple instruments over the drum beat.

By using the right combination of these production tools, you’ll be able to craft a truly unique sound that stands out from the rest – something that simply cannot be replicated! So why not challenge yourself today and let your creativity shine through by creating an unforgettable kick and 808 combo that send shivers down audiences’ spines!


As an experienced audio engineer and producer, I can tell you that getting the kick and 808 to sound just right in a mix is not easy. But if you take the time to learn how to use EQ, compression, and frequency balance properly, it will be well worth your effort.

Using these techniques can help you create a unique sonic signature with your Kick and 808 sounds – something that stands out from other producers. Just remember to keep experimenting until you find what works best for you: there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to mixing music.

Overall, mastering the art of using EQ, compression, and frequency balancing on Kick and 808s takes practice. So don’t be afraid to experiment – every journey begins with a single step! With patience and determination, I’m confident that anyone can craft their own professional sounding mixes featuring great kicks and 808s.

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Need more help when it comes to EQing? Check out the article, how to eq live vocals.

Also check out this other article how to eq sub bass, for more EQing tips.