Gain Power Quickly , 3 Key Cuts

Cover/ Thumbnail Photo Credit : Drew Ressler /Rukes 

Loud , Boost, Volume, POWER...

These are the common terms producers think while making tunes. Let's make this track hit hard, no wait let's make this track a banger. While these are all amazing things to strive for they tend to lead to one common problem...

Way too much sound.

Get this, your constantly thinking about these things, volume, size, depth . You want your track HUGE sounding, so what do you do?

You add and add , layer and layer, mud and mud. 

For the longest time I was scared, I was scared of one thing...


Think about it, why would one want to CUT out sound, you want volume right?  This is the problem I had. I didn't think that cutting could actually make the track louder ! 


Here's the short version of how it works.

Your track can only hold ( a made up number ) 100% sound. This could be 100% full of total shit or 100% full of total perfection. 

The key is that it can only get so loud, and if you fill your track up with EXTRA USELESS SOUND, you are only hurting the final overall loudness of the track. 

Long story short, if your track is 75% perfection and 25% crap, then you want to do your best to cut out all the crap. Volume, isn't important at this point as that's an easy fix via mastering or tweaking the final mixdown.

Seems easy right? It really is, the hard part is just having trust in yourself that cutting truly will clean up your track and make it louder in the end. Its more a mental block then anything else.

3 Areas that cutting can make a huge difference.


1. 500Hz-1.5kHz

Ok, if you read any of my posts you know I hate giving " ranges " because people take them as 100% fact. For this article, just take the ranges as a give or take. Please note that every track is different and a 500hz cut on one track may be perfect and on the other it may kill it.

Why cutting this range can help?

I like to call this range a " catch all" as it tends to get a lot of left over sound from the above and below elements. Cutting a few db out of this area can allow your track to  " sit properly ". Ideally, you want your lead elements to sit on top of the bass elements, cutting some sound out of this range can make your tune do just that.

This is also a key area to clean up because it tends to mud up quickly on low end playback devices . Listen to pop music, notice how empty this range can be at times. This is because pop is mainly heard on these devices. 

2. 10kHz-12kHz

This range isn't talked about too often, however it can lead to an over shinny track that eats up your clarity.  Have you ever played a tune that when cranked, the high end gets loud way before the bass does? Often times, it seems the part getting loud is in this range. 

Also, the lovely Soundcloud can make this problem worse with its 128kbps encoding/play back. If your track is already heavy ( volume wise ) in this range loading it to the cloud is going to make a small problem a big one. 

Why cutting this range can help?

I often find that in order to properly " box " your tune ( will have a full article on this soon ) , this range can make or break the way the track hangs. Even just a few db up or down, can make the track "volume up" properly. By volume up, I mean when you crank the tune, the bottom end and the highs go up at the ideal rate.  

If you crank your tune and the highs over shine the bass, try cutting some out of this range first. 

3. Below 30Hz ( ish ) and above 18.5kHz ( ish )


Please note the " ish " as I said, I hate giving ranges because people hold on to them like glue and don't listen to what the track needs. Please never go by some range but by how the track SOUNDS.

With that being said, most people like to cut below roughly 30Hz and above roughly 18.5kHz. Depending on who you ask this seems to always vary, I prefer to go by how the track sounds/ is sitting and decide based on my ears. 

For those unaware, the range of human hearing is typically considered 20hz- 20,000hz. 

Why cutting this range can help?

Simple, if you can't hear whats going on below or above, why have it. Its just eating your head room. 

Take Away,

Don't be scared to cut, I was for a long time as I felt I'd loss power. The reality was that my over volume of sound was actually what was causing the power loss. Funny how that works.

Until next time,

with love


Posted on September 3, 2014 and filed under Music Production.