High Pass, my Ass!

Kenny Gioia posted this in the “Pensado’s Students” Facebook group today. I tend to agree with it and think it’s a case of DAWarrhea :smirk: in modern mixing. It may be called for in some genres and mixing styles, but maybe it shouldn’t be a habit all the time?


Kenny’s Tip of the Day - STOP High Passing Everything!!!

More and more I’m reading about beginning mixers and how they High Pass Everything except for the Bass and Kick Drum. And many of them are doing that as well. Ugh.

You’re killing your mixes. High Pass Filters (EQs that roll off the low end) do serve a purpose. But they need to be used sparingly. This idea that the Kick and Bass won’t be heard or won’t be clear or focused unless they are the only tracks with Low End is utter nonsense.

Music is messy. Lots of things have Low End and they should. It adds body to an Acoustic Guitar. Weight to Electric Guitars and it makes the Overhead mics on your Drums sound bigger.

Stop making everything so small just to make room for certain other instruments. Not everything needs to be carved out and placed in it’s own space. Many times it’s OK if everyone is sharing the same space. If they actually fight. Mixing is the idea of “blending” elements. Not putting each of them in their own isolated box.

Please. I implore you. Your music begs you. Your tracks plead with you to stop going for that High Pass Filter on each and every track. It’s not needed and it’s making you create thinner mixes.

Also, check out some of my Mixing Tutorials that tackle the subject in greater detail at www.groove3.com

I hope this message finds you… Well - Kenny Gioia

If you high pass at like 50Hz in my opinion the only thing you’re killing is hip hop frequencies. He’s right though, people are going off the deep end with not just high-pass filters, but EQ in general. If you have two EQ’s and one is undoing what the first one is doing you’re insane, and you’re only serving to make your song sound artificial.

1 Like

EVERY frequency interacts in some with with the frequencies next to it or around it. For me, that’s the why.

1 Like

Maybe he’s talking about doing more precise cuts, rather than a wide high pass filter. Seems like a waste of dynamic range to not high pass something that has no low freq. content, since things do ring harmonically and use up space down there.

1 Like

I think directing the topic towards high pass filtering is causing more confusion than help. This isn’t about high pass filtering, it’s about doing anything without purpose. If you are doing something purely because you heard it was a good idea, it’s probably worth looking into more deeply. Sometimes we do things that have negative side effects, and the only reason we do them is because we think we’re supposed to. Don’t do that sort of thing.


Hmmm, I think that may be the “habit” mentality. It’s one of the “rules” we have learned in the modern mixing era, I think, partly because of the DAW and having the tool available right there in multiple EQ plugins of your choice. And due to the Loudness Wars where dynamic range had to be squeezed to Olympic standards, and remaining headroom measured in micrometers. Old analog mixes used to “breathe” (with headroom), and my recollection of using a console is that the HP filter on the console channel parametric EQ was not used exorbitantly … but sparingly.

Understandably, mixing techniques and trends change. Also, I think Kenny was on a bit of a rant so maybe take it with a grain of salt. I think his point was just to stop for a moment and “think about it”.

Yes, this!

The old adages of “there are no rules” or “learn the rules and then break them” might apply. Use your critical thinking and creative hearing to decide what is working and what is not working. Do experiments. Don’t just follow a rule because someone said to do it.