How to Use a Low Pass Filter

Another powerful tool you have at your disposal is a low pass filter. A low pass filter is a great tool for opening up and controlling the top end of a mix. How do you use one to do that?

low pass filters are your best friend

When you use a low pass filter well you can control how close a sound feels to your listener. You can push things further back in the mix or but not using it keep things forward.

High frequencies are a large factor in how we determine how close a sound is to us. The more highs the closer it feels. So using a low pass filter we can roll of high frequencies and “move” objects further away from us.

don’t use low pass filters on what you want to feature

If you use LPFs on most tracks in your mix but don’t use them on a few instruments it automatically focuses our ears on those things that don’t have them. So a lead vocal with a really nice open airy high end will grab your listeners attention. A solo instrument with the right high end will feel much more close than one without.

The key is subtlety

Really the key to any great mix is a sum of a lot of subtle changes added together. The same is true of using a low pass filter on any instrument. Too much and it will sound lifeless but just right and it will allow the lead vocals or instruments to shine. As with anything take time to practice experiment and pay attention to how it changes the sound and feel of a sound source.

A video example

I did a short video showing how a low pass filter can be used to clean up top end. How it can be used to push things to the back in a mix and how when used together you can help your high end really shine:

Don’t forget to check out my other blog post on high pass filters for controlling low end here

You can also get a free studio gear guide here