frequency spectrum

Posted on

just a good guesser
Member Since: Oct 04, 2004

i did a spectrum analysis of my vocalist's voice. the analyzer pointed out that the dominant frequency was around 323hz. soon after the peak at 323hz was a dip at 450hz and another peak at 640hz almost the same amplitude as the peak at 323hz. i'm wondering is there an easy way to read this that way when i'm mixing i'll no where to notch the instruments to make room for the vocals. also so that i can make room for everything else???????

[ Back to Top ]

Freeleance Producer/Engineer/Gtr
Since: Aug 11, 2002

Jul 07, 2005 08:37 pm

knowing what frequencies that the vocals ly, you can notch out other instruments in the same freq if they clash... snare drums have been known to give people trouble

Lost for words with all to say.
Since: Sep 12, 2003

Jul 07, 2005 09:33 pm

Yes, snares do for me!

Here's some good reads explaining it and examples here on the site:


Great guide to where instruments should be placed:


I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Jul 07, 2005 10:31 pm

My problem with spectrum analyzers is that I can't really detect any particular pattern or anything with the readout. Its just a fuzzy line that's always higher in the low frequencies than in the high frequencies. Since the amplitude/frequency graph is logarithmic, I can see why it's like that. But how do I determine what frequencies are the dominant ones in my readout?

just a good guesser
Since: Oct 04, 2004

Jul 07, 2005 11:32 pm

all i know is that sound forge's analyzer gives the frequency that is the dominant one, as in it lists it out, that's the only reason i knew what it was. the thing is in the vocals for me, 323hz was the dominant one and correct me if i'm wrong the 300hz range is responsible for the muddiness.

another thing that bugs me, notching out freq's that conflict with the vocals is great, except when there aren't any vocals. unlike most instruments the vocals aren't going all the time. so when they aren't going the music sounds funny with the frequency notch. so i have my EQ automated, so that i can control when the EQ is enabled, but yet i still get the noticeable problem of when the EQ turns on and off. i've got to be doing something wrong, but i don't know what it is. i'm following the tips for EQ'ing and notching out frequencies to make room in the spectrum.

AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!! please tell me i'm not the only one frustrated with this. my whole goal is to have everything fit nicely, especially the vocals.
i swear i can listen to any professionaly recorded song and never notice the notches for the vocals. just how do they do it???!!!

sorry about the rant, but i needed to vent.

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Jul 08, 2005 11:19 am

Hey man I totally feel your pain. I think that the main thing that made a difference for me was to take it easy with the notching.

I guess first, only do it if you see (or actually hear) that you need it. I have a hard time remembering that this whole mixing and recording process should be driven entirely by my ears, not what I've read or heard. The stuff that we've all learned here is there to be used if it needs to be, but we don't have to excersize every bit of knowledge on every song. It's a little difficult to keep my grubby hands off the knobs and sliders sometimes and just listen to the song :)

Also, it doesn't take a very wide Q or a very dramatic reduction in dB levels in the notched frequencies to let other instruments shine through. Maybe your Q is too wide, or you're taking too deep of a notch?

Best of luck!

Hold 'Em Czar
Since: Dec 30, 2004

Jul 08, 2005 11:34 am

Maybe your Q is too wide, or you're taking too deep of a notch?

this is exactly what i was thinking....i've had to automate the eq on my vox for this very reason, and i found by easing back on the accual cut, it was far less noticable, and i'd experament with the Q...i was under the impression, the wider the Q the more subtle the effect, but Tadpui has got me thinkin' otherwise now....



hehe i forgot what else i was gonna say....320hz is awfully low, most vocal tracks (presence) sit in the 800hz-3khz range, i usually start cutting at around 300hz....i'm thinkin' your analyzer picked this up because there is alot more energy present in lower frequencies (to an extent) this is why deep bass eats up your headroom so quickly...i'm guessing the same thing is happening with your analyser.

just a good guesser
Since: Oct 04, 2004

Jul 08, 2005 11:53 am

i'm sure you guys are correct, right now when i notch my Q (bandwidth)is 1.0, and i usually cut around 3 to 6 dB's.

WYD, i think you right about the analyzer showing the lower frequency 320hz as the dominant for the exact reason you stated. also thanks for bringing me back home when it comes to using my ears instead of my eyes. now that i think about it i was spending too much time comparing spectrum analyzer displays of different tracks, trying to "see" if i had room. as usual i'm going to take everyone's advice and try it again.............. never giving up!!

jimmie neutron
Since: Feb 14, 2005

Jul 08, 2005 05:11 pm

'nother thing about sound is harmonics. You might have a note at say 440hz (A), and it has all kinds of other frequencies vibrating, such as 220, 880, etc. (the octaves) that are "sympathetic", then you've got the ones that "harmonize" (such as a 3rd, 4th, or 5th note) AND ones that are "dis-harmonic" (terminology may be invented here). All that adds up to the character & quality of a sound. Some of the "sympathetic" sounds get re-inforced and boosted by other factors, such as room construction, material absorbancy, etc... An analyzer can be easy to fool, and will pick up stuff you can't really "hear" sometimes. And, of course, they're only as good as the programmer that wrote the VST made them...

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Jul 08, 2005 07:49 pm

So is there an analyzer that'll show me the frequency spectrum in a linear instead of a logarithmic scale? The logarithmic nature of decibel level at different frequencies just blows my mind.

Related Forum Topics:

If you would like to participate in the forum discussions, feel free to register for your free membership.