4 Step Guide to EQing Overhead Mics

Published on 12/10/19 by Joel Proulx

4 Step Guide to EQing Your Overhead Mics

EQing overheads was always a struggle for me early on. Getting my kick and snare sounds was always pretty easy. However when I would add in my overhead mics to the drum sound I felt like the sound of my drum kit went down hill.

I later found that EQing overheads is actually pretty simple! All we have to do is turn our overheads into cymbal mics and get rid of the garbage sounding kick and snare that leaks into our overhead tracks. This will allow our close mics to be the bulk of our drum sound.

This 4 step guide will help you get there…..

Step 1 - Roll Off the Low End

The first step in EQing our overhead mics is to add a high pass filter. Typically you will want to roll everything off up to about 350Hz. This means that we are getting rid of all the frequencies below this point.

This will eliminate all of the horrible sounding low end of the kick drum and the snare that is leaking into your overhead microphones. This is sure to clean your microphones up nicely.

Step 2 - Cut the Boxiness of the Snare Drum

Our next step when EQing our overhead mics is to reduce the boxy sound of the snare drum. This sound is usually found around 500Hz.

Sweep your EQ around to pinpoint this horrible mid range sound and give it a 3 to 6db cut.

This will reduce the sound of the snare in your overhead mics even more and allow your your close snare mic to cut through the mix.

Step 3 - Reduce the Harshness of the Cymbals

Our Cymbals tend to have a harshness in the 3-5k area. Typically we want to reduce these frequencies. If you boost around 4k you can easily hear the awful sound in this frequency range.

A cut in this area will clean your cymbals ups and allow them to sound much more pleasing to our ears.

Make sure you do not cut this area by too much as the cymbals will start to sound unnatural.

Step 4 - Brighten your Cymbals Up

If you notice that your overhead mics start to loose some of their luster by EQing with this method we can always go in and add some brightness at the end.

By adding a high shelf around 12k we can get our cymbals to sparkle and shine. Typical if the mix calls for this I will add boost in this area by about 3db.

Be careful not to boost by too much in this area or your overheads will be overly thin and bright.

Processing Your Overhead Mics as a Whole

The below videos are from by free full mix tutorial. Make sure to check out the whole tutorial to learn more about getting your mixes to sounding better!

Also check out our post on our Full Mix Walk through to learn more.

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