What’s the first thing to do when you want more of that big bass sound? “Boost the bass!” with a low shelf EQ filter.

OK, don’t lie. We’ve all done it!

Unfortunately, that’s not the best way to get the full and rich bass sound you want – and it can actually make the bass sound really muddy.

Instead of boosting the bass, try these three counterintuitive tips.

Cut frequencies below 40 Hz.

The lowest note on the bass guitar (low E) only goes down to 41 Hz, so filtering frequencies below that note just helps remove any extra rumble and clear up the lows.

Boost mids for more clarity and tone.

Mid frequencies in the 400-900 Hz range will have a lot of tone and punch from the harmonic frequencies of the bass strings.

Applying a modest boost of select frequencies in this range can help clear up a muddy sounding bass, add more defined musical tone, and could provide some of that extra punch you’re looking for.

Add presence and pop with a high-mids boost.

If your bass player uses a pick or likes to play with a slap-bass style, then making a small boost in the 1-4 kHz range will really make the string sound stand out.

While using EQ to cut frequencies is always the preferred method, don’t be afraid to boost a few frequencies here and there. It can really be effective in making things pop in your mix.

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About the Author

James Wasem

James Wasem is the author of Great Church Sound: A Guide for the Volunteer. James has been designing, installing, and operating sound systems for 20+ years and he has a passion for helping church sound team volunteers deliver great sound.