Have you ever been mixing a song (maybe trying to get the bass track to sit nicely in the mix), and slowly you start developing a headache?

I’ve been there.

I call it the “headache frequency.”

While it moves around a little bit from song to song, for me the headache frequency tends to live somewhere around 100 Hz.

There’s a cure, but it seems counter-intuitive.

To effectively handle the headache frequency, you first have to understand (I mean really understand) what that frequency sounds like.

See, we tend to have vague notions of what the different frequency ranges sound like. We know that 8 kHz is a “high” frequency. We know that 100 Hz is a “low” frequency. But what about 50 Hz? And 200 Hz? Those are low frequencies too, and they sound VERY different from 100 Hz.

That’s the kicker.

You need to know how 50 Hz differs from 100 Hz and how 100 Hz differs from 200 Hz.

You may think the cure for the headache frequency is to simply find it and cut it with EQ.

That’s one option, but it doesn’t always work. (And it can leave your mix feeling thin and lifeless.)

Another alternative is to boost a nearby frequency, which will cause the headache frequency to seem less prominent.

But before all that, you really need to spend some time training your ears on what each of those low frequencies sound like.

And I’ve got just the thing to help you with that.

My friend Ian Shepherd has a tutorial video series called Home Mastering EQ. I just finished watching the videos last week, and MAN…they’re so good.

I had 3 or 4 major “ah-ha” moments while watching.

Things I could take away and apply immediately to a mix I was working on.

(That’s right, these concepts apply to both mastering and mixing.)

To check it out for yourself, click here:

www.joelikes.com/hmeq

(affiliate link)

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

  • Pablo Papasidero

    What is the “hearing fatigue” frequency? Usually encounter this frequency in mixes with lots of distorted guitars. Sometimes a de-esser (barely ducking the frequency) works, but other times make the guitars sound dull.
    Any other tips?

  • Ben Rico

    I also had a few “aha” moments from that video series. Thanks for the good tip Joe!