Drums cover a wide range of frequencies that stretch from the low frequencies of the kick drum, the mid-range punch of the toms, the high end snap of the snare drum and the sizzle of the cymbals. It is especially useful to know the frequency range of each drum when recording or mixing drums. This knowledge will allow you to equalize each drum to emphasize or de-emphasize the frequencies that make up its sound.
A kick drum stretches from approximately 50 Hz to 8 KHz. Emphasizing the frequency range around 80 to 100 Hz with an equalizer will add more low end to a kick drum. Reducing the frequency range between 200 Hz and 250 Hz will take away the boominess of a kick drum, preventing it from cluttering up a mix. In addition to this, reducing the frequency range between 300 and 600 Hz will take away the "cardboard" or "boxy" sound of a kick drum. Finally, boosting around 2.5 KHz to 4 KHz will enhance the attack of a kick drum and allow it to cut through a dense mix.
A snare drum stretches from approximately 100 Hz to 10 KHz. Because of this, you can de-emphasize, or roll off, the frequencies below 100 Hz with an equalizer to get rid of unwanted low frequency rumble. Emphasizing or de-emphasizing the frequency range around 150 Hz can add or take away body from a snare drum. De-emphasize the frequencies between 500 and 800 Hz to take away the boxiness of a snare drum. Boosting above 2 to 4 KHz will enhance the attack of a snare drum.
Toms stretch from approximately 70 Hz to 7 KHz. Boosting between 80 Hz and 120 Hz with an equalizer will enhance the fullness of floor toms. Boosting between 240 Hz and 400 Hz will enhance the fullness of rack toms. De-emphasizing the frequencies between 300 and 600 Hz will take away the boxy sound of toms. Boosting above 5 KHz will add attack to toms.
Cymbals stretch from approximately 200 Hz to 18 KHz. De-emphasizing or rolling off the frequencies below 200 or 250 Hz with an equalizer will remove the low-end rumble from cymbal microphones. Boosting above 7 KHz will add brightness, air and shimmer to cymbals.
- Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images