Simple EQ Tip To Make Your Drums Sound Better

Simple EQ Tip To Make Your Drums Sound Better

Does your drums sound boxy or cardboard’ish? No problem. Use EQ to cut 400Hz area and voilà – instant improvement. Some of you probably already knew how to handle this issue, but I thought it was important to bring out this as the enhancement is usually quite significant and easy to accomplish.

How much to cut and how wide Q or bandwidth you should use is up to the material you have (and up to your ears), but here’s a live example: it’s one of my own drum sequences and I’m using Fruity Parametric EQ 2 and peaking filter with a bandwidth of 40% and -5dB cut.

Here’s the original beat (without the 400Hz cut):

And here’s WITH the 400Hz cut:

Thanks to Joe Gilder and his awesome blog where I found this tip!


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  1. Max Golovanov on

    Wow! This is def an amazing trick which I’ve never known yet!

    Petri, THX for info!

  2. El3ctronicPunk on

    Hey Petri, can you do a tutorial on doing a house remix or some dance song, or even just the basics of remixing, please! 🙂

      • El3ctronicPunk on

        PLEASEEEE PETRI!!! i bet alot of people on here will appreciate this so much 🙂 your tutorials are incredible and im sure this one will help many people as well!

  3. El3ctronicPunk on

    PLEASEEEE PETRI!!! i bet alot of people on here will appreciate this so much 🙂

  4. Hello Petri, i have a question.
    You add FPEQ2 to Master channel yeah?
    You drop the EQ to master cus its a example with drums only? its better to drums or i can drop to the master channel on my projects too?
    I dont understand a lot about equalization, if you have some link with some hints can you post it?
    Thank you!

    • Hey there!

      Yeah, I’m using it in master channel because it’s just example only..

      In real situation, you could add the PEQ2 to a single instrument mixer tracks like kick, snare, hihat etc or to a track where you have grouped all the separate instrument tracks to.

  5. It is important to note that EQ is so subjective that it is never a static rule to follow.
    Of course there are specific areas to EQ to clear up sounds, but that depends on the mix dynamic.

    Which other sounds have the same freq. area? Are they clashing? Are you using heavy sounds? Light sounds? The drums in your sample are heavy and dirty. Thin and simple sounding kick / snares would maybe not require the same treatment.

    When you add more things into the mix, the whole dynamic changes.

    I would also add subtractive EQ over additive! Almost always 🙂

    Good tip friend.

    • Hey Jamie, and thanks for your valuable comment, I appreciate that!

      Even though this tutorial was mostly about how to get rid of that cardboard sound (which is quite often in that specific frequency area), what you said about EQ’ing is so true: it’s very subjective matter and I think I should have emphasized that more in my tutorial.

      I also agree that it’s better practice to cut than boost: “Emphasize one frequency range by DE-emphasizing another one” (quote from Joe Gilder’s article). Makes sense.

      Personally, I’ve found I end up boosting things quite a lot, but it could be that my monitors aren’t positioned quite right… need to check those.

      Thanks again!


  6. Hey! i have a problem, when i play the project that i have made, the kick is like hiding from the other sounds, i want the good kick + bass sound, it feels like the melodi is taking over controll. What can i do to improve my kick? and do u know how to make the bass sound really deep and nice? what effects i can use and so?

    • sa de dj on


      First of all if choosing good samples from the start,
      I don’t think you have to do much But a little compression
      And a bit of eQ will do, try getting Good sounding
      Samples or train yourself to adjust volumes


  7. I am going to use this trick on my GOOD VIBES beat that I made. the like is here,, take a listen. I always watch your tutorials on random occasions and I make hip hop but essentially I use the same theories. but I also wanted to tell everyone on this blog, that the fact that we get to experience help from a professional is by far the best thing. it is very appreciated and I love people who give back to the community and share.

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