Fundamental Frequency Chart: Indispensible EQ Tool
Last night I recorded a bass track for my song “I Am”. I was meticulous about setting up mics; an SM57 and Beta52 about an inch off the grill, each centered on a speaker cone with a Rode large condenser at ear level set up in the best-sounding spot in the room. I dialed in the perfect tone for the song – super meaty since the bass line carries the song in the verses. I laid down the track and started a little preliminary mixing.
On listening back, it was readily apparent I had a problem. It was the first time I’d recorded an instrument in the “big room” in our studio and while there was a cool ambience I was shooting for, there were some obvious frequency issues! For starters, every time I hit a G it stood way out over the other notes. Plus, there were a couple other notes that were noticeably softer than the rest of the track.
What’s a recordist to do in a situation like this? Isolate the offending frequencies and tame them with EQ. More easily said than done…UNLESS you have a handy frequency chart to tell you what the fundamental is for the note you’re trying to tone down. You could use the “sweep method”, where you sweep through the frequency spectrum with a high Q (narrow bandwidth) until you hear where that note is more pronounced – but that can be time-consuming and you might end up not quite centered on the actual fundamental frequency you’re attempting to domesticate.
A much quicker and more accurate method is to just look up the fundamental frequency for the note on a chart. Trouble last night was, I didn’t have the chart! It took me a while to find, even with 3G, but I tracked down a graphic showing a full piano keyboard with the precise fundamental frequency for each note. Since it took me so long, I thought I would pass it along to you to save you the trouble!
Without further ado, I present you with an indispensible tool. If you ever need to cut or boost a particular note, now you don’t have to search forever to isolate it. Just punch the frequency into your EQ, narrow the Q and go!