5 Metal Mixing Myths You Shouldn’t Believe In

There are many ways and means to achieve a powerful and aggressive metal sound. On the other hand, there are also at least as many myths that have formed around the production of a metal song.

I have compiled a list with some of these myths and would like to debunk them in this video:


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Myth No. 1: low and high pass on everything

The idea of using a high-pass or low-pass filter to remove unnecessary or distracting information from a signal is not fundamentally wrong in a mix situation. Nevertheless, it now seems to be almost common practice to automatically apply a high- or low-pass filter to certain signals (e.g. guitars). The risk of using additional or redundant filters is that information is lost and the respective signal loses depth.
Therefore: Rely on your ears and check whether the use of a high or low pass filter is really necessary.

Use of a low/high-pass filter
Use of a high/low pass filter

Myth No. 2: high gain = more metal

The metal genre is almost synonymous with the use of heavily distorted guitars. However, too much distortion can also harm the guitar sound. Especially with lower tunings (e.g. drop C), too much distortion leads to a sound that misses attack and gets muddy in the low frequencies, which also makes the guitars sound less aggressive. To find a sweet spot that suits the equipment and playing style, you can experiment with different amp settings as well as the use of a clean boost.

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Myth No. 3: mid scoop conspiracy

One of the oldest and best-known myths is probably the “mid scoop conspiracy”. The assumption that for a heavy metal guitar sound the mids should be cut at the amplifier is not completely made up of thin air. The theory is based on the behavior of the passive EQs that were built into traditional tube amps like the Marshall Plexi or JCM800. While these EQs made the sound seem a bit more aggressive, the EQs in modern amps or amp simulations behave as one would expect. Therefore, some caution is advised when lowering the mids, since a too weak mid frequency range can quickly make the guitars sound indirect and less “attacky”.

Myth No. 4: turn your amp to 11

The feeling of standing in front of a loud amplifier on stage is, of course, fantastic. In a recording situation, however, it can be useful to turn down the master output of the amplifier a bit so that the power amp does not distort too much. Since distortion mainly originates in the preamp or channel, an amp turned up too loud often results in a diffuse and muddy sound with little attack. Every amp has a certain “sweet spot” that needs to be found.

Finding the sweet spot of the amplifier
Finding the sweet spot of the amplifier

Myth No. 5: bass doesn’t matter

The role of the bass guitar is often underestimated in metal. In some productions, you might even get the impression that there is very little difference when the bass is muted. However, especially together with the guitars, the bass plays an important role by thickening them in the low frequencies. Even if it doesn’t take a key role in every song, the bass should be given a bit more importance.

Here you can find more 5 myths in metal mixing


Dennis Ward
Dennis Ward
Dennis Ward has been working at HOFA-Studios and HOFA-College for many years. He plays bass at Magnum, is a former band member of Pink Cream 69 and engineered and produced bands like Helloween, Krokus, AXXIS, Angra, Primal Fear and many more. named him “Producer of the Year” and the album “Angra”, that he produced in the HOFA-Studios has been awarded “Production of the Year” (Burrn! Magazine).

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