Creative Low Pass and High Pass Filtering with McDSP’s F202 FilterBank Plug-In

McDSP Filterbank

In the following article and video tutorial, Groove3 video instructor Eli Krantzberg gets creative with Low Pass and High Pass filtering by combining the subtractive function and the additive function of both McDSP’s F202 Filterbank plug-in and the Channel EQ in Logic Pro X.

Creative Low Pass and High Pass Filtering with McDSP’s F202 FilterBank Plug-In

Lately I’ve been re-discovering the simple pleasures of low pass and high pass filtering with McDSP’s F202 FilterBank plug-in. It’s a deceptively simple plug-in to use. The controls are straightforward, but the creative possibilities come from pushing McDSPs parameter ranges in unconventional ways. Add their unique saturation algorithms that kick in when you overdrive the gain, and you’ve got something really interesting!

If you don’t have McDSP’s FilterBank plug-in, you can use the Logic Pro X Channel EQ’s high- and low-pass filters with excellent results as well. The Channel EQ usually launches with them off by default. They are easily activated by clicking on their respective on/off icons at the far left and right sides above the graphic display.

The basic idea with these types of EQ’s is to filter out everything below (hi-pass) and above (low-pass) the frequency points you set. The slope control determines how steeply or gradually the surrounding frequencies are effected. And the Q control (called Peak in Filterbank) determines the steepness of the peak right at the cut-off frequency.

Now, the textbook use for these type of filters is to remove unwanted areas of the frequency spectrum from whatever track you are EQ’ing, in order to free up that specific sonic area of the frequency spectrum for other instrument’s whose fundamental frequencies occupy it. For example, we could filter out the low harmonics of a hi-hat or flute or female vocal so as to leave more headroom in the low frequencies for the bass or kick drum or guitar chords. We could filter out the higher harmonics that might be generated by bass drums and basses to leave more for the lead guitar or keyboards.

But where these types of EQ’s get really interesting is when you combine the subtractive function with their inherent additive function. In other words, using the peak that you generate right at the cut-off frequency to really emphasize that area of the frequency spectrum while cutting off what is directly below or above.

We wouldn’t normally think to cut the lows away from a kick drum. But by cutting below a set frequency while boosting directly at the cut-off point you can enhance the lows nicely while still leaving room underneath for bass, for example. Similarly up high, you can boost at around 9Khz or so and really brighten the hi-hat and cymbals, while filtering off the frequencies above and leaving room for the “air” in a lead vocal or vocal reverb.

Creative Low Pass and High Pass Filtering – Video

In the following video I’ve got a simple factory Apple Loop playing with an electric bass part (played on Trilian from Spectrasonics). I’ve EQ’d both the drum loop and the bass with McDSPs F202 plug-in, which is comprised of a high pass and low pass band, and Logic Pro’s Channel EQ set with the high and low pass bands set to approximately the same parameters. I’ve left all EQ inputs and outputs at unity, so as not to colour the comparison between the two by introducing McDSP’s great sounding saturation.

The high pass bands are set to boost their peaks at different frequencies so the kick and the bass can have their own space. The kick is set at 71 hz and the bass at 53 hz. It’s not uncommon to place kick drum peaks below the bass peaks. I did the opposite, boosting the bass below the kick, both to demonstrate the versatility of FilterBank (and Channel EQ) and because I happened to like it better in this particular case!

The low pass bands on the drum loop are set to peak at 9Khz, which gives some nice sizzle to the top end, but leaves sonic room higher up for other potential instruments or vocals that might need it. The low-pass band on the bass is set to cut off and peak at 2Khz. This gives a nice upper midrange boost to the attack of each note, and cuts off harmonics above it to free up the space for other instruments.

I’ll solo each instrument, bypassing each of the EQs one at a time so you can compare; and then show them with both instruments playing together. They both do an excellent job. But IMHO, McDSP’s FilterBank “sings” in a way that is difficult to match with any other EQ! What do you think?

Watch the video:

filtering with McDSP Filterbank

If you’d like to learn more about how to use EQ and/or McDSP’s range of plug-ins and how to use them, Eli’s got you covered with these Groove3 video tutorials, including free sample videos:

McDSP Plug-ins Explained

EQ Explained

Eli Krantzberg
Follow Eli

Eli Krantzberg

Apple Certified Pro Eli Krantzberg is an internationally known author and music software trainer for Groove3. His instructional videos have helped demystify music software such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Sonar, BFD, Melodyne, and Kontakt for thousands of users all over the world. Based in Montreal, Canada, Eli is involved in all aspects of audio production. In his studio he works with various artists, as well as on commercial jingles, corporate videos, and original music composition.
Eli Krantzberg
Follow Eli

Related Posts:

Tags: , , , ,

Follow Logic Pro Expert