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An Introduction to Equalization - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Equipping Your Home Recording Studio - A free download from Audio Masterclass

An Introduction to Compression: Basic Compression - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Do digital signals degrade at higher levels?

Q: Why do I hear a scratchy sound in my mixing?

When I was his age, that was me!

PSP N2O Chemistry of Sound!

Extreme Auto-Tune effects made easier

An interesting phase problem in drum overheads

Create an amazing trance riser in 7 steps

The difference between minimum-phase and linear-phase EQ on transient signals such as snare drum

Wives in husband calling contest make Shure SM58 distort!

As classic an example of compression pumping as you will ever hear...

High-pass filters, low-pass filters - shouldn't they be low-cut and high-cut?

Whoever invented this stupid terminology should be force fed with Brussels sprouts for a fortnight. Even the 'experts' can get it wrong.

OK quickly now - which band of frequencies does a high-pass filter control?

If you answered correctly within half a second then you have an agile brain indeed. Most of us ordinary folk have to consider carefully before stating that a high-pass filter controls low frequencies.

Yes it does! The more you think about it the more confusing it gets. It's like asking what the right time is when a clock is showing twenty-past but it's forty minutes slow.

A high-pass filter controls low frequencies. High frequencies pass unaltered.

A low-pass filter controls high frequencies. Low frequencies pass unaltered.

Now here is the embarrassing thing. Despite having experience in audio training for almost twenty-four years, we managed to get this wrong in one of our texts.

Specifically we said that a high-pass filter rolls off frequencies above its cut-off frequency. That should of course have been below.

OK, we've eaten Brussels sprouts for a fortnight, and corrected the error.

But we do humbly suggest that it's the terminology that is wrong. We suggest the following...

A low-cut filter controls low frequencies.

A high-cut filter controls high frequencies.

This terminology makes it clear what the filter does that makes a difference, rather than what would happen even if the filter were not inserted into the signal chain.

Now, if only we can get everyone else to agree...

By David Mellor Friday February 26, 2010