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What slope should I be using when I roll off?

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I read that using too steep of a slope on digital EQ's can cause problems, so what would be too steep? I generally use 18db slopes, but would 24db be ok?


Short Answer: Whatever sounds right.


Long Answer: Whhhhaaaaaaaaaaattttttttteeeeeeevvvvvvvvveeeeerrrrr Soooouuuunnnndssssss Riiiiighhhht.


Longer Answer: First of all, make your you need to be cutting in the first place. Don't listen to any 'low-cut everything but the bass and kick drum' voodoo. Those frequencies in some sample, recording or synth could be the difference between it sounding organic and full versus thin and bland.


Regarding your question specifically, using a filter cut will inadvertently boost other frequencies in the sound. A 12dB/oct filter will remove less, but also boost less frequencies. A 24dB/oct shelf will dramatically reduce frequencies, but also build-up a lot of frequencies near the cutoff point.


This can work to your advantage, or against it. Pretending we're a cheesy EDM producer, and are trying to dampen the low shelf of a kick drum to make room for a deep subbass (that we created with a VA or analogue synth because we don't understand that a digital synth will produce consistent frequency results across the spectrum). We use a 24dB/oct cut in the low shelf, and our sub 80hertz frequencies are carved off like a turkey roast, yet our 80-120 hertz frequencies are boosted dramatically. This is great, because our kick samples' natural boomyness and punchiness happen to lie in that frequency range.


Then, we do the same thing on our subbass, with a 30 hertz cut because we read somewhere that humans can't hear below 20 hertz or something and somehow this means we should kill everything below that value. Suddenly, with that slope alone we're clipping by over six decibels, and have no clue why as we didn't bother to learn what the EQ is actually doing. We then spend the night drinking cheap Smirnoff from the bottle, sobbing over our inability to make good music like Deadmau5/Madeon/Skrillex/Insert artist of choice here.


Use your ears.

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