I’m a beatmaker. Do you cut the super low frequency range during mastering?

Whether or not to cut the ultra-low frequency range during mastering depends on various factors, such as the purpose of the project, the genre of the music, and the medium of distribution (e.g., CD, streaming, vinyl).

Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Significance of Ultra-low Frequencies: In some genres, particularly Electronic Dance Music and Hip-Hop, the ultra-low frequency range can play an important role. In such cases, cutting these frequencies excessively may not be advisable.
  2. Audio Quality: Some lower-quality audio systems or speakers may not be able to accurately reproduce the ultra-low frequency range. In such situations, it may be beneficial to cut these frequencies to ensure a more consistent listening experience across various systems.
  3. Headroom and Clipping: During mastering, you may need to increase the overall volume of the track. Ultra-low frequencies can eat up headroom and cause clipping or distortion when this is done. Careful adjustment or cutting of these frequencies may be necessary in this scenario.
  4. Purpose and Medium: For vinyl records, too much in the ultra-low range can cause issues during the pressing process. Similarly, for streaming, especially at lower data rates, ultra-low frequencies may be lost or poorly reproduced.

The specific frequencies to be cut can vary from one project to another. Generally speaking, frequencies below 20Hz are often cut because they are mostly inaudible to humans. However, these ultra-low frequencies can sometimes have a ‘felt’ impact on a track or mix, so there’s no absolute rule.

Communication with a mastering engineer can help ensure the best results for your particular project.