All great songs fill out the frequency spectrum. It is one of the three major dimensions that every producer should utilize to ensure their track sounds professional, full, and complete. When there are gaps in the frequency range, your song will sound thin, as if it’s missing something (because it is).
Since the frequency range is so crucial to achieving a professional sound, I’ve scoured the internet for the best resources I’ve ever found. Some are recent, others I first discovered years ago. But if it’s on this page, it’s highly useful and can help you learn where the instruments tend to sit. Once you know where instruments go in the frequency range you can begin choosing sounds that play well together, as well as learn how to EQ problem zones that interfere with each other.
An Interactive Chart
Some years ago, I stumbled upon a frequency chart that you could mouse over and it would show you the varieties of instruments and what part of the frequency range they covered. The chart detailed fundamental frequencies for different instruments, what range overtones and formants resided, and what areas to boost or cut depending on the result you wanted. The full chart can be found at independentrecording.net, and below is a screenshot. Much attention to detail!
As you can see in the image above, different instruments occupy different frequencies. When using different instruments together in a composition, you need to be cognizant of whether your sounds will overlap or not. If they overlap, you will hear muddiness, and your song will lack clarity. By carefully choosing your sounds at the source, (in our case, probably a synth patch), you can prevent your elements from interfering with each other and you’ll have a much easier time getting a clean mix.
EQing Cheat Sheet
Another great resource for understanding frequencies and working with them via EQing is this cheat sheet created by Frederic Villemin. It includes a glossary of terms, what bands to cut or boost for a desired effect, and helpful suggestions.
Yet Another Chart
Last but not least, there is a third frequency chart which I’ve come across, though I’m not quite sure where I found it. It’s simply another look at the frequency range and where instruments sit, and how to EQ them to bring out their sounds.