Managing Top End in a mix


New member
Not looking for any rules here but how do you go about managing the top end of your mixes? I find a lot of mine end up with a harsh sounding bite on the snare, hat, (any transient instruments). I don't think rolling off top on mix buss is the answer but just interested to hear your thoughts.


Ive been down this road before. The problem is usually with the room treatment. If it sounds good when youre mixing it, then you take it to another room and the top end is harsh, then your mix position is underrepresenting the top end, which causes you to add more of it than you need.

If you have a less than ideal mixing room, you can use a spectrum analyzer to help you see what's going on. If your high end is showing higher than the rest of your mix, it's too loud.

Two tips I can give you is this. 1, getting good top end isnt always about adjusting the top end on the sounds you want it to sound good on, it's about cutting high end from tracks that don't need it. I very often throw a quick low pass filter on each sound I'm doing just to see how it it sounds without top end, and a lot of times theres excess highs that don't need to be there. This works on lots of synths and basses. All it takes is a low pass on one or two sounds you didn't even know we're causing a problem to transform a mix.

2. I often reach for harmonic plugins to get more top end than eq. One of my favorites to use is vitamin. Something about boosting the top end with a harmonics plugin gets me a smoother top end than just using eq. If you're gonna use eq, try using one that boosts the super high frequencies, like 22k. A lot of times you can get the top end sheen and presence you want by boosting the super highs, without having to boost the harsh frequencies.