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What are "Hi, Mid & Low" knobs on a DJ Mixer?

To explain what the 'Hi', 'Mid', and 'Low' knobs on a DJ mixer are, and why we need them, we need to understand what 'sound' is. 'Sound' in physics, is a vibration that propagates an acoustic wave. These waves are picked up by our eardrums, then the information is sent to our brain. Acoustic waves that have frequencies that lie between about 20Hz and 20 kHz; the audio frequency range, are the only waves that elicit an auditory precept in human beings. So, in simple terms, 'Hi', 'Mid', and 'Low' knobs, also known as 'EQ' knobs (Equalizer) control different frequency ranges of sound.)

The "Low" knob on a DJ mixer controls the lower frequency range of sound. The frequency range starting from 0 Hz to 300 Hz is considered as lower frequency. In this frequency range, we have the two most important aspects of the music; the Bassline & Kick. This is considered the most important part of the song as it adds energy & groove to the whole composition. Without this frequency, the song wouldn't really feel alive. It is the Bass & the Beat which make the audience move on the dance floor.

The "Mid" knob which is short for "Middle Frequency" of the sound, controls the frequency range from 300 Hz to 2000 Hz. In this frequency range, we have our vocals & melodies of the song. These are vital parts of a song. So if you cut or boost the knob in the mixer, one of the most vital aspects of your song will be compromised. This knob controls how the audience feels, sings along, or hums to the melody of the song.

The "Hi" knob which is short for "High" frequency of sound, controls the frequency range starting from 2000 Hz to 20,000 Hz. This frequency is essentially the light and life of the song. This frequency range adds a crisp or bright soul to the music. The 'high' knob also controls a few drum instruments; like the hi-hats, ride, cymbals & snare, etc.

If you cut the Hi knob on the mixer, you will notice the higher elements of the drums getting cut out. Moreover, when you cut the Hi knob, you will feel like you're listening to a song on a very old speaker. As you bring the knob to the neutral point, you'll feel the brightness/crispness of the song coming back. So, the 'Hi' knob controls the brightness of the music in a visual sense.

We've understood the aspects of music that each of these knobs control. Now we have to use it to our advantage while transitioning from one song to another. A common mistake that a lot of beginners make while learning DJing by themselves is that we don't really know which knob to cut or boost while mixing. So let's look at the 'where' and 'how' of using the EQ knobs while DJing.

A rule of thumb we hope our students at Destiny School of DJing learn is to understand why mixing or playing two songs together without cutting the lower frequency (Low knob) of any one song, is not a good idea. That's because the low frequency is what gives a song energy and brings the song to life with its bass and kick.

When we bring two songs into the mix without cutting the low frequency of either song, the lower frequency range on your master speakers will lend you a muddy mix. The bass frequency of the two songs will fight for the spotlight in the mix. This will not only kill the bass groove of your song but will also leave your audience on the dance floor confused. The mix might also get distorted and even affect the sub-woofers sometimes.

To avoid these issues, a simple solution is to cut the low frequency of the second track while trying to bring it into the mix. You might wonder which song's low frequency to cut first. There is no set rule to this. It completely depends on you. Learning this skill requires practicing mixing, and working on your creative side of mixing songs, the more you practice your skill the better you understand.

If you have questions please comment down below. If you want to learn the art of DJing, you can always opt to our hands on 1-on-1 online classes. To know more please contact us!

We are uploading free basic DJ tutorials on our YouTube channel. Do check out to learn more about DJing


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