Even what we CALL a tool can fall into this dogma trap.
Take for instance one of my biggest recording pet peeves. There’s a hardware process we use to help remove ultra-low frequency noise from our recording chain. It can sometimes be found on our interface, sometimes on a mixer or preamp, or even directly on the mic itself. It’s a godsend for reducing a little rumbling or buzzing in our audio.
What is this magic process called?
More to the point, the term “High Pass” is just obnoxiously imprecise. What does the tool do? It reduces low frequency sound, often starting the roll off around 80Hz. Even more aggressive filters rarely creep above 160Hz, still nice and deep. The mid range and high end are both left intact and largely unaffected. Is it a “Mid and High Pass Filter”? No. Just a “High Pass”, which makes it sound like the filter should be working on the high end of the EQ, that the filter is affecting the upper bands, which it absolutely is NOT doing.
Why are we naming filters based on what the filter ISN’T doing?
It’s just so passive aggressive. If I were to walk into a studio and have the following exchange with an engineer:
Me: Hey Mr. Engineer, what part of the EQ are you cutting there?I’d probably never work with that studio ever again. Communication is already hard enough. We’d despise working with someone who defined everything they do by what they’re NOT doing. Even the lunch order would be miserable.
Engineer: Not the highs!
Me: Hey Mr. Engineer, what do you want for lunch today?So, as we approach a new year, with all new possibilities, it’s time. Time to let go of this backwards way of defining what happens when we flip the switch on our mixers and mics.
Engineer: Not tapioca pudding!
It’s time for the Low Cut filter to reign supreme.