Mixing Conga & Sitar– EQ, Panning, Compression and Reverb

Conga is a wonderful piece of percussion instrument with its unique tribal sound. In this tutorial you will learn the methods on how to mix conga and apply EQ, panning, compression and reverb.

Analyzing the frequencies of Conga

Before formulating the conga best EQ and compression settings, you need to analyze the underlying sound characteristics of a conga sound. I do not have a conga. So I download a sample clip of conga sound here (Conga beat 2 and the last audio sample)

The downloaded conga audio was a mp3 file in 11025Hz sample rate and 16-bits for the bit depth. So I did some audio upsampling to 48 KHz, 24-bits using Voxengo R8brain. See the result below for the conga musical instrument frequency analysis:

Congra spectrum view

Congra spectrum view

This is the raw conga sound (no effects applied):

Some interesting results:

1.) The fundamental frequency of conga can be found around 200Hz.
2.) It has some harmonics; notably at 400Hz and 700Hz.

To better analyze conga sound, you need to isolate the lower and higher frequency component of a conga. For example this is the lower frequency component:

And this is the frequency spectrum:

Congra spectrum confirmed

Congra spectrum confirmed

It confirms that the center low frequency component of a conga sound is around 200Hz.

Now let’s take a look at its higher frequency component, this is the sample MP3:

And this is the spectrum:

Frequency analysis of conga high-end

Frequency analysis of conga high-end

It confirms that harmonics of 400Hz and 700Hz are important higher frequencies to conga.

Panning Conga in the Mix – Example Application

Supposing you are including conga in your percussion mix with bass drum and cymbals; this is how the mix would look like in Reaper:

reaper conga mix

reaper conga mix

First, the following instruments have the following panning settings:

Bass drum – center
Conga- 12% Right
Cymbals – 12% left

Although panning settings for conga depends on the music. It can be panned anywhere in the mix. For best results, you need to pan conga near the center. For more information about panning drums, read more details here: How to pan drum instruments