Eq'ing a Quick Blurb

Oct 28, 2013 00:00 · 472 words · 3 minute read Mixing Music

EQ’ing is, in my opinion, one of the trickiest things to get right when it comes to music. When I was first introduced I did the things that most people do when they get their hands on a eq: giving instruments ridiculous amounts of boosts to “sound” better, trying to find problem frequencies by boosting a narrow band and sweeping, and soloing the channel while I was doing this. I’m writing this down to solidify some of the things I’ve been trying to engrain in myself as of recent and hopefully this helps someone else out there. The first issues is the amount of boosting. Start thinking about how much frequency real estate you are dealing with when it comes to mix down. Even if you were conservative and had a small mix of lets say 10 tracks you would be overloading the listener if you just played all these tracks at once with no eq. Start thinking of mixing like creating a jigsaw. Instruments need a frequency range to live in by themselves which means we should be doing a lot of cutting with our eq’s. This lets you audibly each instruments instead of them being masked by each other. Which slowly leads into the second point, stop sweeping with boosting frequencies to find where you should cut. Doing this never turned good results for me but I kept thinking I was just doing it wrong until I came across a piece of advice that helped immensely. Bypass your plugin place so you can’t hear the effect then place where you think the cut should be then turn the plugin on. Effectively you are A/B’ing the result but this gets you using your ears better and helps you understand better the effects of cutting a certain frequency or what widening the q “sounds” like. Your goal is to internalize what you are doing so you can tell how things will sound before they happen. This way you’ll be able to say things like “That kick could use a wide q cut at around 300”. After using this technique I’ve found my mixes sit much better together and I’ve been happier with the results. But this is also in part with the third point which is stay away from that solo button. EQ’ing with solo is useless when you can’t hear the effect it has on the mix as a whole. When you solo it, it will sound great until you put everything else back in the mix. Try EQ’ing with the mix as a whole and then solo the instrument and I guarantee that you will think that instrument sounds like garbage on it’s own. Anyways these are just a few little tips that have been helping me with my mixes I hope someone else can get some use out them.