I know this has been discussed all around, but I still see people with this question all the time. And I always answer: depends on the use.
Let me explain (it’s pretty simple).
I use EQ before compressing to reduce or eliminate frequencies that are not useful for that specific sound (for example, a low or high pass). This helps the compressor work better, because those frequencies can trigger the compressor when I don’t intend it to be triggered, making it work in a more clear and efficient way. So I usually use “clear” EQs to do this, the ones that doesn’t have too much of a caracter, are more precise and don’t have a specific sound characteristic (like the one that comes on Logic X, or the Fabfilter ProQ2)
In the other scenario, EQ after the compressor, I use whenever I want and/or need to shape the sound and it’s timber. Whenever I want to add a little of this, cut a little of that (or a lot), chance the presence, perception, warmth of the sound. In other words: when I want to play with the texture of the sound I’m mixing. For this, equalizers that have a character are more interesting: they add “that” thing we want to the sound (like all the analog emulators made by UAD, Waves, etc etc etc).
Well, in a simpler way: EQ before is used to clean; EQ after is used to shape.
That’s why, most times, I use both of them (specially when I’m mixing digitally, and don’t have the limitations on the number of EQs I can use).
Hope this can help! 🙂
Mauricio Ruiz – www.mauricioruiz.me