20 EQ Tips | #Mixing


So, today I was looking at my Safari Reading List, to see what I had for studying and keep on track of my readings, and I donut this interesting post, by MusicTech.net, called 20 EQ Tips. I’m not a big fan os lists, but sometimes posts like this are a great way to get some interesting technique pills and remind us some stuff that, although we know, we kind of let them behind.

So, from this 20 tips list, I have separated some I most enjoyed to share here with you. If you wanna see them all, just click here to read the article!


It’s the Ensemble That Matters
In a dense or complex arrangement, you may well find that two or more elements of a track are fighting to occupy the same frequency space. It might be impossible to EQ them to sound the same as they originally did and still make enough space for both of them. One trick is to EQ them in slightly different directions while keeping them sounding good in the context of a track. 

This doesn’t necessarily have to be extreme; for example, you could make one guitar part more bass-heavy and one more top-heavy. Solo’d up, they might sound odd, but the main thing is that they sit well in the context of the track. If there are parts of a track where a sound plays solo or with less accompaniment, you can always automate the EQ to behave differently at those points, or duplicate the track and treat it separately.

Order matters
As with any effect used as an insert, the point at which you apply EQ can have an effect on the end results. Imagine you applied an EQ that cut out a lot of bottom end, and then in the next insert slot applied a compressor. That would cause the compressor to behave in a specific way because it would be compressing a signal without much bass end. If the EQ was applied after the compressor, the EQ would be working on the compressed sound – the full frequency spectrum – rather than the compressor working on the EQ’d sound. The differences can be subtle or more noticeable, depending on the plug-ins you are using. If you are using EQ in your DAW’s mixer, rather than as a plug-in, be aware of what path the signal is taking on its journey from timeline to speakers.

Less Can Be More
Different EQ modules and plug-ins have different numbers of bands, and when they do you can often switch different bands on or off. Normally, you might find anything from two to 30 bands available to you.

There are cases where you need to be specific and try to isolate a certain frequency that can be found only by using a 30-band model, but more often than not, around six might be a good number to use.

This stops you from over-complicating what need only be a fairly simple task. Sometimes, you might only need to use a high or low shelf, which involves just one EQ e5-913x1024.pngpoint, for the purposes of rolling off top or bottom end. When you start getting into 30-band territory, it can be overkill.

Strip It Back
When EQ’ing a whole track during mastering, some people like to start by knocking off the bottom end so that they can hear the middle and top in isolation. They adjust the lower and upper mids to get the sound good and firm, and the top so that it is bright but controlled. Then, bringing the bottom end back in will bolster the overall sound and you can EQ it accordingly.

This stops you focusing too much on the bass end all the way through the EQ process. Of course, the end goal is a perfectly balanced sound, and how you go about it is less important than achieving it. Remember not to use EQ to compensate for volume – that should be done with compression, or multiband compression if necessary.

Make space for competing sounds
When EQ’ing during mixing, there are tricks to make elements in a similar frequency range sit together. The kick drum and the bass are two things that often get in each other’s way, so you could try cutting one at a specific frequency and boosting another at exactly the same frequency.

You need to try to avoid situations where you have two EQ modules boosting at the exact same frequency. Ideally, you should create a space for each instrument to live in within the mix. Sidechained compression can also be used effectively here.

Choose An EQ Type
Parametric EQ is the kind that may come as part of your DAW, and offers a number of bands and usually the ability to draw in EQ points with the mouse and make Q settings. Graphic EQ is more often – though not exclusively – found in hardware form, and features a large number of physical sliders that can be used to control the shape of the sound. Linear Phase EQ is found only in software form, and allows EQ’ing without colouration of the sound.

e1-1024x813.pngI guess, the most important thing, obviously, is finding the right sound. I always try to remember: doesn’t matter if the EQ. curve looks odd, it’s about how it sounds. Even with greater cuts or boosts, or a strange Q choice, what matters is how that sound sits on the track. Because in the end (and we gotta always remember this), nobody will know what EQ. you’ve used, to if the plugin looks beautiful or not, or if the equalization curves “looked right”; what matters is how it sounds to people. It’s always about that, never forget.

Hope this could help you in some way.

Mauricio Ruiz – www.mauricioruiz.me

(all images are from the original article)

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