Jump to content

The do's and don'ts of EQ


Recommended Posts

"Best practices":

  • Fix the levels first
  • Strongly prefer cut to boost
  • If you need to make more than 3dB of adjustments, your sound probably has major flaws that EQ can't fix
  • Always make adjustments in the mix, not solo
  • Get to know the frequency ranges' relationships to your sound palette of choice - you may be surprised what ranges each occupies (e.g. good hi hats often have a decent amount of low-mids)

Tricks:

  • If you're trying to make a sound less painful, crank the boost up, turn the bandwidth fairly low, and sweep through the offending area until it tangibly hurts your ears. Then start cutting.
  • Shelf EQs are basically low or high pass filters with dry/wet mix. Parametric EQs are basically bandpass filters with dry/wet mix. Therefore other filter tricks (e.g. pinging) can be creatively used with EQ as well.
  • King Tubby fucking rules
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) I used to wonder how certain tunes could have multiple snares or layers of percussion (or even kicks) that didn't interfere with each other. Answer was that they occupied different frequency ranges. So I used to mess around with like two sets of hi-hats that were bandpass-filtered at different frequencies. 

2) some eq's are clinical, some are vibe-ier. Oh god it's been so long I forget the types of eq, but for (e.g.) making kicks thumpier and more resonant, the console-type eq's (knobs-not-slidèrs where you set frequency, set width/'q', set cut/boost) are much smoother.

Edited by LimpyLoo
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Random thoughts :

  • Listen in context and react.
  • Adjust several instruments / EQ instances at the same time.
  • Secure the low end first (usually it opens up everything else)
  • Shelves are often much more musical and useful than HPF/LPF
  • EQ notes : make room for that D#4, put that harmony in the foreground etc...
  • Boosting is super fun
  • Rebalance rather than correct
  • Close your eyes 
  • Ignore all that and trust your guts

Also, I've been testing navigating the spectum following http://www.balancemastering.com/finishingtracks/how-to-tutorial-significance-of-632Hz-part-2/ and it's incredibly fast and musical.

Edited by Nil
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, sweepstakes said:
  • If you're trying to make a sound less painful, crank the boost up, turn the bandwidth fairly low, and sweep through the offending area until it tangibly hurts your ears. Then start cutting.

Rather than boosting then cutting, I'd suggest to directly cut, drastically if needed, then to adjust the gain and Q. I find it much, much more useful as you directly hear the room you create.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(Cant say im an expert, mixing is hard but) if you loose the vibe, musicality, spirit and goosebumps of a track, press undo and try it again (maybe in a ''less is more'' fashion)

The most important thing is musical impact, mixing and EQ should follow whatever the piece of music demands to have maximum impact. A wrong mixing decision in a certain context can be the best decision. Something can even sound bad or wrong if it trigger goosebumps, it should be chosen over anything else. When you get to a place were the impact is so strong you get actual goosebumps its probably right to stop right there cause it rarely gets better. Mix with goosebumps even more than with your ears.

Too much time spent between the mix and composition can fuck with unity of the vibe. Some distance can be good, too much distance will give a feeling of two different mindset competing in one track and gives a feeling of lack of unity.

Too much EQ can fuck with the analogue tone and lushness of hardware. It can be quite delicate to preserve the special vibe analogue has and EQ it.

Eq and mix things like they are jigsaw puzzles, cut on channel 1 were it breaths on channel 2, and vice versa.

 

Edited by thefxbip
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dont be afraid to cut the bass of anything not bassy. Helps a lot for a cleaner mix.

But if you cut too much tho, it will sound more and more unnatural and you may lose the roundness of the sound. If that happens, you can try cutting less bass or use a less radical shelve instead of a high pass.

Edited by thefxbip
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing i sometime neglect and i shouldnt is inventive panning and full control of the stereofield.

It can really help to spread things more from each others so the stereo can breath properly and still be rich with information.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, thefxbip said:

Dont be afraid to cut the bass of anything not bassy. Helps a lot for a cleaner mix.

But if you cut too much tho, it will sound more and more unnatural and you may lose the roundness of the sound. If that happens, you can try cutting less bass or use a less radical shelve instead of a high pass.

I almost entirely agree.*

*The only exception I can think of is the sound of certain older hardware samplers, where the whole character of the sampler comes from the homogenous boominess, from how the drum break is a single sample that gets eq'd as a whole, so you sometimes get snares and hats with lots of low-end, and if you try to scoop out like 200-300hz the whole vibe disappears.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, LimpyLoo said:

I almost entirely agree.*

*The only exception I can think of is the sound of certain older hardware samplers, where the whole character of the sampler comes from the homogenous boominess, from how the drum break is a single sample that gets eq'd as a whole, so you sometimes get snares and hats with lots of low-end, and if you try to scoop out like 200-300hz the whole vibe disappears.

Yeah. I found the same is true for the VERY VERY good analogue synths. I sometimes barely touch the recording, especially bass or mid synth patches but even for pads sometimes, (like a fat moog type, square bass is often better pure out of the box then over EQed imho) because it fucks with the pure lushness that comes out of the box.

Very good or idiosyncratic equipment in certain context, just need to be left untouched to shine the best. 

It's something you have to experience first hand to understand. Sometimes a sound is just good as it is.

Edited by thefxbip
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, thefxbip said:

Yeah. I found the same is true for the VERY VERY good analogue synths. I sometimes barely touch the recording, especially bass or mid synth patches but even for pads sometimes, (like a fat moog type, square bass is often better pure out of the box then over EQed imho) because it fucks with the pure lushness that comes out of the box.

Sometime very good or idiosyncratic equipment just need to be left untouched to shine the best. 

It's something you have to experience first hand to understand. Sometimes a sound is just good as it is.

Yeah i've heard from alot of analog synth addicts (mostly on yt) that some of the classic synth (prophets, jupes, moogs, etc) are impossible to fit in a mix because they take up so much space, and so they end up sounding tiny after getting hi-passed or like you gotta use ducking (e.g. with the kick/snare) or hella automation to make them sound as huge as they do on their own. .

Edited by LimpyLoo
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, LimpyLoo said:

Yeah i've heard alot of analog synth addicts (mostly on yt) that some of the classic synth (prophets, jupes, moogs, etc) are impossible to fit in a mix because they take up so much space, and so they end up sounding tiny after getting hi-passed or like you gotta use ducking (e.g. with the kick/snare) or hella automation to make them sound as huge as they do on their own. .

Yeah. Ive played with Prophet 5 and a Moog and i have a few quite fat analogues and one thing you learn using those is that you have to EQ or process them differently in regards to the importance of each channel in the mix or the track. High passing/over eq them basically ruin lots of the special flavour sound those have. It ends up just sounding like a VA or any other synth. You lose the vibe and flavour with too much EQ. With important synths lines i try to keep things conservative and minimal if i can if i record with analogue synths.

The main idea in the foreground, i will often leave less processed and have a pure fat sound, especially bass patches and on the other hand i will process the shit out of background synth, and remove all the bass and shelve them, eq them.

Edited by thefxbip
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course there is an element of fetishism in this tho hahaha

Ive probably made a few mixes sound less good in terms of clarity just to keep a synth special tone.

Edited by thefxbip
Link to comment
Share on other sites

im saying this as a dumb idiot who doesnt do music stuff cuz im lazy but id suggest you listen to the final result in a variety of scenarios including good speakers, car speakers, crappy headphones in noisy environments like by a busy road, etc. because this is an issue i personally face sometimes with audio listening

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, thefxbip said:

Of course there is an element of fetishism in this tho hahaha

Ive probably made a few mixes sound less good in terms of clarity just to keep a synth special tone.

Fetishism oh god that reminds me of the last time I did adderol where i was was trying to eq some hi-hats for a tune and finally looked at the clock and realized i'd been doing it for 5 hours straight lol

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, thefxbip said:

A wrong mixing decision in a certain context can be the best decision. Something can even sound bad or wrong if it trigger goosebumps, it should be chosen over anything else. When you get to a place were the impact is so strong you get actual goosebumps its probably right to stop right there cause it rarely gets better. Mix with goosebumps even more than with your ears.

This is so good. Sometimes wrong is so, so right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, sweepstakes said:

This is so good. Sometimes wrong is so, so right.

Yeah totally. This post made me think of how many of my favorite songs have bold/bizzare mixing decisions, where the vocals are way louder than usual, or like 70's/80's Bowie tunes where the snare is twice as loud as everything else, or like (trying to think off the cuff) Daft Punk's "Digital Love" or stuff that's kinda surprising when you hear it via headphones.

Or "When Doves Cry" which originally had synth bass but Prince liked it better without so he muted it during mixdown.

Edited by LimpyLoo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, d-a-m-o said:

Any tips on high pass filter ? Do you systematically put a high pass on every track under a certain frequency ?

I’ve replaced most HPFs by low-shelves. It puts low freqs in the back of the scene rather than suppressing them, it sounds better to my ears most of times.

Also :

  • 3 or 4 bands is often all you need.
  • think all the filters of your EQ as a whole
  • M/S EQing is super fun and sonically impactful

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you solo a track and cut off the low end, you might think, "yeah, that's it. That's enough. Not gonna cut off any more low end off of that. No, sir.". Whereas if you listen to it in context and start cutting off the low end you'll notice that you can cut off way more than you'd think.

Also, while we're on the topic of low end... saturate it. Again, if you solo it you might think "oh no, it sounds way too distorted", but if you listen to it in context it won't sound distorted at all. Crazy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Similar Content

    • By BoomTssPhace
      I've known about this video for years and it's kinda crazy how many views it has gotten over time
       

       
      Regardless of opinion about this band or song, you can't argue that feeling of   when he pitches and equalizes a sample just so and it suddenly becomes a sound you are familiar with
       
      Anyone have any other videos like this? I.e. "remaking" an artists song, sample treating, how to create a widely-recognizable sound, etc. I find them both enriching and vastly entertaining
    • By Ragnar
      https://soundcloud.com/supergrandmatales324/stromboli dry
       
      https://soundcloud.com/supergrandmatales324/stromboli-another-dynamic-eq-test wet
       
      a little muffled but hopefully it sounds dense and sits in the mix well? it's my own custom eq/mod but I'm still figuring out how it works ironically. Like the mix percent can go to any amount you want like 10000% or something, I do that with a very low ratio/very soft knee and the mix sort of exaggerates the dip in gain? I'm also actually slightly *downsampling* the compression (between every 1 and 2 samples, like every 1.6 samples) because I think it feels warmer/less harsh that way?
       
      I dunno this has been my project for a while. It's supposed to sound sort of hazy/muddy maybe but with the benefit of sounding denser I'm hoping. I don't have super audiophile monitors or anything, if someone with such could give their opinion
       
      also if you have a subwoofer please comment on how it sounds on them
       
      edit: enabled download
×
×
  • Create New...