10 tips for better EQ

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#1.: CUTS AND BOOSTS:

Avoid exaggerated cuts and boosts unless they’re absolutely necessary. Doing this can cause you headache and damage your overall mix. Most of the time an adjustement of just a few dB (1dB or 2dB) is enough. When cutting try with a narrow Q and when boosting a wider Q.

#2.: CLEAN BOTTOM END

When EQuing the bottom end don’t forget that we look for clarity rather than woofing and rumbling sound. Thus, apply a highpass filter to instrument that have no real low-end content. For example, below 50Hz, guitars will just add cabinet rumble. Below 80Hz, vocal will add rumble from the mic stand.

#3.: REVERB RUMBLE:

Sometimes some type of effect, like reverb, add a lot of rumble in your mix. When using auxiliary [Send/Return] channel with reverb, you should apply a highpass filter on the reverb too, even if you’ve cut the low-end from the tracks feeding to them.

#4.: SOLO:

When EQuing to sit a track in a full mix just don’t go solo, it will not help at all.

#5.: SUBTRACTION METHOD:

Sometimes peoples tend to boost frequencies they want to hear, but avoid to do this. Boosting good frequencies is like raising the volume. The way your brain works make it difficult to distinguish if the result is better or just louder. To make it short, less is more, cut the unwanted frequencies rather than boosting good ones. If you stick to this with a bit of practice you should see the quality of your mix raise.

#6.: SWEEP’SPOT:

How to find that bad frequency? Just set your EQ to a narrow Q parameter, boost the gain by +5db to +12dB and sweep the frequency knob through the frequency range until the unwanted frequency jumps out in your ears. When you have find that frequency, then change your boost by a cut [cuts amount is relative to your taste and your mix].

#7.: A-B ROLL:

There is plenty of EQ type with different characters. When trying different EQs or just EQuing hit the bypass switch as often as possible to hear if your adjustements are making a positive change to the sound.

#8.: OVERALL MIX:

Don’t forget that a subtle change in your EQs setting can affect on how a track sits in the mix. So, be gentle when doing this.

#9.: SPEAKERS:

Try to listen your mix to different sets of speakers to be sure that your mix don’t just sounds good on your studio monitors.

#10.: SIBILANCE AND TOP END:

When adjusting the higher frequencies, pay a particular attention to sibilance (unwanted “s” sounds) and noise. Those sounds can be increased at an unwanted level if you boost and compress the higher frequencies.

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