8 Frequency Viruses You Need To EQ From Your Mix’s Immune System
Being sick for a week gave me a different perspective on mixing music.
Specifically when it comes to EQ.
Isn’t EQ’ing a mix kind of like healing something that’s sick?
You can look at it like surgery. Your mix is brought in with a case of boxy drums or nasally vocals and you take out your frequency scalpels and get to work.
And here below you can find eight of the most common symptoms of a sick mix, and how to fix them with your surgical EQ skills.
This frequency can cause an overload of boominess in your mixes. I often find that I need to cut the bass guitar here to make it less muddy while still keeping it thick and juicy.
If you’re having trouble with additional muddiness, cutting around 200 Hz in your bassier-sounding instruments might clear up your mix’s lower end. A good technique is to solo just the low and full-frequency instruments one by one. As they build upon each other you can usually spot the instrument that has an overload of muddiness.
This is the frequency to cut in your kick drum for a juicy rock sound.
A nice cut in this frequency can often add more weight to your other drums. There’s something about 400 Hz that’s simply not flattering in your drum sound.
If you’re having problems with a jangly and cheap-sounding acoustic guitar, some cuts around this frequency can make it sound more smooth.
Usually, if the vocal has a very nasally sound to it, a cut here can clear it up. However, I’ve found that it sometimes makes it worse. By boosting slightly above the nasal-sounding frequency you can’t often mask the nasally sound by hiding it behind your frequency boosts.
A heavily distorted and raunchy rock guitar also brings a lot of annoying hiss to your mix. Reducing 4 kHz in your rock guitars can often cut the hiss and noise without compromising the edginess of the sound.
Sssssssss. That’s one of the most annoying sounds of a great vocal performance. Sibilance can make even the most soulful of performances sound lispy. Pointing a De-esser at the areas around 6-7 kHz can save your vocal sound.
EQ Fixes for a Healthier Mix
You may face other problems in your mixes when it comes to EQ. These 8 frequency areas above are just the most common ones I keep hearing about.
I wrote my best EQ tips down in the Ultimate EQ Guide. For a long time it was only available to those who bought my Recording and Mixing Strategies Plus bundle, but I’ve repackaged it into a stand-alone eBook for the engineer that needs more EQ tips but is still on a budget.
The Ultimate Guide to EQ
For an in-depth guide into the EQ spectrum, check out The Ultimate Guide to EQ – Your Blueprint to the Frequency Spectrum
- 11 concrete chapters on solving your EQ problems
- A rundown of the complete frequency spectrum, showing you the characteristics of each frequency range
- Dedicated guides to drums, bass, guitar and vocals
- EQ insights from Grammy award-winning engineers
- When to use EQ and when to use compression
It may not be the ultimate guide to EQ, but I did create a free EQ course that covers over 70 hacks to improve your mixes. You can get access to that free course by signing up here.
Image by: Sanofi Pasteur