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Are You Making This Mistake When Trying to Fix Your Muddy Mixes?

Michael is an EQ Strategies student and he shared a common story I’ve heard from other students as well:

“Muddiness has always been my most difficult problem. I didn’t realize that it’s OK to cut out so much of an instrument (especially below 100Hz or even below 300Hz) — the main goal is to make space for the instruments together (I would often fix things one track at a time and lose sight of the big picture). I was always afraid to cut too much. My mixes already sound cleaner.”

Muddiness is a huge problem because it’s the #1 indicator of an amateur mix.

However, you can also overdo it but cutting too much, making your mix too thin.

That’s a common problem as well.

You can literally have an accidental gap in your low-mids because you’re so afraid of muddy mixes. You overcompensate too far in the other direction and you make your mixes fragile and wimpy.

EQ’ing is about balance, and balance requires a certain level of low-mids to feel thick and powerful. Otherwise, your mix will sound frail and weak, like it has a debilitating bone disease like that Mr. Glass character in M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable.

Fortunately, you have a superpower to tell you whether your mix is balanced or not.

A frequency analyzer like Voxengo SPAN will easily show you if there’s too much low-mid buildup OR low-mid thinness.

And if you’re still unsure about how much is enough, you can compare your mix’s frequency range with a commercial reference track to see how the two mixes differ.

I don’t recommend mixing with your eyes only, but frequency analyzers are incredibly useful for this sort of thing.

So whether you’re dealing with muddy OR thin mixes, the tool to fix your problem is the same: EQ.

However, your approach will be exactly the opposite:

  • If your mix is muddy, cut more low-mids.
  • If your mix is thin, add more low-mids.

And if you’re looking for the right low-mids frequencies to create a balanced and full mix, EQ Strategies – Your Ultimate Guide to EQ has an extensive overview of the frequency spectrum and will show you exactly what frequencies to target to fix your low-mid problems.

Michael told me after taking the course that EQ Strategies was:

“a great blend of big picture EQ strategies and practical, nuanced, step-by-step tricks to cleaning up your mix.”

When I asked him what EQ Strategies had helped him achieve, he told me,

“I feel more confident, overall. I appreciate how you broke down the steps, such as how to employ compression and EQ and the decision-making process to figure out what order those two operations should happen in.”

Remember that EQ and compression go hand in hand, which is why EQ Strategies has the free Compression Masterclass bonuses included for every new student.

If you’re ready to take your EQ and compression skills to the next level, here’s where you go next:

Subscribe to Get Better Mixes in Less Time With Your Free Mix Finisher Cheatsheet. Download Now

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About me

About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

At Audio Issues you’ll learn simple and practical audio production tips you can use right away to improve your music from your home recording studio.  Björgvin is the best-selling author of Step By Step Mixing and the founder of Audio Issues. He helps musicians and producers turn amateur demos into professionally produced records they can be proud to release.

We help home studio musicians and project studio producers make a greater musical impact in their lives by teaching them the skills needed to grow their hobbies and careers. We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use right away to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

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