How to EQ for Fullness Without Adding Mud?
A reader writes in with a question on EQ:
“…around 200 Hz is mud, but how can I get an electric guitar to sound strong and not so distant, without adding in the mud?”
There’s often a misconception that there are good frequencies and bad frequencies. As if you always should do a specific EQ move in every mix to make it “pro.”
Although I know you would love to get those types of tips, it’s unfortunately impossible because it always depends on the input source. Your EQ’ing approach depends on what the instrument is telling you it needs.
Muddiness isn’t the only thing that’s living around 200 Hz. It’s where you add fullness as well if you think the track needs to sound fuller.
If an instrument, a guitar, in this case, sounds weak and thin, then it’s obviously not muddy or full.
Like I write in EQ Strategies – Your Ultimate Guide to EQ when talking about the lower-mids:
“I like calling [200 Hz] the muddiness frequency because I always used to cut it so much when I was doing live sound…However, if you need to boost, it will add fullness to vocals and snare as well as give your guitars a thicker sound. If you’re still struggling with muddiness, subtle cuts in the master EQ can help reduce unwanted thickness…when you feel like your mix has a blanket over it and everything sounds cloudy and unclear. 250 Hz is generally regarded as a good frequency area to boost if your guitars need more thickness or “weight.” Too much can result in decreased clarity of the sound of the rock guitar. Add for additional weight in guitars, piano, and even vocals, but back off if things start sounding a bit too muffled.”
So keep that in mind the next time you’re EQ’ing your mix. Just because I told you that a specific frequency can have a negative effect on your mix, it doesn’t mean that it can’t have a positive effect if the instrument requires more of it!
EQ’ing is about balance, and if your instruments lack balance in a certain frequency range, maybe boosting is the way to go.
And if you don’t really know where to start with EQ, don’t know when it is appropriate to EQ or want to know if everything really does need to be EQ’d, then EQ Strategies – Your Ultimate Guide to EQ is where you go to get answers to those questions.
If you’ve been trying to find the time to brush up on your EQ skills, there’s never been a better time to master a new skill than with all the quarantining and social distancing we’re doing these days.
Hit the link below to get started mastering the most important mixing skill you can learn: