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How to Use EQ in Mastering, Even if You Never Master Your Own Songs

EQ, whether it’s during recording, mixing or mastering is all about balance.

Balance between the lows, mids and highs.

You don’t want a boomy acoustic guitar sound. But you don’t want a shrill and trebly sound either.

You want some of the boom, and some of the shrill.

You want that balance between the frequencies that creates a realistic and pleasant-sounding instrument. That’s what you try to do when you’re moving the mic around before recording.

And it’s the same things you’re trying to do when you’re mixing any instrument.

But something happens when you start thinking of EQ in mastering. You get scared. Even though you’ve used EQ in every other aspect of the production process.

Granted, EQ’ing while you’re mixing is more drastic. There are bigger cuts, brooder boosts and narrower Q settings. That’s just how you approach EQ during mixing. With more surgical precision.

Mastering is a little more subtle than that. In mixing the balance comes from cutting out frequencies on one instrument to make room for another.

The way to look at EQ in mastering is that you balance the song by moving the frequencies around. It’s more about the balance of the frequency spectrum than for any single instrument. It’s about making the frequencies sit better, getting the low-end to sit right and adding sheen to the high-end.

All while making sure you keep the balance of the song.

It’s a different way of looking at EQ, but it’s nothing you can’t do yourself.

If you want to discover how EQ in mastering can actually help your mixes sound better, Ian Shepherd has come out with a series of 5 videos all about EQ.

  • Introductory video about the most important parts of EQ in mastering
  • And in-depth guide to getting that low-end right.
  • An overview of the all important mid-range where muddiness and boxiness often clutter up your mixes.
  • A journey through the high-end, teaching you how to add high frequencies to a song without just piling on the treble.
  • Finally, he sums it all up with a series of techniques like mid-side EQ, frequency sculpting and other ear training guaranteed to make your EQ decisions better.

Go grab your copies right here:


Even if you don’t master that much, these videos will help you with any type of EQ decisions you have to make in your mixes. Think about it, whenever you’re EQ’ing a drum bus or a chorus of backing vocals you’re using EQ techniques that are closer to mastering than mixing. And every time you slap on a master bus EQ you’re essentially mastering your song while you’re mixing.

And if you don’ like ’em, you can alway take ’em back for a full refund.

Check them out here:

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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