10 Shortcuts to Greater EQ'ing – The One Minute EQ Trick Series
In the following article you’ll find ten EQ tricks you can use in your next productions. If you like any of them please consider signing up to the Audio Issues newsletter for more in-depth EQ tricks to help you create separation in your mixes.
1. Low-Pass Filter for Cleaner Rock Guitars
A good trick for electric guitars is to use a low-pass filter to take all the unnecessary high-end out while using the end of the curve to boost the high-mids to get them to stick out in the mix.
Try that with hissy rock guitars to clean them up while making them cut through at the same time.
One Minute EQ Trick – Low-Pass Filter for Cleaner Rock GuitarsA good trick for electric guitars is to use a low-pass filter to take all the unnecessary high-end out while using the end of the curve to boost the high-mids to get them to stick out in the mix.Try that with hissy rock guitars to clean them up while making them cut through at the same time.For more in-depth EQ tricks subscribe at www.audio-issues.com
Posted by Audio Issues on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
2. Filtering Out Low-End on Drum Reverbs
Heavy reverb in the low-end is sure to clutter up your mix and make it muddy and boomy.
When you’re using drum reverbs make sure you’re filtering out the lows on the reverb to make your overall drum space cleaner.
In this week’s One Minute EQ Trick you’ll hear how you’ll still get space while getting rid of unnecessary muddiness.
Cleaning Up Drum Reverbs With Filtered Low-End (One Minute EQ …Heavy reverb in the low-end is sure to clutter up your mix and make it muddy and boomy.When you’re using drum reverbs make sure you’re filtering out the lows on the reverb to make your overall drum space cleaner.Check out the video to hear how you’ll still get space while getting rid of unnecessary muddiness.
Posted by Audio Issues on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
One of the MOST important things when you are adding reverb and effects to your mix is to use EQ to shape your effect. Simply using your filters can easily clean up your low-end or tighten up the highs when you’re mixing.
So next time when you’re dealing with unnecessary muddiness or a really bright vocal reverb that’s “hissing up” your high-end then make sure you tackle that stuff with EQ.
There is a reason I created EQ Strategies – The Ultimate Guide to EQ. EQ is so important to your overall mix that I put all my best tips and tricks on it in one eBook and video bundle.
Check it out here:
3. Boosting the Lows Without Causing Muddiness
In this One Minute EQ Trick I’m showing you a trick I learned from Ian Shepherd when he was teaching me a thing or two about Mastering EQ.
It’s a great way to add some weight to your song without adding too much to the low-mids.
You simply find a place in the lows to boost with a bell curve that just stops short of the “boomy/muddy” area in the low-mids.
That’ll add thickness and power to the low-end that you really feel rather than hear (especially on large speaker systems) and as long as you don’t have weird resonances or too much bass response in your bass instruments this trick will give you some nice punch in the lows.
Here’s the video example:
Using Very Low Boosts to Cause Thickness in Your EQ Without Ca…If you need more weight in the lows but are struggling with making the mix too muddy try boosting really low to make the end of the curve boost the lows you need without affecting the lower-mids.As long as that boost doesn’t add heavy lows to your mix you’ll get that extra weight and low-end feel without clouding up your mix.
Posted by Audio Issues on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
4. Cutting Boxiness From Kick Drums
Boxiness is a notorious kick drum problem. It’s usually resolved by cutting the middle frequencies around 300 Hz but if that doesn’t work try looking in the 400 and up to 600 Hz area.
Multiple cuts work differently than one large one so be sure to experiment to find the right sound for your song.
In the video below you can hear how the kick tightens up when I cut the mids out. It becomes more defined since we’re accenting the lows of the drum as well as the hit of the beater while taking out all the garbage in between.
You’ll cut more or less of the boxy mids depending on the style and genre of the song. For The Long Wait that has a more natural sounding “folk-rock” sound I wouldn’t drastically scoop the mids, while the “alternative-metal” band I’m about to mix today will probably get a more heavy-handed treatment.
How to Cut Boxiness From Kick DrumsDealing with boxy kick drums? Boxiness is a notorious kick drum problem. It’s usually resolved by cutting the middle frequencies around 300 Hz but if that doesn’t work try looking in the 400 and up to 600 Hz area.Multiple cuts work differently than one large one so be sure to experiment to find the right sound for your song. Check out the video for the audio examples and sign up to www.audio-issues.com for more in-depth EQ tricks.
Posted by Audio Issues on Tuesday, February 16, 2016
EQ is such an incredibly important factor for shaping your mix. I tend to instinctively hear what frequencies need to be cut or boosted when I’m mixing. It comes from experience of doing a lot of different mixes with limited gear, especially when I’m doing live or broadcast sound.
Being able to know where the frequencies lie in the EQ spectrum is kind of a superpower. A super-hearing if you will. I want you to have the same power but I don’t want you to have to spend the time to get there.
That’s why I created all the shortcuts for you inside EQ Strategies – The Ultimate Guide to EQ.
Here’s what Bob Holada had to say about it recently:
The eBook component is great for referencing while you’re mixing if you need a refresher of where the muddiness, boominess, harshness or boxiness lies. The video components give you an overview over the frequency spectrum and you’ll learn to EQ effectively in my hour-long mixing session where I use just EQ to make a mix sound cleaner and more professional immediately.
5. How to Add Low-Mid Power to Your Snare Drum Track
I like meaty snare drums so I tend to go hunting down in the low-mids for some extra power.
I like using the Waves V-EQ for this purpose but in the video below I show you using the simple Logic Channel EQ.
So if you’re looking for some extra power in your snare drum track, this is the trick for you!
The example frequency in the video is also just that, an example. Every snare drum is different so make sure you do a little scouting around in the low-mids to find the right power frequency for your particular snare drum.
snare, which is great if you want some extra oomph in your snare drum tracks.
Posted by Audio Issues on Tuesday, February 23, 2016
6. How to Reduce the Sizzle in Your Snare
There’s something in the snare I tend to deal with often.
Too much sizzle on the snare.
I’m not a big fan of the snares being too dominant in a snare sound so sometimes I feel the need to reduce them.
If you have a top and a bottom snare mic this is often just a case of lowering the bottom snare mic until the top snare mic becomes the dominant snare sound.
But sometimes you have snares that just sound too snare-y (is that a term…?)
I also tend to record a lot of live drums and the hi-hat bleed into the snare track is often a problem.
So in the video below I show you a solution to both of those problems, in under a minute!
How to Reduce the Sizzle in Your Snare Sometimes there’s just too much “snare” sound in your snare drum. Try reducing the high-mids to get rid of that sizzle if you need a tamer snare.It also works for taming hi-hat bleed if you can pinpoint the hi-hat frequency without affecting the snare sound too much.As usual, it depends on what type of sound you’re aiming to get out of your mix but if the snares are ringing just a little too loud then hunting around in this frequency range will help.
Posted by Audio Issues on Wednesday, March 2, 2016
7. Cutting the Cheapo Sound From Your Acoustic Guitar
One way to get your DI sounding a bit warmer is to cut it in the 800 Hz(ish) area.
It’s a poor substitute for a decently recorded acoustic guitar but if it’s all you got then this trick might work for you to make the DI’d sound a little warmer and rounder.
Creating a Warmer DI’d Acoustic Guitar SoundHow do you cut that “cheapo sound” from your DI’d acoustic guitar? One way to get your DI sounding a bit warmer is to cut it in the 800 Hz(ish) area. It’s a poor substitute for a decently recorded acoustic guitar but if it’s all you got then this trick might work for you to make the DI’d sound a little warmer and rounder.
Posted by Audio Issues on Thursday, March 10, 2016
8. Using the Mids to Get Keys to Cut Through the Mix
I think keyboards get neglected in the mids. The 500 – 1 Khz area is outside of my comfort zone in a way but for keyboards I can’t get enough of adding a little boosts here and there to make them cut through.
Usually those boosts aren’t masking other instruments because they are being accented in other frequency ranges so you’re free to add some there to make the keys cut through.
How Keys Can Punch Through Your Mix in the MidsI think keyboards get neglected in the mids. The 500 – 1 Khz area is outside of my comfort zone in a way but for keyboards I can’t get enough of adding a little boosts here and there to make them cut through.Usually those boosts aren’t masking other instruments because they are being accented in other frequency ranges so you’re free to add some there to make the keys cut through.
Posted by Audio Issues on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
9. Boosting the Harmonics of the Bass to Make It Cut Through
If you’re struggling to make your bass cut through, don’t just add more lows and low-mids. That’ll add to the muddiness. Try adding boosts to the mids at around 6-800 Hz to get the attack of the bass to cut through.
Hear the difference between a boost in the 200 area where you might just add to the muddiness. Then hear some extra clarity in the bass in the 700 area.
Boost the harmonics of the bass, not the lows to make it cut t…If you’re struggling to make your bass cut through, don’t just add more lows and low-mids. That’ll add to the muddiness. Try adding boosts to the mids at around 6-800 Hz to get the attack of the bass to cut through.Hear the difference between a boost in the 200 area where you might just add to the muddiness. Then hear some extra clarity in the bass in the 700 area.
Posted by Audio Issues on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
10. Adding Air to Cymbals
To get your drums to shine a bit more, add some air to the cymbals. Simply take the overheads and boost from 10 kHz or so. Sometimes a slight shelving at 10 kHz does the trick, sometimes you have to go higher.Experiment with the frequency and the amount of boost to get your desired result.
Adding air to cymbalsTo get your drums to shine a bit more, add some air to the cymbals. Simply take the overheads and boost from 10 kHz or so. Sometimes a slight shelving at 10 kHz does the trick, sometimes you have to go higher.Experiment with the frequency and the amount of boost to get your desired result.
Posted by Audio Issues on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
In EQ Strategies – The Ultimate Guide to EQ I share a few more of my go-to snare drum frequencies for whenever I need to add some body, clarity or punch to the snare.
Here’s what a recent reader, Neale, had to say about the guide:
“I’m really enjoying the book and videos…I’ve sorted my low end mud beautifully, mixes are sounding really nice now, I’d got a decent basic understanding of frequency and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some monsters in the field of mixing and gleaned what I could from them but these tips have done more for me,thank you.”
If you’re ready to get similar results, check out the guide here:
Last year I did a few One Minute EQ Tricks as well so I’ve included them here as a bonus for you to enjoy!
In the first one the actual trick is making sure you don’t go overboard with your EQ’ing.
Don’t just EQ because you think you should be EQ’ing.
Have a reason for it.
If the track was recorded really well sometimes all you need is some filtering and resonance cuts. And sometimes almost nothing at all.
And of course, EQ’ing isn’t always the answer. Saturation, compression and other effects can often be a more stylish mixing solution, but I’ll leave that for another day 🙂
Creating Separation Between Guitars Using EQ
This is this week’s final One Minute EQ Trick video, this time a little trick about giving your guitars separation in the mix.
If you have a dense guitar mix where you have multiple tracks of electric guitars, acoustic guitars and lead work you might be having a hard time getting them all to sit together.
Some guitars might be masking others and you can’t get the separation you want where you can really pinpoint what each guitar is doing. It can end up sounding like a very dense, but undefined guitar mix.
A good trick then is to find a separate flattering frequency in the high mids for each guitar. Then you cut that frequency in the other tracks so that each guitar gets to “dominate” one part of the upper middle frequencies.
What you should end up with is a guitar mix that has better separation between guitars because every guitar has a specific spot they occupy mostly to themselves.
Check out the EQ trick in the video and let me know what you think.
Using a High-Pass Filter to Clean Up Your Low-End
In this One Minute EQ Trick video I show you one of the most basic, but also most important, EQ techniques available to you.
This is important for making the bass have its own space in a mix if you have a busy arrangement full of guitars and keyboards (and who knows what else…).
A general rule is to high-pass your instruments around 100 Hz. Obviously you can go higher if you so desire, especially if you have guitar parts that you don’t want any low-mids in and only want them to cut through the mids and highs.
How high you filter is a taste and a mixing decision. But a good rule of thumb is to filter up all the way until you hear the instrument getting weaker and thinner and then backing off.
Doing this with the full mix going at the same time is more reliable as you’ll be able to gauge how thick you need the instrument in the context of the mix, not just in solo.
The Simple Way to Get Rid Of Offending Frequencies
Whether it’s weird resonances from a snare, a nasal sound from a vocal or a boomy tone from a bass this technique is the only one you need to make your EQ’ing faster and easier.
It’s a simple 3-step process:
- Create a boost with a narrow Q
- Sweep around the frequency spectrum until the annoying frequency pops out.
- Cut it and move on with your mixing.
Simple and easy!
Check out the video below for a quick and dirty demonstration.
Using Mid/Side EQ to Make Lead Vocals Cut Through a Dense Vocal Mix
This is one of the tricks I show you inside the EQ Strategies One Hour Mix Walkthrough, but I thought I’d condense it down and give you the cliff notes.
Instead of just using a normal stereo EQ cut in the high-mids on the backing vocals in order to give the lead vocal some room you can actually use mid/side EQ to do the same.
Now you’re not only giving the lead vocal its space in the frequency spectrum but also in the stereo spectrum.
Here’s the video.
Might be a bit hard to hear without the context of the mix but pushing the backing vocals to the sides of the mix really opens up the space for the lead vocal to cut through, especially when you have a lot of other instruments going on as well.
It’s very fun to experiment with and it gives you new and fun possibilities with EQ.
In the video I’m using the Fabfilter Pro-Q 2 but any EQ with mid/side capabilities will work the same way.
As I’ve said before, if you like these sorts of tips you’ll love EQ Strategies – The Ultimate Guide to EQ. It’s my tutorial package that’s full of all my best EQ tips. If you’ve devoured all the tips above but feel like you need some more guidance, don’t hesitate to grab the tutorial and figure out EQ once and for all.
I’m so sure you’ll love it it comes with a 100% Money-Back Guarantee so if you don’t think it helped you in any way I’ll give you your money back, no questions asked.
Equalization, Music Mixing