How To Avoid Muddy Mixes With One Simple EQ Trick
Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson, GWAR), said in a recent Facebook post that low-end in reverb reduces power and impact in your mixes.
And he’s 100% correct. The more low-end you have in your reverbs, the more clutter you’re introducing into your mix.
Not EQ’ing your reverbs can make the difference between a clean and clear mix and a muddy mess.
It’s one of the biggest mistakes I see my students make.
Just yesterday I gave mix feedback to a bunch of my students’ mixes (something I do regularly for my Insider members), and EQ’ing effects is a common suggestion that I advise over and over again.
All those heavy low-end frequencies just get in the way and muddy up everything. You can honestly forget about a tight low-end if you forget to EQ your reverbs.
The same goes for your high-end.
If you neglect to EQ the high-end, you’ll add a glassy sheen that sounds unnatural as it bounces off the artificial walls of your mix.
My mix template has a lot of different effects returns of various shapes and sizes: reverbs, delays, stereo widening, etc. And all of them have EQ filters set up beforehand so that there’s no unnecessary mud from the lows or artificial flutter-echo from the highs.
Reverbs should enhance the tracks, not get in the way of the music. A good way to know if your reverbs are at just the right level is if you don’t notice them until you abruptly stop the mix and all the reverbs and delays come swooshing forward. If they’re not getting in the way of the music, but they’re noticeably there when you pause the track, you know you’re in the ballpark.
So if you do anything to improve your mixes today, make sure you always EQ your reverbs and effects so that they sit in the mix better.
And if you’re looking to master using effects in your mixes, there’s a whole chapter on reverb and delay inside Step By Step Mixing that you should check out.
Here’s what you’ll find inside:
- Exactly what all the crazy settings on your reverbs do and how you can use them to add space and depth to your tracks (page 67)
- How to know which room mode to use, and how they affect the feel of your mix (page 68)
- The easy way to add an all-around reverb to instantly create space in your mix (page 77)
- 7 ways to find the right reverb for your mix, whatever genre you’re working in (page 72)
- How to use short and weird reverb settings to make bigger snares (page 78)
- How to use sends to place your instruments in the mix according to how much impact you want them to have
- When to use delays instead of reverbs when you want to add depth without adding too much space
- The incredibly important aspect of how and why to EQ your reverbs for a cleaner mix (page 80)
- How to blend separate reverbs together in a mix
- How to use the 3-Verb technique to make it easy to add space to your tracks (page 82)
Click the link below to get started:
Ian Plested asked, “I use Ableton Live Lite. Will the basic plugins be sufficient when using your book? Or do you recommend buying more advanced plugins (which I can’t afford)”
I get similar questions like this all the time, about plug-ins and DAWS, and the answer is always the same: I teach the method and the process, not the software.
That’s why Step By Step Mixing is so popular. It’s helped over 11,000 engineers, producers, and engineers make great mixes in any genre because I teach you how to get results using EQ, compression, reverb, delay, and saturation – no matter which plug-in, no matter what DAW.