The #1 Myth About EQ
As someone who has been studying EQ for over 15 years now, let me bust one of the most annoying myths in music production:
“Cutting is Better than Boosting and Boosting a Lot is Bad”
This is what I think about this advice:
Sure, subtractive EQ is a great method for getting rid of annoying frequencies you don’t want, but it’s just one method of EQ’ing.
I’ve probably said something similar in the past, but we all live and learn and I’ve learned that there’s no reason to fear the boost knob.
Subtractive EQ helps you take all the crap you don’t want so that you can add as much candy as you’d like!
And that brings me to the second part of the myth, that boosting a lot is bad. This is nonsense. You can boost as much as you’d like if it helps your instrument cut through the mix. Sometimes boosting a specific frequency a lot, like 1 kHz in electric guitars for instance, can create a frequency pocket for those tracks to cut through.
Think of it as a game of Risk. The electric guitars have now conquered Europe, and the lead guitar is obviously stationed in Iceland, whereas the drums and bass are occupying South America and Africa, and the lead vocals are dominating over in Asia.
The US, well…they’re not doing so well so they just get the shaker and the triangle. Maybe the occasional pad.
The thing to be conscious of when you’re boosting a bunch is that you’re adding a LOT of gain to a very specific frequency area and that in turn will increase the overall volume of the track.
That’s when proper gain-staging through your plug-ins can come in handy because you can always simply turn down the output to compensate for the added gain. That way you don’t have to rebalance your faders after you’ve got a good static mix with only levels and panning.
EQ is simply a tone-shaping tool to help you achieve whatever results you’re hearing in your head. There’s no need to follow arbitrary advice on how much is too much and which knobs on your EQ are somehow better than others. It’s all just a part of your toolkit. Use it however you see fit.
Watch my video for more thoughts on the subject:
Remember to check your email tomorrow because my very popular EQ Strategies – Your Ultimate Guide to EQ is going on sale to celebrate Icelandic Independence Day.
We’ll have a BIG discount for you and you won’t want to miss it because EQ Strategies rarely goes on sale. Thousands of students have taken the course already to improve their EQ’ing skills in order to get better mixes, and if you’ve ever struggled with figuring out the frequency spectrum, you’ll get all your questions answered tomorrow.