Try the Double Whammy Trick of EQ’ing and Compressing
It’s endlessly debated which processor you should insert first. Do you tweak your signal with EQ before you add some compression to it, or do you get it nice and punchy before you enhance it with EQ?
Two Simple Tips to Guide you Through
1. EQ before compression if you need to compress drastically – If you don’t need to EQ that much, but you need to compress a lot, then insert your EQ before the compressor.
2. Compression before EQ if you need to EQ heavily– This is the opposite. If you really need to EQ your instrument to make it sound better, then insert the compressor before the EQ.
If you insert the EQ before the compressor the compressor will compress your EQ fixes more than the rest of the signal.
Think about it, you’re boosting certain frequencies to make them louder, and then you go ahead and compress them down again. Seems redundant doesn’t it?
Therefore, if you want your EQs to make a bigger impact, inserting them after the compressor makes more sense. At that point you’ve already compressed the signal so the EQ isn’t affected.
Another trick you could try is to chain two EQs and two compressors together.
1. First EQ – Use the first EQ only for cuts and repairs. Use your filters to take out any unnecessary low or high-end, and cut out any annoying frequencies.
2. First Compressor – Insert this compressor after the EQ and only use it to tame the peaks. Just have it compress lightly, with only a -0.5 dB of gain reduction and a low ratio.
3. Second EQ – Think of this EQ as make-up. Whereas your first EQ was reconstructive surgery, this one really makes your signal shine. Do all of your boosts here to make your signal really stand out.
4. Second Compressor – If you need to compress heavily to bring out all the little intricacies and nuances of your signal, do it here. If you want to add punch to your drums, or need an extra in-your-face sound to your vocals, use some heavy-handed compression here.
Also, if you have CPU heavy processors you can use the native EQ and compressor for the first round. After that you can switch to better sounding plug-ins for the make-up.
How do you do it?
Everybody approaches compression differently. I’d love to hear what your technique is. Have you tried the above-mentioned technique or do you think it’s a waste of processing power? Let us know your tips in the comments.
For more mixing tips like these, as well as an in-depth guide on planning the perfect mix, check out Mixing Strategies right here.
Image by: HSmade