10 EQ Mistakes That Everybody Made!
In music production, EQing is such an important process of any mix that the largest mistake is forgetting about EQ in the first place. The second greatest mistake is utilizing it too much.
EQ appears so easy once you first start using it. A bit boost right here, a bit cut there – and you’ve got a better-sounding mix!
However, that by no means appeared to occur when we first began utilizing it. In reality, we made every kind of error – things that we assumed had been unique to us. Seems we were not alone.
Verify if you’re not making any of those frequent errors that producers, new and skilled alike, make when EQing their tracks.
Below we are going to list all of the 10 EQ mistakes we prepared for you. They won’t be in any explicit order and each one of them is vital, so pay attention equally to all of them!
1. Do not Let the EQ Fool You!
Every mixing choice causes your ears to become extra accustomed to the brand-new frequencies and tones. The mix sounds a lot better than before, so the temptation is to add a little bit more EQ, and a little bit more…
If you end up doing this, cease, bypass the plugins, hear closely to the tracks and the entire mix and be sure that your choices have really made a positive distinction. You need to all the time be EQing to repair a problem, and if there’s no clear objective, you in all probability don’t have to EQ in any respect.
2. Isolating an EQ Band
One approach is to arrange an EQ plugin in your mix bus and use a low pass filter to deal with just the low-end frequencies.
Create one other track that has your reference track on it, stage matches it to your mix, and duplicate the identical EQ plugin with a low pass filter onto this track.
Solo between the 2 and examine the reference low end to your low end. ADAPTR Metric AB has this function built-in or there’s a free plugin known as ISOL8 that does the same process.
3. Learn to Recognize Frequencies by Ear
For a very long time, we assumed that we had never been ready to pick problem frequencies simply by listening to the sound. It appeared like the sort of thing you’re simply born with, so we didn’t even have trouble trying to train the ears.
However, with time and work, we noticed it wasn’t as hard as we thought it’d be.
Figuring out frequencies will be tremendously useful. You may pick problem frequencies simply by listening and going right for them instead of all time-sweeping and guessing.
For instance, this kick drum sounds a bit like there is a hit on a cardboard box. Due to ear training, we do know that we can repair that by cutting between 300 and 500 Hz.
4. Focus on the Mid Frequencies
As mixers, we like to check out the extremities of the frequency spectrum. We obsess over reaching deep, floor-shaking bass and crystal-clear highs.
However, we frequently neglect the frequencies in between. The midrange is where the core of most instruments lies. And the irony?
What we neglect is what matters most. The midrange is the place the core of most instruments lies. It’s additionally the place our ears are most delicate. And eventually, it’s the part of the frequency spectrum that’s most constant throughout different speakers.
5. Too much High End? Not good!
The opposite aspect of the coin is the high end. Bumping up frequencies within the higher midrange (presence) area (~ 4–8 kHz) and higher treble (~ 8–12 kHz) will add clarity and crispness to the general sound of the mix, and, in busier mixes, assist the details of the varied tracks to come through.
However this element and clarity are seductive, it’s simple to overdo it, leading to an excessively vibrant, forward, presumably sibilant mix that may tend to induce listener fatigue. And the more you intensify the higher end, the thinner the mix will begin to sound.
You don’t need to sacrifice warmth and fullness for presence and detail. These should be in good balance for the mix to sound its finest.
6. EQing in Solo? – Work in Context!
That is most likely the biggest mistake we might point out right here. Others might point out it too, heck, you are good; you’ve got probably come across related articles and seen this talked about; possibly you are even anticipating us to go into it, and are wondering why it’s appeared three hundred words in.
Certainly, the problems of EQ’ing in a solo have long been storied: You begin by correcting a track with no reference of the way it fits into the larger image, certainly incurring pointless issues down the road.
Very often you over-process the track or overextend certain frequencies, and when the soloed materials are placed back in context, the resulting track fights the vocal, the snare, or another vital aspect.
Now, right here’s the question: If everyone knows that that is bad practice, why do we fall into this rabbit hole? Why does each article and tutorial surrounding EQ errors inevitably talk about it? Probably cause it’s the worst practice of all!
7. Fix the EQ in the Elements, Not on the Mix Bus!
Don’t pull out extreme EQ on the Mix/Master bus. Find the source and deal with it out there. Mastering engineers typically only work with a stereo mix, so they’re slicing and boosting frequencies with that restricted amount of tracks.
As mixers, now we have so many more choices out there for us! If there’s a build of ‘mud’ within the mix, discover its source, it’s usually the low mid-space from 250-450hz, that build-up could be very typical in drums.
If the mix is extremely bright discover the causes, usually an excessive level of 3-5k on instruments and vocals, and bring this area down.
Best Free Equalizer Plugins: Top 21 Free EQ VSTs! (2023)
API Select SV14 Review: Great New 500 Series EQ from API! (2023)
Heritage Audio MotorCity EQualizer Review: Amazing 7-band Mono Passive EQ! (2023)
Best Mastering Equalizers: Shape Your Final Frequencies! (2023)
8. Treat your Room and Calibrate your Monitors!
Sure, we’ve mentioned it before, however, we’ll say it once more: Making an attempt to mix (or master, for that matter) while listening via an inaccurate audio system in a room that’s not acoustically treated is like making an attempt to paint an image while wearing dark sunglasses covered with grime and smudges.
A muddy mix is usually a result of compensating because of monitoring over small audio systems which is bass light, whereas a mix that’s notably skinny and missing in punch is an effective indication that your listening space has distinguished room “nodes” (resonant low-end frequencies that always happen in untreated rooms).
The answer? At all times put money into the most sonically impartial speakers you possibly can afford and make sure to set up at least some primary acoustic treatments (akin to bass traps, diffusers, etc.) in your room.
9. Use both Subtractive and Additive EQing!
It is a mistake we made for fairly some time. After reading an article that mentioned it was one of the best ways to mix, we began trying to complete each mix by solely utilizing EQ to show frequencies down, never turning them up.
If that is the way you mix and it really works for you, that’s nice! However, we’ve discovered we get a lot better outcomes when utilizing subtractive and additive EQ.
If we need to make a sound brighter, you can’t do this with subtractive EQ alone. You must seize a high shelf and switch up these higher frequencies where the brightness lives.
Additive EQ can also be actually useful when pocket EQing. Pocket EQing is whenever you make small boosts and cuts in instruments that sit in the same frequency range to assist them to match better.
10. You EQ Just Because!
EQing seems difficult, however, it’s truly easy. The complete process could be broken down into 4 steps:
- You hear an issue.
- You brainstorm methods to repair that problem.
- You attempt to fix the issue.
- You determine whether or not or not you fixed the issue.
While you’re mixing, there ought to always be step 1. You must at all times be attempting to resolve an issue. The hazard comes whenever you attempt to skip steps. While you attempt to clear up issues that don’t exist.
While you begin doing things for no cause. Before reaching for an EQ, ask yourself—what downside am I attempting to resolve? For those who don’t have a solution, ditch the plugin.
All of those issues are generally encountered when anyone first begins out mixing. We do know our earliest mixes have been guilty of most of them! However, the more mixing you do, the more your ears’ internal (subconscious) reference begins to retain a way of what’s the best EQ and what’s not, and what’s and isn’t too much.
In the meantime, just a little additional consideration paid to the potential pitfalls of EQ may also help guarantee the perfect mixes possible. It is a needed part of any mix and delicate artwork. Find out in case you’re overdoing it or making one of all these simple errors in your EQing process: keep away from a ‘muddy,’ ‘boxy’ or harsh mix, and optimize your EQ workflow with these errors we mentioned.
Visit our store and check out our Mixing eBooks and Galeries!
Best Mastering Equalizers: Shape Your Final Frequencies!
Best 500 Series Equalizers: Top 10 Models To Shape Your Frequencies!
Bettermaker Stereo Passive Equalizer Review: New Pultec-Style Equalizer!
Heritage Audio Motorcity EQualizer Review: Amazing 7-band Mono Passive EQ!
API Select SV14 Review: Great New 500 Series EQ from API! (2023)