I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

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ChrisMack99
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I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by ChrisMack99 » Thu May 26, 2011 5:05 am

Here's a pretty easy way to EQ. Of course its not a perfect method as is, but I think it makes a really good starting point at least.

Group your tracks by what kind of element they are. Create your own categories, for example, make a group for percussion, pads, synth leads, basses, guitar tracks, etc. Anything that is intended to fill the same frequency area of a mix, perhaps at different points in the song or just not being played at the same time, goes in the same group.

Use EQ8 on each group. Cut out a distinct range of frequencies for each group. For example, a track I'm working on right now has drums, basses, pads, and leads as groups. For the drums I boosted ~100 (my kick), left the area around the snare alone, and cut low mids, sub-bass and highs. For my basses I cut out high mids, highs, and ~100 and boosted the low mids and sub bass. For my pads I cut everything except a range around 1K (which I boosted a bit). Same for leads but at a higher frequency.


After you carve out the appropriate EQ for each group, listen to each group on solo. Get all the individual parts sounding just as you want them...use EQs on the individual parts to shape exactly what part of the group's freq range you want each instrument sit in. Get all the sounds tones and levels to where you want them. You can't make a bunch of mediocre tracks into a good final mix, but you can turn a bunch of really good tracks into a great final mix.

Once each track has been mixed this way, convert each group to audio. At this point your whole song should be reduced to 5 or so tracks (or however many groups you made, could be as many or few as you want). Now your live set is simplified down to a few tracks that sound great individually and occupy unique freq ranges. You can start mixing the entire song now, simply by putting the levels of each track where you want them. Since you have the whole track balanced nicely, and each group already has its own range of frequencies, the mix should be fairly easy at this point. Some final EQing may be needed if you still have some clashing...at thing point, any EQing you do should be subtractive. There is no reason to boost anything...you should have already boosted the frequencies that charactize each sound. All you want to do here is cut out frequencies that are causing over lap. For example if your pad and lead are overlapping around 2k, try cutting that freq out of the pads, and then try cutting it out of the mids. Pick whichever of those sounds nicer, but don't boost 2k on either, that won't help matters at all.

I hope this helps some people. As soon as I heard this method I was like wow that was so obvious, I don't know why I never thought of it myself.
Last edited by ChrisMack99 on Thu May 26, 2011 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

perplex
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by perplex » Thu May 26, 2011 11:18 am

good stuff hombre! duly noted thanks

ChrisMack99
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by ChrisMack99 » Thu May 26, 2011 2:59 pm

This method really takes the process of mixing and EQing from a daunting process to one that is easy to wrap your head around.

"Ok, I have 5 tracks and I need to spread them across the range of frequencies so they don't overlap." Simple as that.

rcpunker
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by rcpunker » Thu May 26, 2011 3:06 pm

Hi-Q mode ?

ChrisMack99
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by ChrisMack99 » Thu May 26, 2011 3:08 pm

Sure why not?

anybody human
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by anybody human » Thu May 26, 2011 3:22 pm

Along these lines, I've heard people speculate that one reason many classic recordings sound so good is that they had to bounce tracks. They'd basically end up with a series of submixes, for each the instrument groups.

For instance, many years ago I had a digital 8 track and if I wanted to have more than 8 tracks I obviously had to bounce tracks. So, I'd bounce 3 guitar tracks to 2 and end up with my stereo guitar submix and an extra track free. This is where the classic records thing comes in; sometimes it can easier to glue or gel a mix together when you've already made the panning, eq & volume decisions for all the guitars, and all your doing is deciding how loud to have your guitars vs. the rest of the mix. Same goes for any instrument, in fact, in a way, a drum kit is always grouped and submixed. Food for thought.

It's good to not rely exclusively on solo'ing tracks to eq them, you want to hear how the relate to the other elements in the mix. But what's important about the technique your talking about is that it forces you to think about each main element as having it's own frequency area that it dominates. It's own space in the mix.

ChrisMack99
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by ChrisMack99 » Thu May 26, 2011 3:26 pm

anybody human wrote:Along these lines, I've heard people speculate that one reason many classic recordings sound so good is that they had to bounce tracks. They'd basically end up with a series of submixes, for each the instrument groups.

For instance, many years ago I had a digital 8 track and if I wanted to have more than 8 tracks I obviously had to bounce tracks. So, I'd bounce 3 guitar tracks to 2 and end up with my stereo guitar submix and an extra track free. This is where the classic records thing comes in; sometimes it can easier to glue or gel a mix together when you've already made the panning, eq & volume decisions for all the guitars, and all your doing is deciding how loud to have your guitars vs. the rest of the mix. Same goes for any instrument, in fact, in a way, a drum kit is always grouped and submixed. Food for thought.

It's good to not rely exclusively on solo'ing tracks to eq them, you want to hear how the relate to the other elements in the mix. But what's important about the technique your talking about is that it forces you to think about each main element as having it's own frequency area that it dominates. It's own space in the mix.

Question about panning....does have 2 sounds at the same frequency and you pan one left and one right, does that give them enough distinction to sound clear?

anybody human
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by anybody human » Thu May 26, 2011 3:29 pm

Yeah I would say you could get away with that in most cases. Depends on the circumstances and what you're going for but sure, panning is huge.

William
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by William » Thu May 26, 2011 4:00 pm

Great post and thread!

Question: What about high hats, shakers, etc? They are part of the drums, but are very high in frequency in comparison to the kick, etc. Do you guys group them with the drums or group them separately?
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xzusa8ky
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by xzusa8ky » Thu May 26, 2011 4:21 pm

Hmm.......i put a SSL E Channel on each mix channel to mix every sound individual, its more precise i guess...... 8)
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perplex
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by perplex » Thu May 26, 2011 4:35 pm

xzusa8ky wrote:Hmm.......i put a SSL E Channel on each mix channel to mix every sound individual, its more precise i guess...... 8)
could you expand on that? i have it but i never use it

ChrisMack99
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by ChrisMack99 » Thu May 26, 2011 5:29 pm

William wrote:Great post and thread!

Question: What about high hats, shakers, etc? They are part of the drums, but are very high in frequency in comparison to the kick, etc. Do you guys group them with the drums or group them separately?

Group them with the drums and cut the highs. You'll be surprised at how nice the results sound. Even though the individual hat hits do rest at a high frequency, you don't want that high frequency interfering with the leads/instruments/pads/etc. Don't cut them too severely, just a small bump down on the drum track (with a corresponding bump up on the other tracks) will keep them away from other, more important highs without muffling the hats too much or taking away their crispness.

Of course, that is my preference, because I like my whole drum kit to gel together as 1 unified instrument.I'm certain there are myriad other ways to go about processing a drum track.

ze2be
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by ze2be » Thu May 26, 2011 5:51 pm

William wrote:Question: What about high hats, shakers, etc? They are part of the drums, but are very high in frequency in comparison to the kick, etc. Do you guys group them with the drums or group them separately?
Well, I kind of do a mixture. I group things that have similar envelopes. However, I use a lot of abstract sounds, in frequency complex compositions. So I can not create groups purely based on frequency range. Instead I try to write balanced compositions. Theres a lot to learn about classical composers such as Mozart, etc. When the old masters wrote a piece, they had to imagine where to place each sound source in the stereo field on the stage. They were also very much aware of the frequency range of each instrument, and what instruments fit well together, and so on. Its like cooking: you don't want to put all your spices into the same dish! You want an exiting, pleasing balance which communicates certain emotions you'd like to express.

H20nly
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by H20nly » Thu May 26, 2011 9:43 pm

*bookmark*

this looks worth a proper read.
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anybody human
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Re: I got some really good EQing and mixing advice today

Post by anybody human » Fri May 27, 2011 4:34 am

When compressing a drum group, I'll often use a compressor with a side chain filter, so that the compressor isn't responding to the really low frequencies, just the more audible lows. Some compressors have both a low & high side chain filter, or a band pass filter. This can work well to let the high end pass through and make the cymbals breath & stand out w/o having to boost highs as much. It's compression but it kind of works like an eq trick.

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